There are many passions for collecting: what begins in children with sticks and stones may continue as they get older with stickers, coins, stamps or cards. They all have one thing in common: you always want more and you can leave a lot of money – but you can also earn it. When it comes to Pokémon cards, in addition to the collecting aspect, there is also the fan aspect or the joy of the card game itself. It’s probably for these reasons that the trading card game, or TCG for short, has been available for purchase for over 25 years – with new eras constantly appearing. There is still no end in sight.

In order to keep track and be able to help your children when collecting and trading, below you will find an overview of all the important topics relating to Pokémon cards, their value, series and offers. Sascha Steinbrink, co-founder of “Cardbuddys”, is very familiar with the different TCGs and explained to stern what children and adults should pay attention to if they get caught up in the Pokémon collecting bug.

You can usually recognize valuable Pokémon cards because they look different from the other cards in a booster. While most cards have no special effect and usually only show a small image of the Pokémon or item, more valuable cards have a holographic effect on the card. Nowadays, the holographic cards, which are available either as a holo effect on the picture of the Pokémon or item or around the picture (“reverse”), are only secondary, whereas they used to be the highlight. For some time now, the full-screen cards (also called full art), where the drawing is spread across the entire card, have generally been the most valuable. But there are also numerous differences between these cards.

Sascha Steinbrink explains the current orientation: “In the latest cycle ‘crimson

This is a special feature of the current card series. But of course there are numerous others. For orientation purposes, the following rarity levels can be found on the cards:

Since there are new expansions to the Pokémon series on a regular basis, the rarity levels are also evolving. There are also cards with so-called “stamps” on them, i.e. from special sets or for special occasions, such as tournaments. They usually have a symbol on the bottom right corner of the Pokémon image, making a card rarer.

To explain: There is always an overarching series to which there are further expansions. The aforementioned “crimson

In the 25 years, a number of series and expansions have already come together. These were and are so far:

(As of: May 2024. Note: Some of the sets and expansions mentioned have not been published in German. There are also promo sets and specials that are not mentioned here.)

If you or your child have drawn one of these rare cards, it is interesting to know whether it has a higher value. It’s worth taking a look at “Cardmarket,” explains the expert: “It’s the largest marketplace for trading cards in Europe. It’s important that you look for the card in the right language and in the right condition. There’s always an abbreviation at the bottom left and a number. You enter this and then find the appropriate card with a guideline value.” Exciting to see: You can track price fluctuations on the website and assess whether it’s worth leaving the card around for a while or, if necessary, reselling it directly.

If you are thinking about selling your cards at some point, you should make sure that they remain fresh as a booster, i.e. in the condition in which they were pulled from the booster. The expert advises that it is best to have cases ready when opening the boosters so that rare cards can be protected immediately. This ensures that at least no scratches or the like get into the card and that it remains undamaged. In addition to damage, there are also other factors that determine the condition of a card, explains Steinbrink.

“There are usually four evaluation guidelines that determine the condition of a card: Corners, Centering, Edges and Surface. This means that the card is evaluated based on how the edges of the card look, how centrally the image was cut out, the condition of the corners and the condition of the card’s surface.” While some points can be influenced by good handling, other factors are a matter of luck. The final evaluation is given a number between one and ten, with ten being the best rating. These official ratings are obtained from a so-called grading company, which works according to these criteria. The following ratings are then given:

Sometimes worse states between ratings one and three are also referred to as “bad”, “played” or “lightly played”.

As mentioned above, when opening the boosters there should at least be cases in place. If you take out a very valuable card, it may make sense to additionally protect it in a top loader, i.e. an even more stable case. To make it easy to retrieve them later, you can stick an adhesive strip on the first cover that extends over the top of the cover and only then put it in the top loader. These cards then find space in a tin box, display case or similar. Or you can first protect your rare cards in a sleeve and then sort them into a suitable album. The cards can be conveniently viewed and stored there later.

