How much are Pokemon cards worth?
The answer depends on the specific card’s or set’s rarity, condition, demand, and any unique stories behind each one. It can be as low as a few cents or as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You’ve come to the right place to know the factors affecting a card’s worth and how to determine its value.
I wrote this guide to discuss the specifics of a Pokemon card’s value, grading it, and selling your collection.
How Much Are Pokemon Cards Worth?
The value of Pokémon cards varies widely based on factors such as rarity, condition, and demand.
Here’s the average Pokemon card price according to rarity:
Common Cards – These are usually worth less than $1 each.
Uncommon Cards – These can range from $1 to $20.
Rare Cards – Depending on rarity, they can be worth anywhere from $20 to over $1,000.
A First Edition Charizard card in mint condition previously sold for over $200,000, while a common Pikachu card may only fetch $0.10.
Moreover, the Pokemon card industry is susceptible to changing trends. Prices are likely to fluctuate due to collector trends and market dynamics.
What Makes Pokemon Cards Valuable?
How expensive are Pokemon cards?
It depends on several factors influence the overall, including:
The featured Pokémon’s popularity and iconic status within the franchise can significantly impact card value. Cards featuring popular Pokemon usually have higher demand.
Card categories include common, uncommon, rare, and ultra-rare, with rarer classifications generally more valuable.
Special classifications like First Edition and Shadowless contribute to a card’s value.
The scarcity of a particular card within a set and as a whole directly affects its value. Cards with lower print runs or unique variations are often more valuable.
Mint-condition cards, with no visible wear, creases, or damage, fetch a premium price compared to heavily played or damaged cards.
Set and expansion
Cards from certain sets or expansions can become more valuable over time, driven by collector interest or tournament play.
For example, the value of old Pokemon cards from the first print run is pretty high.
Cards only available through special promotions, events, or tournaments carry higher values due to limited availability.
Most cards associated with significant moments in Pokémon’s history, such as the first-generation base set, are highly sought after by collectors.
Some cards featuring signatures from the illustrator or artist are rare, having more value to collectors.
Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Ever Sold
Due to the factors I discussed above, the value potential of a Pokemon card is limitless.
Here are examples of the most expensive Pokemon cards to show how high a single card can sell.
1- Population 1 PSA 10 Illustrator Pikachu
Sold for: $5.275 million (Most Expensive Pokemon Card Ever Sold in the Whole World)
This card is incredibly rare and valuable because it’s a PSA 10-graded version of the Illustrator Pikachu card.
It’s called Population 1 because there’s only one known PSA 10 grade of this card, making it highly rare and desirable among collectors.
Logan Paul purchased this specific card for $4 million plus a PSA 9 Illustrator Pikachu, bringing the total to $5.275 million. He is a known collector, bringing a $1 million First Edition Charizard – BGS 10 to a fight with Floyd Mayweather.
2- Topsun Charizard
Sold for: $493,230
This card isn’t part of the official TCG lineup. Topsun created it as an early prototype, thus having limited availability.
Unlike the usual cards, this one has a blue back and unnumbered prints. These factors, including the card’s unique historical significance and rarity, contribute to its high value.
3- First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard #4 (1999)
Sold for: $420,000
This card is from the first edition base set of Pokémon cards and features Charizard, one of the most iconic Pokémon. The Shadowless variant lacks the shadow border found in later editions, adding to its appeal.
4- Commissioned Presentation Blastoise Galaxy Star Holo (1998)
Source: Heritage Auctions
Sold for: $360,000
The Blastoise Galaxy Star Holo is valued for its rarity and holographic design.
It’s not a card available through standard booster packs.
Rather, it’s a presentation piece for persuading executives to approve the English-language release of the TCG. Ken Sugimori, the primary artist for the Pokemon franchise, also designed this card.
5- Trophy Pikachu No. 3 Trainer Bronze (1997)
Sold for: $300,000
This card was a prize to the third-place finishers in the first ever Japanese Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament in Japan in 1997. Its value comes from its limited availability and historical significance as a trophy card.
How To Check Pokemon Card Value: Step-by-Step
Follow these steps if you’re curious about how much you can sell your cards.
Identify your card.
Assess the Pokemon card’s condition.
Figure out the card’s rarity.
Check for other determining factors.
Get a professional opinion (optional).
Check the prices online.
Doing these things can help you estimate how much you can get by selling a specific card.
How much is a Pokemon card? Let’s find out.
1. Identify Your Card.
Here’s how to identify your Pokémon card:
Check the Card Name.
The card’s name is usually at the top.
It should feature the Pokemon’s name and potentially an additional description.
Examples: Pikachu or Erika’s Invitation.
Find Out the Year of Distribution.
Search for the print year at the bottom of the card. This indicates the exact print run the card belongs to.
