How To Grade Pokemon Cards (The Right Way)

How to grade Pokemon cards

Pokemon cards have always been a great field of interest for Pokemon fans all over the world, be it for playing the cards or investing. Pokemon cards have also become a gold mine for earning money. The value of a Pokemon card largely depends on the condition in which it is in. The aunthentic information of the condition of a Pokemon card can only be received through grading the card. Therefore, in this article, we’re going to talk about how to grade Pokemon cards.

How To Grade Pokemon Cards

Card grading is the process of evaluating the quality of your cards. First we’re going to know about the companies for grading Pokemon cards.

Companies For Grading Pokemon Cards

PSA claims to be one of the most reputable card grading companies in the world. Though the market share of PSA is more than any other grading company, there are some more famous and well known Pokemon card grading companies out there. One of those famous and respected grading company is BGS. BGS does not have that huge of a market share as PSA, but still is respected worldwide for it’s more detailed grading scale. Both the grading companies grade the Pokemon cards on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being poor and 10 being Gem/Mint. Though BGS has subgrades which helps it scrutinize the cards even more carefully.

SGC is also another card grading company which offers good service. However, SGC grades are slightly different from the previous two. SGC grades cards on a scale of 1-100. A lot of people are starting to choose SGC over the other two due to their considerably less waiting time.

Pokemon Card Grading Scale

Before you send your card to the grading services, you have to first evaluate yourself what the card condition might be. If your card gets graded lower than PSA 10 and BGS 9.5, there is a high chance of a loss while reselling your card. Again, card grading is somewhat expensive and time consuming. So, it is better to scrutinize the card first yourself.

There are 4 main parameters depending on which the card grades are provided.

  • Centering
  • Corners
  • Edges
  • Surface

If the condition of these 4 things are optimum, then you’re likely to get a good grade for your card.

The Price To Grade Cards

The price can be as little as £7.99 per card through graded Gem. But, express services cost £15.99 or £39.99 depending on how fast you want it graded.

How To Submit Pokemon Cards For Grading

For keeping your cards in optimum condition while sending them to get graded, you have to follow the following steps.

  • First, put your card in a penny sleeve.
  • For the easy pull out of the card, attach a post-it tag to the penny sleeve.
  • Then, put the sleeve in a semi rigid card holder.

The Time To Grade Cards

As we’ve learnt how to grade Pokemon cards, a question that is asked a lot is the time required for grading a card. This year the demand of Pokemon cards have been huge. So, the demand of grading Pokemon cards is a lot more than the supply. Currently, grading a card will take you 6-12 months. The wait time is usually a lot. So, try not to think about it too much.


1st Edition Pokemon Card from Shadowless And Unlimited

Pokemon cards have been highly popular after the inception of Pokemon TCG in 1999. There have been a lot variations among Pokemon cards in terms of their animation and design. This is how experienced Pokemon card collectors understand the prices of different cards. And they also understand which ones are vintage and which ones are more modern.

From the original run, there are three types of Pokemon cards. Among them, one is the 1st edition Pokemon cards which is coveted by a lot of card collectors. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to differentiate between 1st Edition Pokemon Cards from Shadowless and Unlimited. So without further ado let’s get into it.

1st Edition Pokemon Cards

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1st edition cards are the ones that were released on the first year of the inception of Pokemon TCG. These are the first run of cards for the release of those Pokemons. The general characteristic of the 1st edition cards is a neat little stamp on the bottom left of the photo of the Pokemon written first edition. These are also known as base sets. The purpose of the stamp is to separate these cards from the less popular ones. An important factor is that immediately after Pokemons inaugural 1999 release, there were some tweets made, which weren’t on any future releases. And that’s how the immergence of Shadowless and Unlimited occurred. So, these asthetic tweets are what made the 1999 cards super rare as learnt in the hobby, it typically translates to higher value.

These Charizard 1st edition Pokemon cards are sometimes even referred as the “ 1952 Mickey Mantle” of the TCG. Charizard is also termed as the king of Pokemon. 1st edition Charizards command a value of dollar twenty thousand and above. Moreover, the prices just seem to only increase. A first edition box will cost you around $50,000 and individual packs $800 a piece.

Shadowless Cards

The shadowless cards were released after the 1st edition cards. These were printed without the 1st edition stamp. These cards don’t have a drop shadow of the photo of the Pokemon just as the 1st edition ones. But, afterwards the design was changed and a few tweaks were made. Among them, one was the drop shadow. Shadowless Cards are the mirror images of the 1st edition ones except for the stamp. This is a photo of a shadowless Poliwrath next to a 1st edition.

