Popular Pokemon from early sets are among the most valuable Pokemon cards, but even recently released cards can fetch high prices. It’s all about supply and demand… strong demand, plus limited supply, equals high value. Other factors such as the physical condition, whether it’s graded/authenticated, and the general market conditions will impact the card’s value.
How to Look Up Pokemon Card Values
You can use Mavin.io to see recently sold comparables and estimate the value of your Pokemon cards. Remember, the value of something is what it actually sold for… not what somebody is asking!
1Enter the Card Name and Number
Start your search by entering a few basic details.
- Enter the Card Name printed at the top of the card.
Example: Charizard VMAX
- Enter the Card Number printed at the bottom of the card.
2Narrow it Down
If you see multiple versions of your card in the search results, you’ll need to add some additional details to narrow it down and give you a more accurate value estimate.
- Enter details like holo or reverse holo if there are multiple holographic versions of your card.
- Enter details like the set name to get even more accurate search results. You can look up the set name using the copyright date and set symbol printed on the card.
- You can filter out cards NOT like yours by adding negative keywords. For example, adding -PSA will remove PSA graded cards from the price estimate.
You can manually choose comparable Pokemon cards to estimate value. Use the checkboxes to pick cards that are exactly like yours.
Value of Your Entire Collection
If you want to find the value of your entire Pokemon card collection, you’ll need to separate the valuable cards from the junk. Then, add up all the valuable cards to get a collection total. Here’s how you do this:
- Sort your Pokemon cards by their set symbol. Every card contains a small symbol to identify the expansion set it belongs to. Use this handy list of all set symbols to identify the set names and symbols. Grouping your Pokemon cards by set is the best way to organize your collection.
- From each set, look for the cards that are holographic, or have a star rarity symbol. These tend to be worth more than common or uncommon rarity cards. Read this “Rarity Symbols and Holo Cards” article for more info on what those are.
- From each set, look for cards that have numbers greater than the number of cards in the set. For example, 112/111 is card number 112 out of 111. These are Secret Rare cards and could be valuable.
- Look up the valuable cards using Mavin. Refine your search by adding or removing details, or use the checkboxes, to get an accurate value estimate. Click the “Save” button to save the Pokemon card and add it’s value to your collection’s total. Look up and save all your valuable Pokemon cards to your collection. Mavin will track your collection’s value over time, giving you the latest market value of your Pokemon card collection.
Most Valuable Pokemon Cards
Besides the crazy rare “one of a kind” Trophy cards, obscure sweepstakes cards, early magazine or promotional cards… there are Pokemon cards that were mass produced, sitting in ordinary people’s collections, that are extremely valuable. If you’re interested in these less common, one-of-a-kind cards, check out this list of the Most Valuable Pokemon cards. Below are a list of the most valuable Pokemon cards commonly found in people’s collections:
- Base Set: The original Pokemon TCG Base Set, released in 1999, holds historical significance and includes iconic cards like Charizard, Blastoise, and Venusaur. First Edition and Shadowless printings from this set are particularly sought after. The Shadowless variant of the Base Set is missing the shadow beneath the Pokemon illustration, and their scarcity increases their desirability among collectors.
- Jungle Set: Released in the same year as the Base Set, the Jungle expansion set introduced a new wave of Pokemon cards. It includes popular cards such as Scyther, Jolteon, and Wigglytuff.
- Fossil Set: Another set from the early years of the Pokemon TCG, the Fossil expansion featured Pokemon from the prehistoric-themed Fossil region. Notable cards include Aerodactyl, Lapras, and Articuno.
- Team Rocket Set: The Team Rocket expansion set, released in 2000, brought a darker tone to the Pokemon TCG with its focus on villainous Team Rocket characters. Rare cards from this set, like Dark Charizard and Dark Raichu, are highly valued by collectors.
- Neo Genesis Set: Part of the second generation of Pokemon TCG sets, Neo Genesis introduced Pokemon from the Johto region. Cards like Lugia, Typhlosion, and Ampharos from this set have significant value.
- Neo Destiny Set: This set was printed in low numbers and contains many high value cards.
- e-Card Series: This series contains three expansion sets, all of which contain valuable cards.
- Shining Cards: These cards have the word “Shining” in front of their name. For example, Shining Charizard, Shining Gyarados, etc. The Shining Pokemon cards from the Neo Revelation set and Neo Destiny set set were printed in low numbers and tend to be the most valuable.
- Full Art Cards: These cards feature vibrant and detailed artwork that extends to the card’s borders. They often depict Pokemon in dynamic poses and showcase captivating illustrations.
- Secret Rare Cards: These have a card number that is higher than the number of cards in the set: 112/111 or 241/198 are examples. Secret Rare cards can include rare Pokemon, Trainer cards, or special versions of regular cards with alternate artwork.
- Rainbow Rare Cards: These cards have a distinct rainbow-colored foil pattern that covers the Pokemon’s artwork and extends to the card’s borders. Rainbow Rare cards are visually striking and highly coveted by collectors.
- Gold Secret Rare Cards: These cards feature a gold foil treatment, giving them a luxurious appearance. They are typically limited to specific sets or special releases and are highly sought after by collectors.
- Pokemon VMAX Cards: Introduced in recent Pokemon TCG sets, VMAX cards represent evolved forms of Pokemon V cards and feature powerful Pokemon in their enhanced Gigantamax or Dynamax forms. They often have unique artwork and higher attack values.
Factors That Impact a Pokemon’s Card Value
- Rarity: The most valuable Pokemon cards are the ones where very few were printed. Prize and trophy cards are the rarest of the rare because the quantity is so limited. For example, the Pokemon cards given to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of the World Pokemon Championships are truly one of a kind.
