How To Tell If A Pokmon Card Is Fake
Strategic depth: Medium
Publisher:Wizards of the Coast
Pokémon cards are back in vogue. And with the uptick in interest, there is now a thriving market for buying and selling Pokémon cards. As the number of people looking to buy Pokémon cards continues to increase, so does the number of scammers looking to take advantage of the trend and make a quick buck.
The most notable example of this involved the famous YouTuber Logan Paul. He and a group of investors almost bought a box of Pokémon cards valued at $375,000. The seller agreed to open the box and packs before exchanging the cash. The box turned out to be fake. Fortunately for Paul, he didnt pay a dime, but the mistake even slipped past Pauls Pokémon advisor.
While the average person doesnt have the money to hire a specialised advisor, the average person can easily identify a fake Pokémon card with a little advice. This guide will teach you how to spot a fake and protect yourself from buying a counterfeit card. This guide is structured to give you more detailed advice on how to spot a fake as you go on. Whether you collect as an enthusiast or you just want to round out your latest deck, welcome!
$375k FAKE #Pokemon box…Thats why you buy PSA/BGS graded!Are you kidding me!?!?
The Most Valuable First Edition Pokmon Cards Of All
Its amazing to think that a set that is barely 20 years old will sell for millions if youre looking at a complete collection of pristine graded cards.
The original 1999 release is definitely the pinnacle for now, and they look unlikely to be beaten anytime soon.
There are a couple of decent options from 2000 onwards, but they just cant compete with the popularity of the original 151.
The Charizard was always the chase card, but its still insane to think that it could be bought for less than $10,000 back in 2016. What will the value be in 2026?
Japanese Pokmon Heartgold And Soulsilver Sets
When the Heartgold and Soulsilver Pokémon trading card lineup was released in Japan, it was done differently from in America. It also had an abnormally long waiting period in between the first and second sets.
Heartgold and Soulsilver Collection
Heartgold and Soulsilver Collection is the first Japanese set based on the Heartgold and Soulsilver games. It has 140 cards in total, including the following special cards: Alph Lithograph, Ursaring Prime, Crobat Prime, Typhlosion Prime, Meganium Prime, Blissey Prime, Donphan Prime, Ampharos Prime, Feraligatr Prime, Lugia LEGEND, and Ho-Oh LEGEND. Starting from this set, the Trainer cards in Japan have been renamed Goods cards. It has been renamed in America as HeartGold SoulSilver, or HS.
Heartgold and Soulsilver special decks
The Heartgold and Soulsilver special decks were released in between the releases of the first and second Heartgold and Soulsilver sets. Expert Deck: Leafeon vs. Metagross is a set of two 60-card decks with a CD for online play. In addition to being more powerful than most theme decks, the Leafeon and Metagross decks have special cards that weren’t released in any other Japanese sets. There are also Battle Starter decks, which were released with special cards only available to their specific deck. The decks are named Offense , Defense , Speed , and Skill .
Heartgold and Soulsilver Revived Legends
Lost Link Mini-Series
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Pokmon Neo Destiny 1st Edition Shining Charizard #107
It didnt take long for a Charizard to make it onto the list.
Rather than the Shadowless first edition version found in the base collection, were looking at the 2002 Shining Charizard that came with the Neo Destiny set.
The first offering to highlight Light Pokémon, which counterbalanced the more aggressive Dark Pokémon in gameplay, it was also the first issue to feature Shining cards with a design that presented only the Pokémon in foil material in the artwork.
The Charizard is one such example, finished in a muted silver foil that contrasts well with the rest of the card.
There are 222 PSA 10 copies according to the registry, but that hasnt stopped values from rising due to the popularity of the fire-breathing lizard.
Shining cards were originally inserted at a 300:1 rate.
The Best Cards Are Worth More Than Youd Think
In 2018, a man named Gary made digital headlines after appearing on Pawn Stars with a series of Pokémon cards, which he claimed were worth half a million dollars.
While this claim initially astounded both the audience and the shows experts, its perfectly true that rare first edition cards can hold immense value. The cards brought in to Pawn Starsby Gary were just a small fraction of his assets, too Garys entire collection was later revealed to be worth approximately $5 million.
Earlier this month, the YouTuber Logan Paul bought a first edition PSA-graded 10 Charizard card from Pawn StarsGary for a whopping $150,000. And thats not even close to the highest price ever fetched by a Pokémon card this honor went to The Pikachu Illustrator card, which sold for $233,000.
Though the average price of Pokémon cards is much lower, there are many rare, highly collectible cards with values upwards of $200,000. A 1999 Holographic Shadow-less First Edition Charizard, for instance, is currently worth between $150,000 to $200,000.