For example, the UK 4th Print Base Set has the copyright date 1999-2000, different from the rest of the four Base Set print runs.
Determine the Set Number.
Each Pokémon card belongs to a specific set, which you can find by a set symbol on the card. You can find it on the card’s bottom right or bottom left.
You’ll usually see two numbers. The first one is specific to the card, while the second card number refers to the total number of cards within the same set.
In general, old cards have higher values.
Look Out for These Valuable Pokémon Sets.
When identifying cards, look out for those coming from highly-sought-after sets, such as:
First Edition Base Set (1999) – the original Pokémon Base Set, including iconic cards like First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard
Jungle Set (1999) – features cards like First Edition Holographic Pikachu, which are also valuable due to their early release
Fossil Set (1999) – the third expansion set. It can be valuable, especially First Edition holographics.
Team Rocket Set (2000) – introduced Dark Pokémon and holds collector interest for its unique theme. It’s also the first expansion set with Charizard.
Legendary Collection (2002) – known for its reverse holographic cards and unique designs
EX Series (2003 to 2007) – may contain valuable cards like EX Holo Phantoms Charizard
Hidden Fates (2019) – also known for its Shiny Vault subset and contains highly sought-after Shiny Pokémon cards
Remember: The cards’ conditions and rarities within these sets also significantly impact the Pokemon card market value.
2. Assess the Pokémon Card’s Condition.
The card’s condition is the biggest factor determining the Pokémon card’s worth. Collectors often pay a premium for cards in pristine, unplayed condition.
Even rare cards can only fetch a few hundred or thousand dollars when in poor condition. In contrast, the same card in mint condition can cost over $100,000.
To accurately assess the card’s condition, follow these tips:
Look for Signs of Wear.
Carefully inspect the card for any signs of wear, such as creases, bends, or scratches. Even minor imperfections can affect the card’s value.
Check the Corners and Edges.
Examine the corners and edges of the card. Cards with sharp corners and clean edges are preferable.
Examine the Surface.
Inspect the card’s surface for print defects, stains, or ink smudges. Cards in mint condition should have a flawless appearance.
However, this doesn’t include misprints. I’ll discuss this in more detail later.
Review the Holographic Foil.
For holo cards, check the foil pattern. Scratches or clouding on the holographic foil can significantly reduce the value of Pokemon trading cards.
Analyze the Card’s Centering.
Assess whether the image’s positioning within the borders is perfectly in the center. Well-centered cards are more valuable.
Standard Grading Terminology
After analyzing the card’s condition, it will fall into one of the following standard categories:
|Damaged (D)||These cards typically have little to no value. They exhibit severe wear and tear, major damage, and heavy creases.|
|Heavy Play (HP)||These cards have considerable damage, including major staining, tearing, and creasing.|
These cards are usually unplayable in tournaments.
|Moderate Play (MP)||Cards in this condition show moderate wear, potential creases, and noticeable defects but are still relatively intact.|
These cards may also have some tearing and staining but are still playable in tournaments.
|Light Play (LP)||These cards have minimal wear, small flaws, and a relatively crisp appearance. The owner or collector has likely played with this card but with great care.|
|Near Mint to Mint (NM)||Cards in near mint to mint condition are almost perfect, with only minor imperfections that are hardly noticeable.|
You’ll be using these terms when selling, so it’s important to be accurate.
3. Determine the Card’s Rarity.
When I say rarity, I’m referring to its classification instead of monetary value rarity.
Classification rarity refers to the Pokémon cards’ availability within a set. The card should have a symbol at the bottom indicating its rarity.
Here are the common classifications.
Common: – These cards have a circle symbol.
Uncommon – These cards have a diamond symbol.
Rare – These cards have a star symbol.
The set number is another factor affecting the card’s classification rarity. If the printed number is higher than the amount of cards in a set, it’s rarer.
Example: Erika’s Invitation – 203/165 from the SV: Scarlet and Violet 151 expansion, which you can see from the photo below.
In general, the rarer a card is, the higher its value.
However, remember, it’s only one factor determining the end value.
What Is Monetary Value Rarity?
Monetary value rarity goes beyond the classification and considers the card’s desirability among collectors and players. Some factors that may affect this include:
The Pokemon’s popularity
I’ll discuss this in more detail next.
4. Check Other Determining Factors.
Several additional factors can influence the Pokemon card’s value. Here’s what to look for:
Shadow (or the lack of it)
Inspect the card closely for any shadow variations. Certain cards, like the first edition Charizard, have shadowless versions that lack the shadow border.
Shadowless cards are often more valuable. Sometimes, they’re even rarer than the First Edition sets.
Look for any printing errors or misprints on the card.
Misprints can include wrong colors, missing elements, blurry text, and so on, making them unique and potentially valuable to collectors.
In the above example, the card misspelled Drowzee’s name.
