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Want to Sell Your Old Pokemon Cards?
If you’ve just stumbled across Pokemon cards from your childhood there’s a possibility they’re valuable!
- How much are they really worth?
- How much could you actually sell them for?
- and where should you sell them?
All good questions.
As an experienced buyer, seller and collector, I’m going to share with you how I assess the value of old Pokemon cards, and what options you have to sell them.
Here’s what I’d do if I were in your shoes…
Assessing Your Collection of Pokemon Cards
Firstly, we need to look for a few key attributes.
1st Edition Cards
If any of your cards display the ‘1st Edition Logo’, this is a great sign. The card was from the first print run of that particular set, as is therefore more desirable.
The only caveat to this is the Base Set Machamp, which displayed this logo throughout all print runs. Unfortunately, it’s not as valuable as some novices think.
Is the card holographic or ‘shiny’? In most cases, it’s more valuable and desirable because of this.
Holographic cards tend to be the ‘rare’ cards in a set. Usually each pack only contains one ‘rare’ and it isn’t always holographic.
The exception to this is when packs contain a ‘reverse holographic’ card too, which could also be a ‘rare’.
An obvious one, but scratches, bends, creasing and edgewear will all reduce the value of your cards.
People often buy old collections with the view to getting them professionally graded, and therefore, adding value.
If you’re unsure of how a grader might assess your cards, this article should help you.
One of the first things I do when assessing an old collection is to look for the chase cards.
This is usually a Charizard card, but I’m also on the lookout for other popular characters such as Pikachu, Blastoise and Gengar too.
If lots of people like the characters, then lots will want the card too.
The Set it Belongs to
If your old cards are from when you collected as a kid in 1999-2002, there’s a good chance it contains cards from Base Set. This handy visual should help you identify this.
There’s also a possibility you have cards from Jungle, Fossil, Base Set 2, Team Rocket or even the Gym Heroes or Neo Genesis era. Again, this page should help you find the set your cards below to. (Scroll to the bottom).
These early sets all have great value for collectors, but as a general rule of thumb, the older the better. Nothing beats the original Base Set!
At this point, you should have a better idea of how desirable your collection might be to others.
Of course, one card can tick many boxes… A 1st Edition Charizard from Base in great condition could buy you a house these days!
Equally a beat up old energy card is near worthless.
But once you’ve identified the key ‘pieces’ in your collection. We now need to get a rough idea of value.
How to Find Pokemon Card Values
There are a couple of key information sources I use for find how much Pokemon cards could be worth.
1. eBay Sold Listings
Perhaps a little-known feature of eBay is that you can filter by ‘Sold Items’.
This feature can be found on the left-hand side of the eBay search results page.
Below we can see what a ‘mint’ condition Base Set Charizard recently sold for.
FYI – If the price has a line through it, it means the ‘Best Offer’ was accepted. When this happens eBay doesn’t tell us what the sold price was, so bear this in mind in your analysis.
By running through this process for the key cards in your collection (or all of them if time is on your side), you’ll be able to get a very good idea of how the market values your cards.
Do remember though to look for examples in the same (or close) condition as your card/s to get a more accurate reading of the potential value.
2. Graded Card Tracking Tools
An alternative option when selling your Pokemon cards is to grade them first.
I’ve written extensively on the topic, so you might find these articles useful if you’re new to the grading process.
Ultimately, by grading them you can potentially add value to the cards and sell them for more in the long-term.
Note: Grading cards takes a long time. Because there was such an increase in popularity, grading companies have a large backlog to work through. If you want to sell your cards imminently, this probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re willing to wait, this has the potential to make a greater return further down the line.
Once you’re cards have returned, again you can look at eBay last sold prices, but there’s another tool I’m very fond of too.
PokemonPrice.com allows you to see how much particular PSA graded cards sold for, and it tracks the sales over time.
For example, here are the recent sales for a 1st Edition Base Set Alakazam Holo card.
Note the PSA grade in column two, and the sold price in column 3.
In my opinion, this is an incredibly useful tool for getting an idea of how much your cards might be worth if graded. The only caveat is that the Pokemon card market fluctuates, and just because cards sell for this price now, it doesn’t mean they will when you finally get your cards back.
However, if you’ve got cards that match 2 or 3 of the criteria below, I would probably get it graded. Personal opinion of course!
- 1st Edition
- Near Mint to Mint Condition
- Popular Pokemon
- Older Sets (from the Wizards of the Coast era)
Where to Sell Your Pokemon Cards
Now you’ve got a clearer idea of value, it’s time to decide where you’re going to sell them.
The obvious choice is of course…
By far the largest online marketplace for selling Pokemon cards is eBay.