Even more common cards can be worth several thousand dollars, depending on their condition. For example, Charizard Holo cards from the 1999 base set have been known to fetch over $5,000 to $10,000 despite the fact that there are over 10,000 of them in circulation.
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How To Spot A Fake Pokmon Card Immediately
Look at the card. Then ask yourself: does anything seem off? Read it and check to see if there are any simple errors in the card. Here is a short list of characteristics to check:
- Does this Pokémon exist?
- Does the card have an accent over every single e in Pokémon?
- Is the card free of spelling mistakes and obvious grammar mistakes, such as missing punctuation?
- Does the card have the year it was printed?
- Does the card have the number of elemental symbols in all the correct places of the card?
- Does the Pokémon have a reasonable amount of HP? For example, if you have an Eevee with over 1,000 HP, then that card is probably a fake. If you are unsure as to whats unreasonable you could look up the card on the Pokémon TCG card database to get a ballpark range of where its HP is usually at.
If you answered no to one or several of these questions, odds are that you have a fake Pokémon card. This is a great and easy way to spot a fake immediately.
Pokmon Neo Revelation 1st Edition Holo Houndoom #8
Neo Revelation is a 66-card expansion that was released back in 2001.
Weve mentioned that dark Pokémon were overpowered at the time, but they were also unique enough to stand out from the crowd compared to normal types that had been seen before.
Houndoom is one such example, with the card wrapped in a distinctive black background.
Youll be able to see advancements in terms of the illustration compared to the base 1999 set, as Houndoom howls at the moon in the image. Rather than a full holo background, only the stars glitter in the light.
Another expensive option, its limited to only 28 PSA 10 copies. Thats low enough to allow it to mix with the rarest original Pokémon cards.
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Pokmon Cards Are Easy To Store
Valuable Pokémon cards do need to be stored properly to prevent fraying and accidental damage, but it takes minimum effort and cost to keep your collection safe.
Purpose-designed storage solutions for Pokémon cards are easily available, in the form of individual pockets or binders. Its therefore exceedingly simple to keep your cards safe and organized.
Pokmon Neo Revelation Holo 1st Edition Entei #6
One of the few options released past the turn of the century to make the list, Entei is found as part of the 2001 Pokemon Neo Revelation set.
As were looking at the most valuable cards were sticking with 1st Edition versions, although you wont have to worry about shadows.
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Entei is also known as the Legendary Beast of Johto and made his first appearance in Pokémon Gold and Silver.
His legend lives on as of 2021, even if the Pokémon only just misses out on a space in the top 10.
There are 30 gem mint first edition cards in existence, making for a great pick that contends with the 1999 set.
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Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Venusaur #15
Now were getting somewhere. The final evolution of the starter Pokémon Bulbasaur, Venusaur had a massive part to play in both the games and the anime as one of the mainstays in Ashs party.
It featured on-the-box art for the original Japanese version of the game, although the Green edition was never released worldwide.
With over 137 PSA 10 copies in existence, the original holo Venusaur is clearly a coveted card.
It may pale in comparison to the likes of Blastoise and Charizard, but its still a member of the original trio that players got to choose from.
Reasons To Invest In Rare Pokmon Cards
Why adding collectibles to your portfolio makes sense in 2020 and 2021.
Pokémon cards were introduced in 1996 as part of the franchises trading card game. Less than 25 years later, some of these first-edition Pokémon have appreciated in price at over 10,000 percent.
Alongside the limited supply and extremely high demand, there are plenty of reasons why Pokémon cards make for excellent investments.
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Holographic Shadowless Blastoise: $2475
Out of the three final-evolution Kanto starters, it’s Blastoise who has the least valuable Shadowless holographic card, reaching heights of $2475 on Pokemon Prices. We say “least valuable”, but that’s still a lot of money for just the one card, and its hardly far behind its sibling Venusaur.
That’s if Blastoise is still in mint condition, of course, which is a big ask considering these cards are over 20 years old. Carrying the powerful Water-type move Hydro Pump, this version of Blastoise was a pretty impressive card to carry in your deck back in the day, but at this point its still a solid collectible card.
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Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Mewtwo #10
Psychic cards were also fairly rare at the time, while Mewtwo is considered to be a legendary Pokémon-type. The holofoil looks like rays of power emanating from the genetic anomaly.
This time, the number of gem mint copies that appear on the PSA registry is 81. Its a tiny bit rarer and more expensive than any of the cards discussed above. That makes sense due to the sheer popularity.
Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Machamp #8
Heading back to before the turn of the millennium, the 1999 set contains yet another expensive card featuring one of the original 151 Pokémon.
The fighting-type Machamp is the third and final evolution, starting with Machop and Machoke.
As for Machamp, hes flexing two of his four arms in the image, surrounded by a holo swirl of energy.
