Launched on Gameboy and Nintendo 3DS in 996, Pokémon video games have been the foundation of the Pokémon franchise to include Pokémon anime, manga, trading cards, and figures. Half a billion games have been sold since then over eight generations, being core series games in which players choose one of three Pokémon to start their journey with, and spin-off games where players can choose from a range of options how to obtain and make use of Pokémon.
Pokemon Cards and Gambling
Whilst some Pokemon games have changed due to new gambling rules in 2007, the trading of Pokemon cards does not fall under the definition of gambling. Even if you find the most expensive Pokémon card in your latest pack of trading cards, this is not considered a gamble, you are simply adding to your collection. Despite this, the probability is that when buying a pack of cards, the value of single cards when added together will be more than the cost of the pack.
Condition is Everything
Back in the 1990s, trading Pokemon cards were simply a fun hobby for kids, none of us could have guessed how popular and how valuable they would be a couple of decades later. Today, those kids that looked after the cards in a binder to protect them from damage, may have made a good investment. Condition is everything, but the grading is complicated and can make a huge difference to the value. Therefore, an appraisal is recommended for cards recognized as valuable whatever their condition.
Grading Pokémon Cards is through professional grading companies that assess the card’s authenticity and condition, based on several factors. Once the card is graded is put in a protective case that also displays the grade as proof of its official grade.
Cards are graded individually, so having a collection officially graded is prohibitively expensive. This means that only damaged or popular cards that are valuable even in Grade One condition are worth getting graded. Grades of 9 or 10 are rare, but a grade of 5 (excellent) and above is good, with the highest grades being near mint, mint, and gem mint condition.
The main checks on Pokemon cards are for scratches, the condition of the edges and the corners, and checking that the border is centered. Graders look at a card with a magnifying lamp so can see tiny scratches impossible to see with the naked eye. Corners and edges should be flat and sharp for the highest ratings. Cards should be evenly centered and have the proper borders.