However, other collectors may treat it as a defect instead.
If you’re unsure if something is an error, search for the card on Google, and you’ll see if something is different on your card.
You can also research deeper to discover if it’s a common error that sometimes happens to certain cards.
Check if your card has the First Edition stamp at the bottom left corner of the illustration art box.
These stamps only belong to the cards from booster packs. After the first run, the subsequent prints are no longer First Edition but unlimited.
Collectors consider these cards as original print copies, thus fetching higher prices.
How much are original Pokemon cards worth?
A particularly in-demand card can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially in good condition.
For example, the First Edition Holo Charizard I mentioned earlier sold for over $400,000. Although not all copies will sell this high, you can still expect thousands of dollars.
Base Set Unlimited
The mass-produced Base Set boxes in 1999 still have a high market demand. For reference, a Gem Mint Charizard in this set can sell for over $8,000.
Holographic cards, or holos, are usually more valuable due to their eye-catching foil effects and rarity.
5. Get a Professional Opinion (Optional).
If you’re uncertain about your card’s condition and value, consider getting a professional grading service, such as:
Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)
Beckett Grading System (BGS)
Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) Cards
Professional grading objectively assesses your card’s condition, ensuring an accurate valuation. They also authenticate your card, then seal it in a tamper-proof case.
Getting a professional opinion costs extra, but I still recommend doing it. It can increase your card’s value often.
It’s best to reserve this service for cards with a high potential to be valuable, which you can determine by the other factors in this guide.
Out of the three, PSA is the most popular
For your reference, here’s a summary of PSA’s grading scale.
|PSA 10||Gem Mint|
|PSA 8||Near Mint to Mint|
|PSA 7||Near Mint|
|PSA 6||Excellent to Mint|
|PSA 4||Very Good to Excellent|
|PSA 3||Very Good|
|PSA 0 or Auth||Authentic Only|
6. Check the Pokemon Trading Cards’ Worth Online.
How much can Pokemon cards sell for?
To gauge the current market value of your cards, explore online marketplaces and price-checking websites.
Reminder: Before you start looking, remember that the prices you find online are not set in stone and may change frequently.
They only serve as a reference point to estimate the current Pokemon collector cards value of your Pokémon cards.
here are some places you can check out.
Look for cards similar to yours in popular online marketplaces like:
Type your Pokemon card’s name, set number, condition, and grading (if applicable) on the search bar to find similar listings.
If applicable, you can filter your search to Sold Items to get a clearer idea of how much people have already paid for a similar card.
You may also note the recency of the listings, as demand (thus, value) may change over time.
Tip: Ensure all the details I mentioned above, including the date, set number, misprints, condition, grading, holos, and all else are the same.
Even a single difference can determine between a card worth a few bucks and one worth thousands of dollars.
Pokemon Card Price Checker
These platforms aggregate data from various sources to provide pricing insights, including historical data.
TCGPlayer also has a Pokémon TCG price guide that lists the market price and median price (if any).
However, these prices are not definitive and may fluctuate due to market dynamics.
How To Sell Your Pokemon Cards: Step-by-Step
I’ve covered this in detail in my guide about how to sell Pokemon cards. However, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your card’s value, if you want to start selling as a side hustle or you just want to liquidate your current collection.
1. Collect Valuable Pokemon Cards.
Follow these tips if you’re just starting to collect Pokémon cards.
Learn About the Card Values.
Follow my tips above to learn how to estimate a card’s value. You might be able to score some gems on eBay, trading places, and in the wild that has the potential to sell high.
Determine the Focus of Your Collection.
Decide whether you want to buy and sell specific sets, generations, or types of Pokémon cards. Having a focus can help you establish a brand among collectors.
Join a Collecting Community.
Engage with fellow collectors through online forums, social media groups, or local trading events. These communities can provide valuable insights, trading opportunities, and potential customers.
Set a Budget.
Establish a budget to avoid overspending. Pokémon card collecting can become costly, especially if you’re not turning a profit yet.
2. Organize Your Cards.
Before selling your Pokémon cards, you may want to set up an organization system, especially if you have a large collection.
You can sort them by set, rarity, condition, or other necessary criteria. Doing this will help you easily locate and showcase your cards when ready to sell.
Additionally, it allows you to provide accurate information to potential buyers about the cards you have available.
You can use card binders, labels, and dividers to secure and categorize your cards. You may also want to separate the high-value ones, especially the ones in mint condition.
3. Put the Cards in Protective Sleeves.
To maintain the cards’ condition and value, I recommend putting them in protective sleeves or card holders.
These sleeves prevent the cards from getting scratched, creased, or damaged during storage, handling, and transit. Cards in better condition often command higher prices in the market, so taking care of their physical state is a basic step.
