Do you have a stash of Pokemon cards? With so many of them climbing in value in recent years, you may be curious whether your personal childhood collection carries any special value. While some cards are common and may not be worth much, there are certain cards – such as secret rare cards, holographic cards, ultra rare cards, and more – which can be worth a pretty penny.

The two main factors that determine the value of Pokemon cards are rarity and condition. Here, we’ll discuss these factors in greater detail. We’ll also discuss how to look for rare cards, how to read the rarity symbols and letters on your cards, why you should consider having your cards graded, and how to turn your collection into cash.

Charizard Pokémon Card

How to Determine Pokemon Card Value:

How do you know if your Pokemon cards are valuable? There are a few factors that go into determining the value of your cards.

Check the rarity of the cards

The small symbols on each Pokemon card are very important! The symbols on the card are Pokemon card rarity symbols. A circle means a card is common, a diamond is the marker for uncommon cards, and a star is used to mark rare cards. There are also a variety of unique symbols used to mark cards that are considered ultra rare. Keep an eye out for these rarity symbols when determining whether you have any rare or ultra rare cards.

Take a closer look at early cards

Cards printed shortly after the release of the game are often quite valuable. Look for cards that have “Wizards of the Coast” printed at the bottom of the card. These are from 1999 or early 2000 and are worth looking into their value.

You should also keep an eye out for the first edition stamp, which appears below and to the left of the artwork. It looks like a “1” inside a black circle, with lines radiating above it. Finally, if the art box doesn’t have a shadow underneath it, you may have a rare Shadowless card.

Check the collector number

The collector number can be another indicator of a valuable card.

Secret rare cards have a collector number that is higher than the total number of cards that were printed in that set. For example, it may appear as 99/98. Secret rare cards can be quite valuable!

If the collector number starts with an “SH,” then the card is considered a “Shining Pokémon.” The artwork for this card is different than the standard version, and the card is also a reverse holographic card.

If the card doesn’t have a collector number, the card is probably an earlier print. These aren’t all valuable, but they are worth looking into.

Keep an eye out for holographic cards

If a card has a shiny layer of foil over the artwork, it is considered a holographic card. Reverse holographic cards have a shiny layer around the artwork, rather than the entire card being holographic.

Look out for extra symbols or words after the name

Pokemon cards that were released prior to HeartGold SoulSilver will show the Pokémon level after the name in the top right hand corner. For example, a card may read, “Pikachu LV.12.”

Some Pokémon cards have a special symbol in the name, which can indicate that the card has some value. Keep an eye out for card names followed by LV.X, LEGEND, or BREAK. LEGEND Pokemon cards are printed across two cards, which need to be placed together to view the full artwork.

Other rare cards known as “SP” for “Special Pokémon” have names that are followed by a G, GL, 4, C, FB, or M. They can be identified by the “SP” logo, which is located at the bottom left corner of the artwork.

Check out your Pokemon card’s condition

Graded cards are cards that have been examined by a rating agency, such as PSA, and given a score between 1 and 10 to indicate the condition of the card. A rating of 1 is poor while a rating of 10 is Gem Mint.

Cards in mint condition will fetch a higher price than cards in poor condition. When thinking about value, it’s also just as important to consider the condition of the card. You can use special card holders to keep your cards in top condition!

Pokémon Cards

How to Identify Rare Pokémon Cards – More on Rarity:

Earlier we discussed the symbols that indicate whether a Pokémon card is common, uncommon, rare, or ultra rare. What is the rarest card of all time? What are other indicators of rarity? Here we discuss Pokémon card rarity in more detail.

What is the rarest old Pokémon card?

The rarest Pokémon card is the 1998 Pikachu illustrator card. Only 39 of these cards were produced, and they were given out to participants in a design your own Pokemon card contest. Logan Paul recently purchased this rare Pokémon card with a PSA grade 10 for $5 million.

How do you tell if a Pokémon card is rare?

The first step in determining if a card is rare is to check the symbol on the card. You can also look for cards that carry a first edition mark. This mark means a card is from the first print run of a card set, and that adds value and scarcity. Another factor to look for is whether the card is holographic. Holographic cards are rare and are more valuable.

Pokémon Cards
BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMER 9, 2022: Boy with Pokemon trading cards, collecting and playing game.

Valuable Cards to Keep an Eye Out For:

Shadowless Cards

What is a shadowless card? After the very first print run of Base Set Pokemon cards, they added a drop shadow to the artwork box. All cards from the original print run that don’t have this shadow are called Shadowless cards. Due to the scarcity of these cards, they have come to be valued as collectibles.

Tournament and Promo Cards

Rather than pulling the cards from a booster pack, some cards were originally printed as prizes for tournaments or promotional giveaways. These cards are identified by a special star in the bottom corner.

Error Cards

When a card has spelling errors, misprints, or formatting issues, it is known as an error card. Some errors are very common, but certain types of error cards can be very valuable due to their uniqueness and scarcity.

How much does it cost to get Pokemon cards graded?

Getting your cards graded can take a while, as you’ll need to send them in to a grading agency, such as PSA, and wait for them to respond. The cost comes out to roughly $20 per card. Since graded cards sell better and are worth more money, getting your more valuable cards graded may be worth the investment!

Pokémon Cards

How to Cash in On Your Pokemon Cards

Before you consider selling your cards, it’s important to have them graded. This will increase the value of the card and will verify the condition of the card for the buyer.

There are many places where you can make money by selling your Pokemon cards. Read on to learn more about each option!


The top marketplace for selling your cards is eBay. You can auction off your card to the highest bigger, or you can price it based on what other similar cards have sold for.


Cardmarket is an online marketplace based in Germany. This site caters to trading card game enthusiasts.

TCG Player

TCG Player is a center for anything that’s gaming related, including video games, table top card, and trading card games.


A website for all things related to games, TrollAndToad provides a place to buy and sell Pokemon cards.

Facebook Marketplace

A local buying and selling platform, Facebook allows your to sell your cards locally.

Local Comic Book or Hobby Shops

Local hobby shops or comic book stores can be a great place to sell if you want to sell quickly. However, keep in mind that these shops are looking to resell your cards, and they may not pay top dollar.

Pokémon Cards
BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMER 9, 2022: Boy with Pokemon trading cards, collecting and playing game.


Are holographic common Pokemon cards worth anything?

Holographic Pokemon cards are often quite valuable. If you have a holographic Pokemon card, it’s worth taking a deeper look to determine value.

What is the rarest symbol on a Pokemon card?

Rare cards are marked with a star, while ultra rare cards can have a variety of unique symbols indicating their rarity.

Are Pokémon cards with a star on them worth anything?

A star indicates a rare card. If you have a Pokemon card with the star symbol, it’s value is definitely worth investigating.

What do three white stars on a Pokemon card mean?

Three white stars are an indicator of a special, ultra rare card.


About Collectibles Insurance Services

Collectibles Insurance Services has been protecting collections since 1966 and all coverage is provided by a carrier with a group rating of “A” (Excellent) by AM Best, the leading rating agency for the insurance industry.

Comprehensive coverage includes, but is not limited to: accidental breakage, burglary, fire, flood, loss in the mail, theft, natural disasters, and other causes of loss unless specifically excluded from the policy. Deductibles start at $0 for collector policies and we provide coverage for the market value of your collection for losses in excess of $50.

Additionally the protection extends At home and away, and we don't require collection itemization and serial number nor extensive paperwork and red tape.