In fact, if we do a quick ‘Sold Items’ search on the keyword ‘Pokemon Cards‘, we have over 189k in the last 90 days!
So why would you go anywhere else?
eBay of course charges a listing fee, and their seller fees (here in the UK) are 10% of the final sold price.
If you’re selling some highly valuable cards, that can be quite a hit to bottom line.
To combat that, what sellers tend to do is factor the percentage into their listing price. This may be a strategy you wish to adopt too.
The Pokemon card community is thriving on Instagram.
Please follow me if you haven’t already 😀
Collectors use it as a platform to showcase their collection, but it also acts as a great method for building connections and completing transactions or swaps with people you trust.
Trust is the key point here.
eBay offers a level of protection that few marketplaces can rival. With so much money flowing into Pokemon, it also attracts scammers.
Many people are happy paying the eBay fees because they feel it’s worth the peace of mind that they’re protected, myself included.
So my advice is this, if you do want to deal outside of eBay, I’d only connect with people who have a strong track record on Instgram.
- A long history of posting and being active in the community
- Individuals will often promote the number of independent transactions they’ve done in their bio
- Naturally, you’d expect them to have a considerable number of followers – usually 1,000+
When it comes to the actual transaction, I’d always recommend using the PayPal ‘Goods or Services’ method.
At the time of writing, this carries a 3% surcharge.
Some sellers may try to encourage you to use PayPal ‘Friends & Family’, as this saves on the 3%.
I highly recommend you don’t use this method.
Only PayPal ‘Goods or Services’ comes with PayPal Purchase Protection.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
However, from my experience, you get the best prices by offering your cards to the biggest and safest marketplaces. That is why I prefer to stick to eBay.
My Top Selling Strategies for eBay
1. Presentation is Everything
Poor photographs can massively hinder people from purchasing or bidding on your item.
When it comes to individual cards, many buyers will purchase with a view to grading the cards.
This means they’re specifically looking for:
- Print lines
- Whitening on the sides
It’s better to be as transparent as possible about the card’s condition to save yourself refunds and aggro down the line.
Take photos of the front, back, each corner, and if it’s a holographic card, try and take a photo of it catching the light – This will show any imperfections.
Showcasing your cards properly will lead to a bigger potential audience of buyers, and ultimately more money in your pocket.
2. Pricing Strategies
I like to price my cards one of two ways:
Buy it Now with Best Offer Available
If there’s a ‘lowest figure’ I’m prepared to sell my card/s for, I’ll use the ‘Buy It Now’ method on eBay with an option to accept offers.
The price will be selected by looking at how competing auctions have priced theirs. I’ll also look at previously sold auctions (as mentioned above) to ensure my pricing isn’t wildly too high.
For a quick sale, I might undercut slightly. But generally I’ll position my card/s towards the lower end of the scale. This should attract enough interest to ensure it sells.
Depending on your tolerance to risk, you may also want to consider a 99p auction over a 10 day period (which is the longest auction length).
99p auctions generate A LOT of buzz, interest and bidders.
The perception of getting something undervalued drives emotional bidding, and in my experience, almost always reaches the price I’m looking for.
Quick Tip – I always ensure 99p auctions finish on a Sunday evening, as there is a lot of eBay activity towards the end of the weekend.
3. Feedback Counts
If you have cards that you believe will sell for hundreds, I’d recommend ‘warming up’ your eBay account first.
Buy and sell a few low value items to build some feedback. In fact, actively message the other party after each transaction and politely request feedback.
Buyers need to know they can trust you, and without some positive recommendations, it’s likely your cards won’t sell for there true value.
Put in a bit of groundwork first, to ensure you maximise your profits later.
Quick Tip – Change your eBay profile icon to something Pokemon related. It’ll show you’re part of the community, not just some random seller.
Timing is Everything!
Before you go on your merry way, I thought it’d be prudent to also share a more objective piece of advice on whether you should actually be selling your Pokemon cards now at all!
Caveat – If you need cash now. Absolutely go for it. If you have vintage cards, it is still a very good time to pull the trigger and get some money for your old collection.
Equally, if you’re in no rush, my experience with the Pokemon card market has been very up and down over the years.
2020 was insane for sure, but there have been other peaks along the way that coincided with events like the launch of Pokemon Go.
Currently, Pokemon cards have come down a bit from the lofty heights set last year. Prices went insane, and now a natural correction is occurring.
If you’re able to wait, my advice would be to wait for the next buzz in the market and sell when things get hot.
- It may be Logan Paul breaking into another 1st Edition Booster Box.
- It may be Pokemon launching an epic new game.
- It may be Pokemon’s next anniversary.
Whatever it is, having the foresight to identify these opportunities will lead to strategic selling at just the right time.
Just a bit of food for thought!