How Much Are Pokémon Cards Worth?
The first set of Pokémon cards hit Japan in October 1996, sparking a new collectible obsession. Though the trading card game wouldn’t keep grabbing headlines and spurring school-wide bans forever, it continued as a favorite among enthusiasts for the next two decades. Then something began in 2020 that got fans around the world pulling out their old collections and wondering, “How much are Pokémon cards worth?”
While a steady stream of new cards arrived in the intervening years, nothing about the game itself changed much — it was still about translating the strategic battles and nigh-endless collecting elements of the video games to a trading card format. Yet sales of Pokémon cards on eBay were 60% higher in September 2020 than they were in January of that year. Rapper Logic spent $220,000 on a top-graded first edition Charizard card, and YouTuber Logan Paul dropped $300,000 on his collection.
These high-profile purchases helped drive awareness and demand for the cards, especially among old fans who were rediscovering the hobby with their now adult-sized pocketbooks. On the flip side, the exploding market means lapsed collectors may be sitting on fortunes. If you’re one of the many people digging out those old shoe boxes and binders full of Pokémon cards and hoping for gold, here’s how to get started finding out your Pokémon card collection value.
Subscribe to get our best content in your inbox
By clicking “Submit” you agree to Dibbs
consent to Dibbs using your contact data for newsletter purposes.
How Much Are My Pokémon Cards Worth?
Many former collectors are asking themselves “How much are my Pokémon cards worth?”, but if you know much of anything about collectibles, you already know the answer will vary substantially from one card to the next. Anything from the physical condition of the card, to the prominence of the character it depicts, to minor details such as misprints could mean the difference between a card going for a few dollars or a few hundred thousand.
As of this writing, the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold was a Japanese promotional Illustrator Pikachu card. Only 39 copies of the card were produced in 1998 and were given away to the winners of a drawing contest. A near-mint specimen (more on that terminology in the next section) sold for $900,000 at auction in February 2022.
Unless you were a Pokémon fan artist in Japan in 1998, you probably don’t have an Illustrator Pikachu. But if you liked big, tough, and dragon-esque (yet not officially Dragon type, ask a hardcore fan about it sometime) Pokémon, you might have a Charizard. The fearsome Pokémon has been turned into dozens of different cards over the years, but a pristine 1999 Charizard took the record for most expensive of its kind when it sold for $420,000 in March 2022.
All that said, most Pokémon cards are of interest solely to people who are trying to build decks to play with, or to hardcore collectors. That limited interest is reflected in their lower market value. For example, PSA’s price guide lists holographic Dark Alakazam cards in virtually perfect condition as commanding $500. Drop its quality level down to just “near mint” and the expected value withers to $40. Realistically, you should expect even the most valuable cards in your collection to fall closer to that range — unless you were giving each one the white-glove, acid-free sleeve, zero-sunlight treatment as a young collector.
While we’re on the subject, let’s get into what those condition grades mean for how to value Pokémon cards.
How to Value Pokémon Cards Worth?
As you start to determine potential prices for your Pokémon cards, you can follow many of the same practices behind valuing baseball cards. How rare or sought-after a card is only accounts for half the equation. The other half is its condition, which is expressed in familiar terms such as “mint” and “fair.” When done by grading firms such as PSA and Beckett, the grades fall on a 10-point scale: 1 is extremely poor condition and 10 is virtually perfect condition, with ideal assessments for even minute considerations such as how centered the print is on the card.
The catch is that having a card professionally graded is expensive, and since card collecting overall has boomed in the last few years, it’s common for graders to have extensive backlogs. You may end up waiting months to get back a card only to find it’s worth less than what you paid to have it graded. Still, as Jesus Rivera’s 2003 Pokémon Skyridge #146 Charizard Holo PSA 10 proved when it dropped on Dibbs back in January, high grades can make all the difference for in-demand cards. Selling on Dibbs’ fractional market helped Jesus get the most possible return on his card, and it also meant more collectors than ever before now have a chance to own a piece of it.
Your best bet is to take a pragmatic approach. Go through your collection one by one, realistically assess each card’s condition, then consult a price guide to get an estimate of how much it may fetch on the market. Then, if the numbers work out based on your estimate — keeping in mind that professional graders are paid to be very unforgiving — you can send any standout cards in for official grading. However, if you’re in a hurry to turn your cards into cash, you could always consider selling in bulk.
How to Find a Pokémon Card Collection to Value
The world’s most expensive Pokémon card collection value stands at over $10 million and it belongs to Gary Haase, also known as “King Pokémon.” The Las Vegas-based collector has been snapping up the cards since 1998 and has become a celebrity among the Pokémon card collector set — in part because of his massive collection of cards, and in part because he rarely sells any of them.
Whether you’re like Haase and don’t intend to sell your collection anytime soon, or if you want to turn them into profit ASAP, you have a few ways to find your Pokémon card collection value.
You could follow the steps we laid out in the last section for each card you have and add up their individual estimates. Or you could break the cards down into lots based on which release sets they belong to, then check eBay to see how much similar listings have sold for. Finally, you could visit your local hobby shop to see if they could give you a quote in person. The latter two options will likely result in a smaller estimated value than pricing all your cards out individually, but it will be quite a bit faster.