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Your old Pokémon cards could be worth thousands

Your old Pokémon cards could be worth thousands
Posted at 3:18 PM, Feb 27, 2024

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In the U.S., Pokémon hit its heyday in the late ’90s and early aughts. Kids were watching the cartoon on Saturday mornings and catching ’em all on Gameboys. Those pocket monsters were everywhere — including in pockets thanks to Pokemon cards. Turns out, if you’ve still go those cards around, you might be able to cash in on your childhood nostalgia.

On Ebay, old Pokémon cards are worth up to $5,400 for a solo but rare card and up to $221,600 for an entire rare collection.

Rare Kairiki Charizard First Edition Old Back Pokemon Error Card

$5,449 at Ebay

Why Are Pokémon Cards Worth So Much Money?

Pokémon cards’ popularity can’t be chalked up to just one thing. But of course, there’s the nostalgia factor.

Given the cards’ rise to popularity in the late ’90s, collectors could easily be cashing in on the zeitgeist which has already seen long-term popularity boosts in fashion and beauty.  But it’s not just the ’90s. Pokémon retained its popularity into the aughts, and with Y2K trends booming in popular culture lately, Pokémon is able to slip right into the move into a brand new “it girl” of a decade.

But that nostalgia seems to be partially generated by millennial and Gen Z celebrities and influencers. Social media star Logan Paul made headlines in 2021 when he wore a $150,000 Charizard card around his neck to a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather. Then, in Jan. 2022, Paul uploaded a Youtube video detailing his purchase of a set of Pokémon cards for $3.5 million. Ultimately, that set of cards ended up being fake, but later that month, Paul uploaded another video about his purchase of a $5.3 million Pikachu Illustrator card. Each of those videos have over 7.5 million views, and Paul — cofounder of crypto-based Liquid Marketplace — even allows subscribers to “co-own” part of the card through his platform.

Pokemon TCG: 3 Booster Packs & 1 Random Foil

$13 at Amazon

But Paul isn’t alone. Back in 2020, Justin Bieber showed off his own Pokémon card collection. The singer has an entire framed set that he showcased on social media. DJ Steve Aoki is also an avid collector and sold off $3 million worth of Pokémon cards in 2021. Before that, in 2020, Twitch streamers began doing “unboxings” of cards on their streams raking up hundreds of thousands of views.

How Can You Tell If a Pokémon Card Is Worth Money?

When it comes to assessing Pokémon cards, not much has changed in terms of determining their value. The cards themselves will tell you.  There are three main methods to find out how much your card might be worth:

  • Rarity: Pokémon cards are marked with three symbols in the bottom right corner: a circle, diamond and star. A circle is a common card, diamond is uncommon and a star is rare. If that star isn’t black and is instead white or some other shade, the card is even rarer.
  • First Edition: Cards marked first edition are also worth more money.
  • Holographic: Cards that are part of a holographic collection are also worth more money.

While there are other markers that make a Pokémon card more valuable — like later versions and particularly popular Pokémon types — if you’re not a hard core collector, these are some good basic indicators of value.

How Much Are Pokémon Cards Really Worth?

As reported, Pokémon cards can go for millions of dollars. Those auctions, however, are probably not going to be your every day traders or collectors.

Accessible Pokémon cards — those sold as solo offerings on Ebay — do, however, get expensive. A Rare Kairiki Charizard First Edition is sitting pretty at nearly $5,000 on the bidding platform, and a 2002 Legendary Charizard Reverse Holo Card is at $100,000.

Ebay

$100,000 at Ebay

But those are some of the most expensive finds on Ebay. If you’re a collector looking to snag a favorite Pokémon or finish a pack, you can find cards for less. According to one listing, you can get a graded, authentic Charizard card for $60 (seeing a Charizard theme, here?). Or, if you’re more of a Squirtle fan, get a collection of evolutions for $215.

PSA 10 Squirtle Wartortle Blastoise

$215 at Ebay

But it’s not all Ebay in the Pokémon world. Cards are still actively being sold. You can buy them at the official trading card game website, and there are cards at retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target.

Whether you’ve got a stash of cards somewhere in your basement, or you’ve recently seen how other collectible items can be worth money (here’s looking at your Precious Moments figurines), you might want to pick up those random Pokémon cards you see at the local flea market.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.