There are just a handful of pristine shadowless first edition versions, which makes sense as it wasnt particularly sought after in the first place.
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Pokmon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9
Lugia appears on the box of Pokémon Silver, its remake Pokémon SoulSilver, and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, as a legendary god of the sea.
As with Blissey and Chansey, it has a white background, and silver foil surrounds the image.
Released as part of the 2000 Nintendo Neo Genesis set, a gem mint first-edition copy sold for $129,000 in 2020.
If you need an explanation for the price tag, its because there are only 42 gem mint copies, the Pokémon itself is exceptionally popular, and it was released a year after the original set.
Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Hitmonchan #7
Back to the 1999 base set, where were looking at one of the greatest fighting Pokémon ever.
A homage to the quick fists of Jackie Chan, this humanoid monster sports a pair of boxing gloves, and even throws a jab as a basic attack.
The rarest card weve seen so far, there are just 56 gem mint copies at the current time of writing.
This has translated to sky-high prices, even when compared to many of the other holos seen above.
In any case, its definitely deserving of a place on the list.
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Its Not Obvious If My Card Is A Fake
This might sound obvious, but an easy step you can take to verify the card is real is by checking that the card was an actual Pokémon card that was in print at some point. Yes, people do just make up fake cards with unofficial art and sell them online.
You can verify a card with a quick search. The official Pokémon Trading Card Game website has a card database, as does fan site Bulbapedia. Note: the official website doesnt include some special runs of cards, so be sure to look for your card on multiple card directories.
Misprinted Fossil Krabby: $2200
Yes, you read that right. Krabby is the star of one of the rarest Pokemon cards of all. By all accounts, this crab-based Water-type isn’t exactly a battling superstar. The fact that one version of its Pokemon card is so rare is a bit of a fluke, as its price comes down to a relatively simple misprint of the card.
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The difference between these multiple miscuts and a normal card is that part of a fossil symbol to the bottom-left of its art is missing. This seemingly minor difference has driven up the price of these cards immensely, and despite going for under two dollars in its normal state, Pokemon Prices has the card record of a misprint selling for over $2200 dollars.
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Tropical Mega Battle: $10000
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, an annual Pokemon Trading Card Game tournament was held in Honolulu, Hawaii. At this 1999 event, just 12 of these Tropical Mega Battle cards were produced to be distributed to some of the lucky 50 players who attended the event, meaning the remaining number of mint copies is especially low all these years later.
Showing a Psyduck having a nap in a hammock on a tropical island, this legendary Trainer Card sells for a whole lot of cash thanks to its rarity. In fact, according to the Telegraph, a mint-condition version of the card once sold for $10,000, making it a prime example of how valuable Pokemon TCG prize cards can eventually be.
Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Charizard #4
Never in doubt, the original holo Charizard was always going to take the top spot when looking at the most valuable first edition cards of all time.
The prices always seem to amaze people when I show them, with the record broken again in March 2021. This time, a PSA 10 copy sold for $399,750.
Pikachu might be the mascot for the franchise, but Charizard is the card that everyone seems to want.
Its also one of the most abundant cards youll find when looking at PSA 10 grades, with a pop of 122.
If any Pokémon card is going to break the $1m mark, this will probably be it.
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Southern Islands Reverse Holo Mew: $200
When the second Pokemon movie was released in Japan, the makers of the Trading Card Game decided to release a special edition set of cards to mark this occasion. The Southern Islands card series was born, featuring just two sets of nine cards apiece that were unique to any other set in the game.
Full sets of these cards can sell for a lot, but the absolute highest value is undoubtedly the Southern Islands Mew, which has a rare reverse foil treatment where the frame around the art is the only part thats shiny. Troll and Toad is currently selling copies for just over $200 right now, making it even more valuable than the elusive and stylish Ancient Mew mentioned earlier.
What If Im Looking To Buy Online And Cant Hold The Card In My Hand
As a rule of thumb, it is best practice to take a card out of a sleeve and examine it for yourself. As mentioned, a fake card will feel different to a genuine card. However, this isnt always an option, especially now during the pandemic and as Facebook groups have become a popular and convenient place to buy and sell.
There are a few tips in this case. First, ask for a photo of the card youre buying and examine it visually using all the aforementioned tips. Then, evaluate the credibility of the seller. If someone cant provide you with a unique photo of the card, thats a bad sign. Also look for previous reviews of the seller. For context, there arent any reported cases of mass Pokémon card fraud so you dont need to be overly anxious about buying a card. Just cover the basics and you will generally be fine.
Another great and reliable option if you buy online is to purchase the card from a registered business. Look up your closest card dealer and reviews of the store. A store will be more invested in customer satisfaction than a random person on the internet.
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