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How to Sell Pokémon Cards to Make Money Now

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The ’90s brought along countless generational icons.

Owning a stockpile of Goosebumps books, sporting the occasional slap bracelet, or chomping on a pack of Gushers are a few telltale signs you’re a true ’90s kid.

And then there’s Pokémon cards.

Have you ever thought, “I wonder if I can sell Pokémon cards for cash?”

Many of us dreamed of riches and huge payouts by selling those ultra-rare Pokémon cards.

We insisted that one of these days our cards would be worth thousands of dollars.

As the years passed and Pokémon fell out of the limelight, many collections were lost to garage sales or the dumpster.

After all, most of these cards were nearly worthless unless you were fortunate enough to have some of the original cards produced by Pokémon.

But for those of you who were in it for the long haul and have managed to hold on to your old Pokémon card collection, there may be some money in it for you.

All those years of meticulous care of your cards and the discipline to not pull them out of their protective sleeves might finally pay off.

In this article, we’ll walk through how you can sell your Pokémon cards.

We’ll go step-by-step, from showing you how to spot valuable cards to discussing where you can sell your cards.

Pokémon Overview

Pikachu arcade game


Pokémon was a huge phenomenon of the late 1990s.

What started as a video game in 1996 quickly evolved into a mascot for ‘90s pop culture.

Following the release of the Pokémon games was a Japanese television show that stormed the American airwaves.

And then came the last piece of the puzzle in 1999 — the Pokémon trading card game.

The 102-card base-set hit the shelves and quickly shot up to meteoric popularity.

You would have been hard-pressed to step foot in any school hallway or playground without a swarm of kids showing off and comparing their Pokémon cards.

Over the years, Pokémon faded into the background as fads always seem to come and go, but recently Pokémon has experienced a resurgence.

Nowadays, you’ll see people walking around playing the Pokémon Go mobile app or hitting the movie theater for new Pokémon movies, like Detective Pikachu.

But for those of you who have held on to your sacred collection of Pokémon cards, we may be able to help you turn a quick profit.

Let’s go over three questions you may have if you’re thinking about selling your Pokémon cards.

1. Do You Have Valuable Pokémon Cards?

The first step to selling your Pokémon cards is figuring out if you have valuable cards.

There are four types of cards that are more valuable than the rest — holographic, shadowless, first-edition, and unlimited cards.

There are many popular cards out there that may be worthless.

However, these four categories of cards will fetch you a much higher sales price.

Let’s break down each category.
Sell Pokémon Cards: Pikachu

Holographic Cards

This category of cards is the most obvious of the bunch.

Any die-hard Pokémon card collector knew these cards were rarer — and hopefully worth more money one day.

These high-value cards have a shiny hologram within the main Pokémon image — think Charizard, Blastoise, or Venusaur.

Holographic cards are a good indicator of cards that are worth more.

However, just because you have a holographic card doesn’t mean you have a valuable card.

Some of these cards are very common. A better indicator of a valuable card is how old it is.

First-Edition Cards

The most valuable cards on the market are from the initial base-set card release in 1999.

These first-edition cards are the rarest Pokémon cards that most collectors are looking for.

These include all of the original Pokémon characters, like Pikachu and Machamp, not the newer characters introduced in the following years.

But how do you know if you have a first-edition card?

Don’t worry, there’s a quick and easy way for you to check.

First-edition cards will have a small logo that says “Edition 1” in the bottom left corner of the main Pokémon image.

This means the card is from the initial print release making them some of the rarest cards.

A majority of these cards were bought up in a hurry by savvy collectors.

First-edition cards aren’t the only ones worth any money.

There are a few other types of cards that can still fetch a pretty penny.

Shadowless Cards

Shadowless cards aren’t the same as first-edition cards, but they’re nearly as old and are still quite rare in comparison to other cards. So how do you spot a shadowless card?

Take a look at a Pokémon card.

On the right side of the main image, there will either be a drop-shadow creating a 3D effect, or there won’t be a shadow giving the image a 2D effect.

Newer cards have a shadow, while older — and rarer — cards will be shadowless.

Unlimited Cards

Unlimited cards are pretty rare but are slightly newer than first-edition and shadowless cards.

You can spot an unlimited card using some of what we talked about above.

For starters, an unlimited card won’t have an “Edition 1” icon on the bottom left of the image.

Also, it will have a shadow on the right side of the image giving it a 3D effect.

Lastly, you’ll need to look at the bottom right of the main image.

Many cards will have a set symbol, like an icon that says “Promo.”

If your card doesn’t have an icon in the bottom right, you have an unlimited card.

This means your card is from the base-set of cards with the original characters.

If you need help determining which Pokémon cards you have, you can check out this Pokémon card price guide.

Once you’ve determined if you have rare cards, the next step is checking the condition of your cards.

2. What’s the Condition of Your Pokémon Cards?

Cards that are in near mint condition will yield a higher selling price.

Cards that are bent, faded, or torn are virtually worthless.

Collectors are looking for cards that are in tip-top condition.

If you’ve been diligent about keeping your potentially valuable cards in protective sleeves, you should be in good shape when it comes to selling.

If you have a pile of cards you’re thinking about selling, you can start thumbing through and looking at the condition of each.

You should be looking for general wear and tear that may have damaged the cards over the years.

Examine the edges for any fraying, water damage, and any scratches to the surface of the card.

Giving your cards a once over is a good start, but if you think you have a rare and valuable first-edition card, it might be worth getting a second opinion.

You can send your most valuable cards to an authenticator to help determine the value.

The Professional Sports Authenticator — or PSA — is a collector and memorabilia authentication service that will give your cards a grade.

Cards that are authenticated and given a high grade are going to be easier to sell and can earn you extra money in the long run.

The same goes for selling baseball cards, which you can learn more about here.

Once you’ve determined the condition of cards and authenticated the most valuable ones, it’s time to put your cards on the market.

3. Where Can You Sell Pokémon Cards?

The easiest place to sell Pokémon cards is on eBay.

It’s by far the most user-friendly service to quickly list your cards and start earning cash.

You should be aware that many buyers will be wary of getting scammed.

Buying collectibles online involves sifting through a lot of scams and counterfeit products.

But remember that if you take the time to get your cards authenticated, you’ll have a much easier time selling them.

It shows buyers that your cards are the real deal and it will eliminate any arguments or skepticism that your cards are fake.

Creating an eBay listing is incredibly easy and convenient.

If you’ve never sold anything on eBay, make sure to check out our beginner’s guide to selling on eBay.

You can also sell your cards to an online or local card shop.

They may pay you less for your cards since they’ll try to turn a profit off your cards, but it’s worth a shot if you aren’t having any luck on eBay.

You can even look into an auction house.

However, you should only consider this if you know you have a card that will go for thousands of dollars.

Is Now the Time to Finally Sell?

Maybe now is finally the time you make your move.

Perhaps you’ve been sitting on a stockpile of old cards for years and years.

Why not start looking through your collection and figuring out which Pokémon cards might make you a quick buck.

And who knows?

Maybe you’re sitting on a gold mine that you’ve never even known about.

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