Whether you give a card to a grading company can be worthwhile in certain cases, says Steinbrink: “If you want an increase in value, it can make sense to have a good Pokémon card graded. The best way to do this is with them Market leaders like PSA or Beckett do it if you can see that it could get a ten.” Grading could also be useful in order to protect enthusiast cards well. “The cards are sealed in an acrylic case. Then nothing can get into them.” Anyone who decides to grade will find instructions on how and when the cards are accepted on the market leaders’ respective websites. Sometimes there are also conventions or trade fairs where Pokémon cards can be sent to the USA for grading at easier and cheaper conditions. It may be worth keeping an eye out for.

If you like to collect Pokémon cards and are a fan of hour one, you can get the “Crimson

“Pokémon cards can of course also be played. Strong cards can also have a higher value than others. Then it is the playability that determines the value, less the rarity of the card.” Here, for example, sets like “Crimson

Sascha Steinbrink says that collecting is basically a hobby. Nevertheless, it can be worth looking at the value of Pokémon cards. “The cards are actually becoming more and more expensive. The only question is when. It’s usually worth keeping cards if they are no longer reprinted. It’s always risky to bet on them.” If you do this on a large scale, it can become a commercial activity. For hobby collectors, it can also be profitable on a small scale. “For example, if you draw a ‘Chase card’, like Charizard from the ‘151’ expansion, and it gets a ten in grading, it’s certainly always a good idea to put that card in storage.”

As mentioned above, some Pokémon cards fluctuate in value. There are also some valuable cards that you can hardly get as a layperson, for example from championships or tournaments or from the very first sets. This (unsorted) list (sources: classifieds and Wirtschaftswoche) gives a rough overview of particularly valuable Pokémon cards from the past. Since different information about prices is circulating online, an incomplete list follows:

In the past, these cards have fetched several thousand euros. Most of these cards have been rated with a ten by renowned grading companies. But then there are cards that anyone can draw or get – some with more, some with less effort. These include Nachtara VMax from the “Sword

Which cards from current sets are particularly valuable and rare can always be found in the information about the respective expansions (e.g. in an insert in the Top Trainer boxes) or online. It’s also worth looking out for popular Pokémon, such as Pikachu in a special form, Charizard, Night Macaw, Rayquaza or others. They are particularly popular with collectors. If you want to sell internationally, you can use English and Japanese cards; German cards are also suitable for your own use and local sales.

Steinbrink adds: “Vintage cards will of course always remain valuable Pokémon cards because they will never be produced again. But limited promo cards can also have a particularly high value.” In addition, cards that come from older sets and are no longer produced. It may be worthwhile to keep an eye on price developments here.

Sascha Steinbrink explains that there are many reputable providers with whom you can hardly go wrong. However, you should be a little more careful with marketplaces where private or non-reputable providers can sell: “When buying online, it can sometimes happen that items are sent that are resealed, i.e. have already been opened.” It is therefore always important and useful to take a look at the reviews of the respective provider. In addition, counterfeit cards are circulating with some providers.

You’re usually on the safe side in local shops and chains, says the expert. Buy these from the official distributor. Also particularly positive with the local provider: In addition to good advice, they also offer the opportunity to exchange cards or take part in smaller tournaments, as is the case with “Cardbuddys”. Players and collectors come together and can exchange ideas – in the truest sense of the word.

If you want to sell cards, you can do so either at “Cardmarket”, as a well-rated provider, also on private marketplaces, but sometimes also in local shops. But here you get offers below the value because the cards are resold there. This is what you should know.

If you accidentally buy fake Pokémon cards or your child brings them home after swapping them, you can recognize them as follows, as Steinbrink from “Cardbuddys” explains: “One of the ways you can recognize fake cards is that: Holo Foil is very dull and pale and the cards have no structure when they should have in the original. Official Pokémon cards usually have a texture and the Pokémon stand out on the back boldly printed, but not fake ones.” They are a paler yellow. English cards are often counterfeited; with German cards it is much less likely to catch a counterfeit card.

Source used: Pokémon

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