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How to Sell Pokemon Cards as a Collector

Gotta sell em all!

So you have amassed a small horde of Pokemon cards and are wondering what to do now. Well don’t worry, in this guide, we will break down all of those questions and show you How to sell Pokemon Cards as a Collector.

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What Is Card Grading? Explained

The first thing you need to realize before you start offloading cards is that not every card is valuable and some cards that may look pristine are actually less than perfect. Even if you purchased a fresh still wrapped box set and pulled the most valuable card in that set it may not be considered the highest quality possible. This is where grading comes in; getting your cards graded simply means sending them to a reputable organization to be judged. The judgment is based on how perfect the card is and can take everything from scratches to small printing imperfections into account.

There are a few grading companies that buyers look for when they shop for cards. These include:

We encourage you to look at the fees that each charge and their grading policies to determine which might be best for your collection. Usually, it’s only worth your time to grade cards where you can make a potential profit off of the grading. The same card may be worth both $5 at a PSA 5 and $300 at a PSA 10 so it is definitely worth your time to take this extra step.

You can sell your cards without grading which is referred to as selling “raw.” Keep in mind, however, there is a much smaller market for ungraded cards and you may end up missing out on a lot of money. TCGplayer is a great resource for checking raw cards to see if yours are worth sending to be graded.

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The grading scales are usually anything from 1-10 and are based on everything from the general condition to how well the foil was printed. As I mentioned prior even the freshest cards could have printing missteps or have gotten scratched in the factory which could detract from the value.

If your card has a blemish, it is still recommended to research and see if it’s a sought-after error card. Some cards were printed with ink stains, with MTG backings, or even typos. Even certain errors have their own individual markets within the community and when graded they’ll be marked as such.

How to Value Pokemon Cards Before Sale

The first thing to know is that each Pokemon card comes from a specific set. To determine which set your card is from check the bottom corner for a few small numbers. For example, a base set Charizard holo is 4/102. If you didn’t know that your Charizard was from the base set you would simply look up “Charizard 4/102” to determine the potential value of the card.

If you do have a base set card there is also a chance that they could be 1st edition, shadowless, or unlimited. 1st edition cards are the first initial printing before the “Pokemon craze” that was available and have a small icon under the portrait that discerns them as such. Cards that were reprinted for the base set later did not have this notation and are considered “unlimited.” These limited first edition cards were also printed without a drop shadow under the portrait which makes them “shadowless.” Do note: there were some shadowless cards printed without the 1st edition notation as well.

Small discrepancies like this appear over the entirety of the Pokemon TCGs lifespan. The key here is always research research research. You never know what quirks your collection may have that might be valuable to the right person.

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If your card is modern and you just pulled it out of a pack you got at the store today we recommend checking out TCGplayer to get an idea of the price. When you’re on a cards page you can look at the market price to see an average of sold listings but most people use the lowest price since that’s what you could get if you wanted to buy or sell ASAP. If you don’t mind waiting for a sale then there is no issue with listing at market price.

If your card is vintage or something that comes from one of the first few sets you will get a much more accurate price by checking the eBay sold listings. Please keep in mind that people are allowed to list their cards for any number they like on eBay. Just because you see your card listed for millions doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually worth that much. It’s for this reason that checking sold listings and doing research on your individual card is important.

Where to Sell Pokemon Cards

Once you feel confident in the pricing of your cards now you get to reap the rewards of your hard work. Selling Pokemon cards is a lot easier than it used to be and there are many many marketplaces where you’ll find people willing to pay for your collection.

The most commonly used websites are eBay and TCGplayer. Feel free to browse around, make accounts, and list some less valuable cards to get a feel for how fast things sell and each website’s individual process for handling sales. The key is selling where you feel the most comfortable or where you feel you will get the best prices so don’t be afraid to mix and match vendor websites to achieve this.

Hopefully, this guide has given you a firm footing in the world of card collecting and how to sell Pokemon cards. It’s a fun and rewarding hobby, and potentially a great way to pay off your student loans. There are hundreds of thousands of variables and different cards out there so we encourage you to dive in and get started on your collecting journey. Just remember to do so ethically.

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Zach Eubanks
Long time Dungeon Master. Former Competitive TF2 player and a long time fan of every game both strategy and sim.