10 Beginner Tips for Collecting Pokemon Cards

10 Beginner Tips for Collecting Pokemon Cards

The Pokemon Trading Card Game is among some of the most popular card-collecting games in the world, with collectors spending millions of dollars on some of the top-tier cards. 

Recently, the prices of many of the popular cards in the TCG have noted a sharp increase, and with the release of the new Scarlet & Violet set just around the corner, many new players might feel enticed to dedicate some of their funds to Pokémon card collection. 

If you’re one of these people that want to break into the Pokemon TCG, we might just have some beginner tips that will help you along the way. 

1. Know What You’re Looking For

If you’re looking to start out as a collector, it’s very important that you know what type of cards you’re looking for. This matters a lot because different sets have different values, cards that are rare and sought-after will obviously generate a more fruitful return on investment compared to random ones. 

In this regard, many people prefer collecting something specific such as the highly-acclaimed 1st Edition Base Set or maybe a Jungle set. Whereas, others might want to collect all editions of a particular card such as Pikachu.

mew

Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Complete a vintage master set such as Base Set, Team Rocket, or EX Holon Phantoms
  • Collect smaller niche collections like Prism cards, Amazing rares, or Radiant cards
  • Display all the booster packs from one era of the TCG
  • Collect gold cards
  • Collect rainbow cards
  • Create displays of your favorite Pokémon throughout the years

Ultimately, this depends on your own preference and what you’re expecting to get out of the market. 

2. Do Your Research

The importance of first-hand research cannot be denied in any realm of human endeavor, especially if it involves money. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take some time out to learn about different card rarities, available sets, and prices. 

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This set symbol represents the Pokémon GO set. The rarity symbol indicates this card is uncommon.

Actually, this very site is great for beginners who want to learn about collecting. Check out the Pokémon blog for more. 

Having knowledge about the TCG will enable you to make informed decisions, allowing you to invest your funds more cautiously. Try playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online to learn about the cards. Sometimes cards will rise in price, not due to rarity, but because they were so influential in the card game.

3. Keep Track of Pokémon Card Market Prices

Building on the previous point, market research is extremely important. You should be fully aware of the current market prices of the cards you’re looking for. This will allow you to decide whether you want to hold on to a card, buy another one, or maybe just wait for the next best deal.

Some of the best Pokémon card databases can be found on sites like TCG Player, Pokemon Prices, or Card Mavin. Other than these, you can check out sellers like ‘Troll and Toad’ and ‘Game Time TCG’ on Amazon, with a huge library of cards you can directly buy from. 

Amazing Rare Invest
Amazing rare Rayquaza prices since release

But the best spot to find prices is eBay. Check eBay sold listings to see exactly what people are paying for your specific card. If you pay close enough attention, you can make money selling Pokémon cards. It’s easy to buy booster packs but your luck will only take you so far. With some keen interest and practice, you can sometimes scoop up great deals on eBay auctions and flip the cards for multiple small profits. 

4. Keep Grading in Mind

One of the most important aspects that determine the value of your card is its grade. A grade essentially represents the condition of the card, so higher grades will get better prices. Having your card graded by a grading service encapsulates it, preserving the condition and also authenticates the card, making future sales a piece of cake. As of today, the three most-used card-grading organizations are PSA, CGC, and Beckett (BGS). 

PSA graded card

If you’re in Canada, we have a complete guide on getting your cards graded.

Getting your card graded by any of these companies will increase its value, provided that it’s in good condition. You should really consider getting your cards graded if you happen to sit upon a rare piece you might’ve acquired back in school. 

5. Take Care of Your Pokémon Cards

You might’ve gotten an idea about the importance of card preservation by now, as well-preserved cards can stay in peak condition for a considerably long period of time. Hence, if you want your cards to appreciate in value, you need to take good care of them. 

Top Deck Top Loader Binder

We love properly storing and protecting cards here and have written many guides on the subject. Pokémon Card Storage Guide, How To Protect Pokémon Cards.

The best method to preserve your rare cards is to get them graded, and they’ll be returned to you in a hard case that should be stored in a cool place. Moreover, always have penny sleeves and top loaders around you whenever you open a new pack and avoid using gloves. 

6. Participate in Pokémon TCG Events

Engaging with fellow collectors and players can add a lot of value to your card-collecting experience, and there’s no better place to meet fellow players than TCG events. 

Moreover, certain rare cards, called prerelease cards, are only available during these events, so it’s important that you keep track of them. You can use the event locator tool to find upcoming tournaments near you from the official Pokemon site. 

7. Keep Track of What You Have

Many beginners take this point very lightly but it might just be the most important one yet. In order to properly utilize and build your collection, you need to keep track of all your cards. 

pokemon cards storage

Keep a well-maintained spreadsheet with your entire collection in it, along with card prices and additional details. This will enable you to track the progress of your collection and help you make better decisions. 

Alternatively, you can download apps that can help track your cards easily. 

8. Avoid Counterfeit Cards

Since the TCG kept on getting more and more traction and the cards kept on appreciating in value, a large number of fake cards have started circulating unfortunately. You need to be aware of these at all times and try to avoid them by always choosing trusted sellers for all your card-related transactions. 

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How To Spot Fake Pokémon Cards

In addition to this, there are a number of tests and experiments that can be used to distinguish genuine and fake cards. Experiments such as the ‘Rip’ and ‘Light’ tests are popular methods to check for counterfeit cards. Moreover, always check the packaging of sealed cards for the official trademark symbols. Yes, that’s right, there are fake booster packs, too.

Leave the card if there are differences in art details at the back of the card or if the surface is damaged in some way. Additionally, proofread the card for even the slightest spelling mistakes as that’s a solid giveaway that it’s a fake. 

9. Always Seek Expert Advice

It should go without saying that you always need to be in contact with other collectors and TCG experts for any queries you might have or for general advice. Online forums such as Reddit and The PokeMasters Forums are excellent places for connecting with experienced personnel and getting your questions answered. 

In addition to this, be friendly with your local card shops, if you have any. The people who open local card stores are often long-tie players of multiple TCGs and are rich with experience and knowledge. 

10. Follow Your Heart   

In the end, it all boils down to how you feel about the whole Trading/Collecting experience. Down the line, you might feel like you’re not just in it for the money but for the nostalgic value as well. In this case, don’t mind holding on to some of your cards, you’ll always get the chance to trade them later on.

Enjoy the experience to the fullest and don’t get too carried away with the whole thing.

Oliver Copeland
Oliver Copeland

Hi, I'm the founder of Sleeve No Card Behind. I hope you enjoyed your read and learned something. Learn more about me on the About page.

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