Unlimited Cards

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The Unlimited Cards were released after the Shadowless and the 1st edition Cards. These cards do not have the base set stamps at the bottom of the Pokemon photo. Thus, they are deprived of the 1st edition status. These Unlimited cards come with shiny holographic features. These cards are, as the name suggests, less limited. And perhaps we all know that rarity and desirability of Pokemon cards go hand in hand. So, the more rare your card is, the more valuable it will be. So, sadly, as the Unlimited cards are more widely available, these are less expensive. A key differentiator of the Unlimited cards from the Shadowless and 1st edition is the drop shadow present in the Unlimited cards.


A Short Guide To Pokemon Cards

The emergence of the Pokemon Trading Card Games in 1996 leads to immense excitement amongst Pokémon fans from all over the world. People who grew up watching the Pokemon franchise immediately fell in love with the card game. But, if you don’t know a lot about Pokemon cards, here is a guide to the basics of Pokemon TCG.

Pokemon Trading Card Game

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The inception of Pokémon TCG happened in 1996 based on Satoshi Tijri’s Pokemon universe. In this game, every card is characterized by a fictional Pokemon character. Each Pokémon has its special powers, strengths, and abilities. This TCG aims to collect the Pokemon cards also known as throwing Poke balls and to win against opponent Pokemons by giving commands as a trainer.

You will create a deck of cards comprising of Pokemon cards, energy cards, and trainer cards. You’ll have to fight against the opponent trainer. Your goal is to knock out the opponent’s Pokemon by inflicting sufficient damage. If you can knock out a Pokémon, you get a prize card.

Basic Rules Of Pokemon Cards Game

In the traditional ways of playing Pokémon TCG, you have to flip a coin to see who makes the first move. But you can also choose based on – who won or lost in the last match, age, the first letter of your name. After that, you’ll shuffle your deck of Pokemon cards and draw out 7 cards.

Basic Pokemon

The first player will play a basic Pokemon on the field. There will be no attacking in the first round. The basic Pokemon played in the first round is known as the active Pokemon. This Pokémon is the one who will attack as is attacked. If you do not pick out any basic card, you’ll have to reshuffle your deck and draw a whole new set of cards. In that case, your opponent gets an extra card.

There is another term known as a ‘bench’ where you can keep five cards to rotate on the field throughout the game. You can upgrade your Pokemon after playing with them for long. These are known as evolved Pokemon. These evolved versions cannot be played directly to the bench. You’ll have to first lay the basic version of the card and on top of it will be the evolved version.

Performing Actions Of Pokemon Cards

Once the game has started, certain actions can be performed like-

  • At first start with a basic card.
  • You can replace the basic card or the Active Pokemon with another card.
  • Upgrade your Pokemons into evolved ones.
  • Use an energy card to boost an attack.
  • Play a trainer card to avail yourself of your opportunities in helping your Pokemons.

Energy Cards

Energy cards are basically to fuel up your Pokemon for it to attack effectively. Each attack of every Pokemon costs a certain amount of energy which is paid through energy cards.

Trainer Cards

Trainer Cards allow trainers to help out their Pokemons either by reviving them or by healing their damages.

Building Decks

You can have 2 kinds of decks.

  • Pre-constructed deck
  • Building your deck

Pre-constructed decks are obviously the easier and better way if you’re a beginner. Pre-constructed decks offer a good variety of Pokemon cards in your deck. But, if you build your deck, it will be unique and made accordingly to your preference with the right ratio of energy, trainer, and Pokemon cards. So, you will be able to play the game efficiently.

Pre-constructed Deck

Pre-constructed decks are a must-have for beginners. It contains the right number of energy cards, trainer cards, and active cards to get you started with the game. If you are looking for well-balanced decks but you can’t make one, then pre-constructed decks are the way to go. But, you have to remember that, these decks are easily available and can be purchased by anyone. So, your deck will be nothing from the ordinary. Some pre-constructed decks are made following the decks of world champions. Though you cannot play with the deck in any official tournament, it’s nice to play with your friends.

Building Your Own Deck

You can also build your own deck when you think you’re ready. Building your own deck has a number of advantages. You are the only one who knows your strategies and how you play. So, if you’re the one building your deck, it’s going to be just what you wanted and is going to help your gameplay. It’s also going to be unique. And it can also give you satisfaction for building it.

Therefore, I hope this article was helpful to you. Pokemon trading card game can be a little tricky at first. But, once you get a hang of it, it’s going to be pretty easy and fun. Just remember the steps mentioned earlier and you’re good to go. So, start collecting your Pokemon cards now, build your deck and get ready for your first tournament. We, hope you enjoy your play. And, lastly, you have to catch’em all.