Do bent cards decrease value?

Do bent cards decrease value?

When it comes to valuing a Pokémon card, the condition is the most important factor. So when you bust out your childhood collection, you’re probably checking the cards over closely, looking for scuffs, scratches, and whitening. However, one of the biggest fears for any trading card collector is to find a valuable card with a bend in it. But do bends really decrease the value of a Pokémon card?

When a Pokémon card is bent, the value will be diminished based on the severity of the bend. A bend is different from a crease which will significantly hurt the value, and also different from warping which will not affect grading.

How does a bend in a card affect value?

It depends on the type of bend, the severity, and the location.

Sometimes a bend won’t hurt the value of your card by much. A very small or very slight bend that goes unnoticed in normal lighting is the best-case scenario. This type of bend can only be seen if the card is being inspected under the proper lighting and held at a particular angle. In this case, the value of the card isn’t going to be affected much, and some buyers may not even care. However, if you are selling a card with a very slight bend in it, you should disclose this information to the buyer and probably offer a small discount if they ask.

On the same note, purchasing a card with a slight bend should warrant some sort of a discount, so always ask.

Below is an image of a Charizard VMAX card. There is a very slight bend in one of the corners. As you can see, the bend is virtually undetectable when light is not shone on it. Furthermore, due to the nature of the holographic and etched face of the card, the bend is not detectable.

fix bent pokemon cards
A crease under a light (left) the same crease in the shade (center) and the face of the card (right)

A more severe bend is something to worry about. When a card is very bent, it will create a crease, and this will severely hurt the value of the card.

The corners of cards are typically where a bend will occur, but sometimes a card gets bent elsewhere. If the card has a bend in it on a point of interest, such as the main illustration of the card, the value is going to be lower than if the bend was elsewhere. This is because the visual aspect of the card is compromised. 

Bent card tournament legality

If you play the Pokémon TCG, you may already be playing competitively. 

Meeting for card night at your local hobby shop can be a great way to expand your knowledge of the hobby and meet new friends with shared interests. Often, local tournaments are held in these locations. 

A bent card may be ok here, but if you want to get serious and move up to the more competitive scene, it might be time to worry about your bent card.

If the bend in a card is severe enough that it stands out from the other cards in a deck, it is not tournament legal. The player should not be able to identify the card from any other before it is drawn.

Quite often, sleeving the card can help with this but it won’t remedy the issue if the bend is severe.

Does PSA care about bent cards?

Unfortunately, PSA does take bends into account when grading Pokémon cards.

However, it again depends on the severity of the bend. As long as the bend isn’t a crease, you won’t get dinged too hard on the grade. 

If your card is warped, or the whole card has a curve to it, this will not affect the grading. This is because the card will be encased in a slab once it’s graded, and the curvature of the card will not be detected. Also, warping or curving of Pokémon cards can be fixed without damaging the card.

Can you fix bent cards?

Unfortunately, fixing a bent card is not usually possible. 

If the bend is very minor, it can be bent back by hand, but will never be straight again or undetectable by a professional. If the bend is severe or has become a crease, there is no way of fixing it.

Bend vs. crease vs. warping

It’s important to outline the differences in the severity of damage when it comes to bending of cards.

Bends

A bend is simply when the card is bent to a point of damage, where there is a noticeable curve to a portion of the card. This can be most easily detected when held under a light.

Creases

A crease is when the card has been bent to the point of visible damage, where the result will be a visible wrinkle or many wrinkles on the card’s surface. Sometimes the surface may be broken.

bend pokemon card value
A severe crease.

Warping

When a card absorbs moisture from humid air, the paper layers of the card stock will expand. The aluminum layer, however, does not. This results in the card warping. This will result in the curvature of the card. This is not a bend nor a crease, does not affect grading, and can be fixed.

A card that has warped due to moisture absorption.

 

Buying Pokémon cards with a bend

Be very careful when purchasing a card that you suspect could be bent. A bend or even a crease can be hidden in the proper lighting.

A crease under a light (left) the EXACT SAME crease without lighting (right)

Final thoughts

Finding a bend on your card sucks. It is often more of a risk to try to fix a bend than to sell it as is. Yes, most of the time a bend will hurt the value of a card, but there are some cases where it will be almost undetectable and many collectors won’t mind.