- Edition: The first edition of a card is typically worth more than later editions. They’re typically printed in smaller quantities, and if they’re a popular character, tend to be valuable.
- Set: Some Pokemon card sets are worth more than others… and not just the early Pokemon card sets like Base Set. Sets from almost every expansion contain at least a few cards that are rare and valuable… but some sets, especially the early Pokemon sets, contain cards that are more valuable than others.
- Condition: The condition of the card will affect its value. Pokemon cards that are in pristine condition with no damage or signs of wear and tear are worth more than cards that have been heavily played and are damaged.
- Popularity: The popularity of a Pokemon character can also affect the value. Popular Pokemon like Pikachu and Mewtwo have more fans, increasing demand and their value.
- Graded / Authenticated: Pokemon cards that are authenticated and graded, by a widely recognized professional grading company, will receive higher prices than ungraded cards in similar condition. The higher the grade, the higher the price.
- Demand: Like any collectible item, the value of Pokemon cards is ultimately determined by market demand. If a particular card becomes popular or highly sought after, its value will increase. Even if your Pokemon card is old, rare, and in great condition, it comes down to how much demand there is in the marketplace.
What to do Next
Once you’ve searched through your cards and found the valuable ones, you have several options:
If your Pokemon cards are valuable:
- You could hold onto the cards and “collect” them, as most collectors do, and hope they appreciate in value over time. Using the “Save” button to add your card collection to Mavin and track it’s value over time is a wise decision. Pokemon card values fluctuate over time and are subject to market demand and other factors. Mavin will keep your collection values up-to-date with the latest market data. It is important to note that Pokemon card values can fluctuate over time and are subject to market demand and other factors. If the cards are valuable, it may be wise to have your collection documented for insurance purposes, or when selling or trading Pokemon cards.
- It may be a good investment to get them professionally graded. This will dramatically increase their value. See Grading Section for information about why you might want to get your Pokemon cards graded, and how to do it.
- You could sell your Pokemon cards to a local card shop, knowing full well what they’re worth (because you searched for them on Mavin, right?). Keep in mind dealers will buy them from you at wholesale prices… they have to make a profit after all, and selling a large collection takes a considerable amount of time and resources… so don’t expect (or demand) to get 100% of what you’d get online.
- Selling your Pokemon cards online will yield the highest prices. But it can be time consuming: taking pictures, writing descriptions, responding to customers, packing, shipping, returns… it can be a lot of work. If you have the time and patience, selling them online is a great way to make money.
If your Pokemon cards are worthless:
Your cards don’t have to be valuable to still be enjoyed. There’s probably a friend, a kid you know, or even a stranger who would love to have them. Give them away to someone who will enjoy them! Or sell them for a fraction of what you originally paid for them by dumping them on Craigslist.
Getting Pokemon Cards Graded
Graded Pokemon cards are authenticated, given a numeric grade to indicate their condition, and encapsulated in a “tamper proof” plastic case. The higher the cards grade, the higher it’s value. The grade of the card is based on factors such as centering, corners, edges, and surface quality. Getting your Pokemon cards graded by an industry recognized and respected grading company can dramatically enhance the card’s value and makes it much easier to sell. Graded cards are appealing to collectors because it assures their condition and authenticity; there are no surprises if the card is bought online, sight unseen. Counterfeit cards do exist in the market, especially at the high end of the market. Authenticated Pokemon cards provides collectors with confidence in the legitimacy of the card and increases its value.
There are two main grading companies when it comes to Pokemon cards: PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) and Beckett Grading Services (BGS). Both companies charge significant fees for authenticating and grading your Pokemon cards. This investment only makes sense when the value added by having it graded, exceeds the cost to get it graded. Therefor, only get your high value cards graded; cards in great condition that you think will get a high enough grade to justify the cost of getting it graded. If the cards come back with a lower than expected grade, you don’t want to lose money by having the card be worth less than the what you spent getting it graded.
To get your Pokemon cards graded, follow a few steps. First, carefully review their guidelines and submission processes, including any fees or documentation requirements. Next, securely package and ship the Pokemon cards to the authentication service. Make sure to purchase shipping insurance if the cards are valuable. Finally, wait weeks or even months to get the graded cards back, it can take a long time!
- CardMavin: This website is a great resource for Pokemon card collectors. It contains a visual list of cards in every Pokemon set, and useful tools like the Pokemon card set symbols table.
- TCGPlayer: TCGPlayer is a dedicated marketplace for trading card games, including Pokemon cards. It provides a platform specifically tailored for selling and buying collectible cards, with features like price suggestions, market insights, and seller tools.
- eBay: eBay is a popular online marketplace where Pokemon cards are widely bought and sold. It offers a large user base, a wide range of listing options, and a robust system for buyer-seller interactions.
- Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA): PSA is widely recognized as a leading grading and authentication service for trading cards, including Pokemon cards. Their website provides comprehensive information about their grading process, services offered, and submission guidelines.
- Beckett Grading Services (BGS): Beckett is another well-established grading service for Pokemon cards and various collectibles. Their website offers detailed information on their grading standards, turnaround times, and submission instructions.
- Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) Official Website: The official Pokemon TCG website provides information and resources for collectors.
- Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace is a popular platform for selling items locally. You can create listings for your Pokemon cards and reach potential buyers in your area. Filter by location to connect with interested buyers nearby.
- Craigslist: Craigslist is a classified advertisements website where you can post listings for Pokemon cards and other items. Select your city or region to target local buyers who are actively searching for collectibles in your area.