4. Pick a Marketplace.
Choosing the right platform to sell your Pokémon cards depends on where you can reach your potential buyers. Here are some options:
Online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy provide a broad audience for selling Pokémon cards. You can list your cards individually or in sets, set your prices, and handle the shipping process.
Trading Card Websites
Dedicated trading card websites like TCGPlayer specialize in collectible card games, including Pokémon.
These platforms attract collectors and players looking specifically for Pokémon cards, making it a targeted marketplace.
Trading Card Shop
Local trading card stores or hobby shops may buy Pokémon cards from sellers.
Visit or contact these stores to inquire about their buying policies and whether they are interested in your collection.
Attending trading card conventions or local collectibles fairs can help you directly sell Pokémon cards to enthusiasts. You can rent a booth or table to showcase your collection at such events.
You can also attend to meet other Pokemon fans and grow your network.
You can also send your cards to online or specialized auction houses. This method can potentially drive up the final sale price as buyers bid competitively for exceptionally rare cards.
Check out Goldin Auctions and Heritage Auctions, which have sold the most expensive and rarest Pokemon cards.
You can also check your local pawn shops and bring your collection. They may be willing to get them off your hands, but it’s usually for a lower price than expected.
Tip: Diversify Your Sales Channels.
Consider using multiple sales channels to increase your chances of selling your Pokémon cards quickly and at competitive prices.
For instance, you can list your cards on online marketplaces and trading card websites or attend conventions while exploring local store options.
5. Monitor the Market.
Monitor the market trends and fluctuations closely. The prices of certain cards and sets may rise or fall due to several factors, such as:
Pop culture influences
You should also keep on top of new releases. Pokémon periodically introduces new sets, each with its unique cards and themes.
By staying informed, you can make better strategic decisions about buying, selling, or holding onto cards that align with your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are Common Pokemon Cards Worth Anything?
Common Pokémon cards with a circle symbol are generally not worth much. They are primarily valuable for completing sets or aiding in deck building.
However, some cards from the original sets can still have modest to high value due to rarity and demand.
How Much Are Golden Pokemon Cards Worth?
Gold Star Pokemon are in high demand due to their rarity and beautiful artwork. Each card is worth several hundred dollars, with the Gold Umbreon Star costing over $1,000.
How Much Are Old Pokemon Cards Worth Money?
Old cards are potentially worth much money, especially if they’re 1st Edition cards. They typically have more value to collectors, although it depends on the abovementioned factors.
In general, though, new cards have lower demand.
What Is the Rarest Pokemon Card?
Some of the rarest Pokemon cards are:
1999 Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle No. 2 Trainer – 2 PSA 10’s exist and 9 PSA exist
1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer – Only eight copies in existence
1996 Pokemon Japanese Base Set No Rarity Symbol Venusaur (Autographed) – Only 5 PSA 10 copies
2000 Pokemon Topps Chrome Series 1 Tekno Charizard – Only 7 PSA 10
How Much Do Rare Pokemon Cards Sell For?
Rare cards can sell for thousands of dollars, but it still depends on factors like the condition, grading, historical significance, and any special feature.
What Pokémon Cards Cost $10,000?
Several Pokémon cards can reach or exceed $10,000 in value, depending on factors like rarity and condition. Here are some examples:
1st Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard
Trophy Pikachu No. 1 Trainer
Shiny Charizard from the Shiny Vault subset in the Hidden Fates set
How Can You Tell If Pokémon Cards Are Fake?
To spot fake Pokémon cards, keep in mind these tips:
Look for inconsistencies in fonts, logos, and holographic patterns.
Feel the card’s texture, examine the back for inaccuracies, and check for off-colors, blurry printing, or misalignment.
Verify set symbols, rarity symbols, and card numbers.
Send it to professional grading services to confirm its authenticity.
Why Are Pokémon Cards Expensive?
Pokémon cards can be expensive due to rarity, condition, demand, and collector interest. Cards featuring iconic Pokémon, unique sets, limited editions, or rare classifications can sell for higher prices. Card condition also plays a significant role, making mint cards more valuable.
However, not all cards are expensive. Common cards can fetch only a few cents in the market.
How Much Do Pokemon Cards Cost If They’re in Poor Condition?
The value of Pokémon cards in poor condition is significantly lower than their pristine counterparts. Cards with heavy wear, creases, and noticeable defects may have little to no collectible value.
How Much Do Pokemon Cards Sell in Auction Houses?
It can vary widely based on the factors I detailed above. The only benefit is that the prices can go higher than expected in intense bids.
The Bottom Line
The value of Pokemon cards varies widely, depending on factors like rarity, condition, demand, and unique characteristics.
Determining the exact price of a card can be challenging since there are too many to consider, but I hope this guide helps you better understand how the market works, whether you’re just curious or looking into selling some cards.
However, I believe it goes beyond monetary value because collecting and trading cards can be an exceptionally fun hobby.