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The Beginner’s Guide to Checking the Value of Pokémon Cards

Since its release in 1996, Pokémon has evolved from video game titles to a massive media franchise, including various spin-offs, a long-running anime series, and animated and live-action films. However, one part of the franchise that's often overlooked is the Pokémon trading card game (TCG), which was released alongside the games until it was released worldwide in 1999.

The Pokémon TCG is notable for being one of the most successful trading card games of all time, with an estimated 20 billion cards sold worldwide since its debut. Over the years, the game has grown from its humble beginnings as a basic card game about collecting and trading rare cards for a hit show and has evolved into its own competitive strategy experience. Because of this, Pokémon TCG enthusiasts always want to know how much their cards are worth, especially if they've owned them for a long time. For this reason, we'll discuss the details in this article.

Determining Pokémon Card Rarity

The only way to determine a card's rarity is by looking for a symbol at the bottom right corner. These symbols are circle for common cards, diamond for uncommon cards, and star for rare cards. The star symbol is usually black, but if it's in a different colour, such as white or gold, it means it's ultra-rare.

There's also the matter of holographic cards, which are rarer than any other card in the game. These cards are identifiable because they have a shiny holographic finish different from regular cards. These cards are most commonly found in theme decks and other starter decks but also in booster packs.

Beyond that, some first edition cards bear a distinguishable mark than today. If a card is from the first edition of the TCG, this makes it even more valuable.

Famous Pokémon Cards

Aside from the cards' condition, some cards bearing popular Pokémon are sought after by many enthusiasts. Some of them include:

  • Pikachu
  • Charizard
  • Blastoise
  • Umbreon
  • Rayquaza
  • Lugia
  • Mewtwo

Some cards are also limited edition and can only be obtained during special events. A perfect example would be the recent 25th anniversary commemorating the TCG, which had approximately 50 ultra-rare cards. These include Palkia, Dialga, Groudon, and various Pikachu variants.

On a related note, cards with printing errors are also popular. They might look hard to the eyes, but they fetch a good price because of their rarity. Examples would be the Charizard with a pink background in the Base Set or the Blastoise in the Jungle expansion that's missing its rear legs.

Getting a Pokémon Card Appraised

Grading cards is an essential factor when it comes to determining prices. A card must be in mint condition and original packaging to be graded. When cards are graded, they will be evaluated based on the following factors:

  • The front and back
  • The edges
  • The corners
  • The centring

The highest grade cards can get a 10, and the lowest is a 1. The exact values of graded cards can be found in the guidebooks and price guides published by companies such as Beckett and The Official Pokémon Website.

Speaking of price guides, these are a great way to get a general idea of how much a card is worth, as they're taken from actual sales on the resale market. There are many, but one of the most prominent is the Official Pokémon TCG Price Guide by Beckett Media.

Preserving Pokémon Card Condition

The best way to preserve your cards' condition is by using a protector sleeve that fits them. This will prevent them from getting worn out and shuffled around in a deck box. After you put the cards in their sleeves, store them in a plastic card box, so they don't get bent or dented.

You don't have to worry about imperfections such as scratches or water damage that are visible on the faces of cards, as your sleeves cover them. The only concern you should have is keeping the cards flat when storing them and avoiding bending or folding them out of shape.

It's also possible that these imperfections can lessen the value of your cards, but minor scratches or bends shouldn't significantly impact their value. You should also ensure that your cards are stored at a specific temperature and humidity because extreme temperature changes can damage them.


Selling Pokémon cards is a great way to earn some extra cash, but the prestige of owning a rare card counts. As always, remember to check the condition of your cards before selling them and take a picture of them if you think they could be worth a lot. Just remember that a deal can always be good or bad, so you could lose a lot of money if you make a terrible decision.

If you’re looking for Pokémon cards in Australia, Gamers Combined has what you need! We offer a wide range of selections such as booster packs and complete decks to make you stronger, all for affordable prices. Simply go to our website and take your pick!