With the Pokemon TCG exploding in value in 2020, new collectors may be wondering how to make money off their cards. Here is everything you need to know.
Pokemon Trading Cards have never been hotter than they are right now. The hobby’s popularity has reached an all-time high in 2020, after celebrities like Logan Paul put a spotlight on it.
Items once traded away on playgrounds for nothing can now sell for as much as a house. We will go over some of the steps new collectors should be taking to try to make money off of this exploding market.
How to make money selling Pokemon cards
Before we start, we must get a couple things out of the way. First off, the real money-makers right now are from the 1999 original Base Set. If you don’t already have these cards tucked away from your childhood, getting your hands on these collectibles is next to impossible.
To put things into perspective, a booster box from that set can go for $34k (Unlimited) all the way up to $375k (1st Edition). The truth is, these items are not only in extremely short supply, but investors worth millions have been snatching them up.
This guide will cover selling cards for new collectors, as well as those that may already have cards but aren’t sure what they are worth. It’s important to keep expectations in check, and to understand that it takes a lot of work and research.
Collectors that already have cards
If you already own cards, you need to first figure out which items actually have any value. Once you sort out the ones that have potential, you need to send them off for grading. To put it bluntly, items have lower value until they have been looked over by a professional company.
- Step 1: Look at your cards, and put aside any holographics or rare items. Go to an auction site like eBay and enter the name of the card, as well as the number listed on the bottom right. For example “Charizard 107/105”
- Step 2: Once you see your exact card, tick off the “Sold Items” box. Now look through all the auctions of your card that have been sold in the last month to get a general idea of what the collectible is actually going for.
- Step 3: Now that you know which cards you own that have a high-selling potential, you need to send your cards off to either PSA or Beckett BGS grading companies to get them looked over.
- Step 4: Due to Pokemon’s popularity, wait times may be longer than usual. But once you get your cards sent back, you will have a more definitive idea what your card is worth. For instance if your card comes back as a PSA 9, repeat Step 2 and look for other PSA 9s that have sold recently.
- Step 5: Now you can either sit on your graded cards and wait as the prices continue to go up. Or you can sell the item on sites like eBay, trollandtoad, or even put them up at Heritage Auctions or Iconic.
If you are a new collector, it’s going to be difficult getting your hands on the extremely rare items, though it’s still not too late. Early sets like Fossil, Team Rocket, and Gym Heroes can still be bought up. Most of the focus is still on the 1999 Base release.
- Step 1: Use a resource like TCG analyst ZandGEmporium who tracks sales of vintage sets. Look for the cards that are currently selling high, or that show a consistent increase in value month after month.
- Step 2: If you plan on sitting on your cards as a long term investment, go to sites like eBay and look for ones graded by PSA or Beckett. You can either try to bid for these items and hope to pay for them at a lower value, or just bite the bullet and Buy It now – which is fine if you are sitting on them as appreciating assets.
- Step 3: If you are looking to sell quick, you can get your hands on these same rare cards for much cheaper if they are ungraded. But be aware, you are taking a gamble as you can’t fully verify the condition of the card. Make sure to look closely at the pictures of the item, and look the seller’s rating. You will also need to then send them in for grading at PSA or Beckett once they are sent to you.
- Step 4: Once you get your items back graded, either sit on the collectible or turn around and sell it on sites like eBay or auction houses – whichever route you prefer.
The best TCG sets to invest in
While this is subjective to some degree, we will go over what we feel are the best sets to buy cards from. This will also include modern releases, which may not have exploded in value yet, but are on the rise:
- 1999 Base Set Unlimited Print
- 1999 Fossil
- 2000 Team Rocket
- 2000 Gym Heroes
- 2000 Gym Challenge
- 2000 Neo Genesis
- 2000 Neo Discovery
- 2000 Neo Revelation
- 2000 Neo Destiny
- 2016 Evolutions
- 2017 Burning Shadows
- 2019 Hidden Fates
Due to the 1st Edition Base Set’s low population and astronomical prices, most collectors will move on to the next best thing – the Unlimited run. This is the version that most kids had growing up, and will probably have in their garage or attic.
Those looking to invest can look towards the 2016 Evolutions expansion. For its 20th anniversary, the Pokemon Company did a re-print run of many of the most popular Base Set cards, including Charizard. These items can still be bought fairly low, and prices are at the beginning of booming.
In terms of modern sets, Hidden Fates has been extremely hot since it released in 2019. The insanely rare Shiny Charizard is a great investment, and the collection features many popular Pokemon with their rare Shiny colors.