You Could Have a Childhood Toy Worth $55,000 — Here’s How

Were you born in the 1990s? You might be sitting on a fortune!

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Photo by Kreeson Naraidoo on Unsplash

Wait, Pokémon cards have a value?

Yes! Believe it or not, the cards that you once collected as a child (but had no idea how to play) actually have a value, and can be incredibly high if your cards fit a certain criteria. This criteria features the condition of the card, the printing, the grade of the card, and the symbols that the card may or may not have.

Nostalgia, anyone?
These are the three most famous Pokémon from the original 151, making these cards worth a lot of money. These cards are the Chinese version, but will still sell for a high price.

If I have one of these cards, how much is it worth?

There have been a lot of stories posted online where people have gone back to their parent’s house, and found incredibly rare Pokémon cards in binders that haven’t been touched in years. There are also stories of parents throwing away old Pokémon cards that turned out to be worth a lot of money — if you are tidying up your house, make sure you know what you are throwing away!

What is this ‘grading’ that you keep mentioning?

Collectors often send their cards off to a company to be valued (graded) by a professional, which allows a card to be given a rating that is consistent with all other graded cards on the market. The most popular grading company is known as PSA — Professional Sports Authenticator*— who started off grading baseball cards, and branched out into grading any card that is sent to them.

While this Charizard card is a lot newer than the base-set Charizard that is worth tens of thousands of dollars; this card is also incredibly difficult to pull, making a PSA 10 worth a lot of money.

Other signs of rarity

According to YouTuber Randolph Pokemon, the base set of Pokémon cards saw a number of printing runs that caused some minor changes to the cards. The first printing run saw a ‘first edition’ logo on the card, as well as a lack of a shadow behind the golden frame of the card’s main image. When Wizards of the Coast started their second run of printing, they took away the ‘first edition’ logo, but forgot to add the shadow back onto the card. They quickly fixed this issue and placed the shadow around the border again, but it was too late — there were a lot of cards without the ‘first edition’ logo that didn’t have the shadow, and soon became the rare ‘Shadowless’ cards.

I have a rare card! What do I do now?

Okay, so you’ve just found a Charizard card that you found when you were younger. The first thing to do is pick up some plastic sleeves to keep the card in. These can be purchased from Amazon*, or from dedicated Pokémon card websites, such as Randolph Pokemon’s Pokerand.net* and will ensure the card is kept safe. You can also pick up harder, plastic sleeves to ensure maximum security for the card. Check the dark blue border on the back and the yellow border on the front to make sure the card is centred correctly. Cards that don’t have good centring will have borders that are bigger on one side than its opposite. Make sure you do this with the card in the sleeve, you want to avoid touching the actual card during this process.

Base-set Charizard (left) is the card that will make the most money. This card is from the third printing run, which doesn’t have the first-edition logo, but has the shadows to the right of the image.
Charizard has been a fan-favourite since day one. All Charizard cards will be worth a lot in the future!

Final thoughts

Most people never would have thought that a small piece of card from the 1990s would become so valuable in 20 years time; but those who kept their cards in good condition as an investment will definitely benefit from this now!

Joe McCormick is a 19 year old Formula One enthusiast and aspiring journalist; writing articles about F1, technology and business on Medium and DriveTribe.

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