Frequently Asked Questions
1 . When did Pokemon Cards first come out?
The Pokemon TCG first launched in Japan in 1996, and made it’s way over to North America around 1998. Many of us recall the game from our childhood starting with the Base, Jungle and Fossil sets. These went along with Pokemon Red/Blue and Yellow for the Gameboy. As of 2021, the game has sold over 34 billion cards worldwide.
2. What is the best way to get started with the Pokemon TCG?
There are two ways to approach Pokemon cards, and it depends on what you are trying to achieve. As with many trading cards games, there is the collectibility aspect and the actual game playing aspect.
If you are looking to start with playing the game, then it is usually best to pick up one of the premade starter decks for about $20. These are pre-constructed decks that are ready to play out of the box, balanced, and come with the rules to get you up and running right away.
When it comes to collecting, there is really no wrong answer. Collecting is a long term passion, and whatever cards you may choose to collect now should appreciate in value in the long term. If you are going the collecting route, simply choose a set that you enjoy or think is cool and go from there.
3. How much are Pokemon Cards worth?
Pokemon cards vary in price depending on a lot of factors. Generally speaking, the main factors that help affect the price are condition and rarity. Older cards tend to be harder to come across, especially in good condition, therefore increasing the price. First edition cards are also more rare and usually have a higher value. Naturally speaking, first edition cards from the original set in good condition will be worth the most.
Cards can be sent off to grading companies such as PSA to become officially “graded” for their condition. This acts as a stamp of approval for the card and gives it an official rating for the condition. The process normally takes a few months and costs about $20-30 per card to get inspected. If you have a rare card in good condition, this might be a good option to help increase it’s value. The cards also get returned in hard plastic shells (slabs) which help protect the card.
4. How should I store my Pokemon Cards?
It is recommended to limit the handling of Pokemon cards if possible to help preserve their condition. Generally speaking, you will want to safely store you cards immediately after opening them from their packs to preserve their value. A simple way to protect your cards is to place them into penny sleeves (small thin plastic inserts). These protect the outside of the card from direct and liquids, and offer an initial level of protection. The next level of protection is a toploader, which is a hard plastic shell which adds an extra layer of protection and helps ensure the card does not get bent. You can also put cards directly into a binder, which is a popular choice, especially when assembling sets. Binders display cards nicely and organize them as well, allowing you to browse through your collection while still protecting your cards. The final and ultimate form of protection would be grading your cards. When you send your cards off to get graded, they get returned in hard plastic slab cases from which the card can’t be removed, bent, or damaged at all. You will normally want to protect your rare cards in some manner mentioned above, bulk commons can be placed into large white card boxes. These are usually not protected to the same degree.
5. How to effectively sell your Pokemon Cards?
If you are looking to sell your Pokemon cards, there are a number of things that you can do to help increase the quote you receive and maximize your return. Simply put, the more organized and detailed information you can provide about your collection, the quicker and easier it will be to get a higher quote. Stores want to know exactly what you have, and don’t want to spend hours sorting through your collection. If you decide to not organize your collection then that may highly impact the amount you receive. A detailed list of high value cards, well organized, versus a large cardboard box filled with who knows what. Makes sense right?
So how can you go about organizing your collection? A good starting point would be by set. This will break the collection up into smaller chunks (each set can range from 100-350 cards roughly). This will make it easier to pick out and identify the high value cards from that set. Having a full set, well organized in excellent condition might also generate a bit of a premium overall which is nice. The next step would be to organize the cards by rarity (Circles/Diamonds/Stars - Common/Uncommon/Rares)
Once this is done, you should be able to get a rough idea of what your rare cards are based on the set, and do your own research for their values. Keep in mind, the price a store is selling a card for is not the price you should expect them to pay you. The store has to make a profit as well. However, with the knowledge of the selling price, you can try to sell the cards yourself either on Ebay or the secondary market. Generally speaking, if you sell the cards yourself one by one, this will generate the largest return. This is because your are getting the max value based on the value of the card. The downside to this is that it is not very practical and requires a lot of work, so it is important to gauge if maximizing the sale value is worth the leg work it requires. You can also sell your cards in one shot to a store, who will in turn do the same thing. The advantage to this is that you can sell your collection in one shot, with minimal leg work, and no hassle. The best option is usually somewhere in between, and it ultimately depends on the individual and their situation.