Tuesday, January 19, 2021

How to Tell What Pokemon Card You Have: Set, Number, Edition, & Foil

You have some Pokemon cards sitting around and you've heard they can be pretty valuable, but you don't know if your cards are rare or common or even how to tell what card you have. What is "reverse holo"? What is "first edition"? And what the heck is "shadowless"?

This guide will help you determine which Pokemon cards you have so you can look them up and know the value.

How to determine Pokemon card numbers?
Fast way to determine Pokemon card?
How to determine Pokemon card sets?
How to determine Pokemon card editions?
How to determine Pokemon card versions? (Base, Holo, Reverse Holo)

How to determine Pokemon card numbers?

The card number is written on all Pokemon cards. It isn't obvious though. Look in the bottom right or bottom left corner of the card. You will see two numbers.
Pokemon Card Number Example

The first number is the card number for this specific pokemon card. "36" in the example above.

The second number is the number of cards in that set. "114" in the above card.

So this card is number 36 out of 114.

Sometimes cards will have numbers higher than the maximum. These are called "Secret Rare" cards and they are some of the most valuable Pokemon cards.

Fast way to determine Pokemon card?

The number and name are usually unique. So with the card number method above and the name of the card, you can usually search for the card and find the exact one you have without worry about sets.

For example, Bergmite #36. Search for that card on PriceCharting and you'll find the card is for Steam Siege set.

Bergmite Search Example

You only need to determine the version - standard or reverse holo - to know the exact card you have.

You can use the search box below to find your cards with this method.

For cards that don't have unique name and number combinations you will need to look up the set using the steps below.

How to determine Pokemon card sets?

Several times a year, new Pokemon cards are released in different sets. Names like Vivid Voltage, Team Rocket, Sun & Moon, etc.

Each set has a unique logo printed on the card and a unique list of cards. To determine the set, you locate the logo on the card. It's right above the lower border of the card.

Below is an image showing the logo on a card.

Pokemon Set Symbol Example

Then look up the logo in a list of Pokemon set symbols.

The only set that does not have a logo is the Pokemon Base Set. It is the first set of Pokemon cards and the most valuable. If you don't see a logo on your card, that's a good thing.

How to determine Pokemon card editions?

Some early Pokemon card sets have "1st Editions" and regular editions. 1st Edition was the first printing of the card and there are fewer of them and they are worth more money. A 1st Edition Charizard could be worth $300,000 in top condition, while a standard Charizard is worth $6,500.

Look for a "1st Edition" logo on the card. The logo is usually near the corners of the Pokemon artwork.

See an example below.
Pokemon 1st Edition Symbol

The Pokemon Base Set has another "edition" that other sets don't have. It's called "Shadowless".

Some time after the first edition, Pokemon cards started being printed with drop shadows behind the artwork. But there was a period between first edition and drop shadows being added where there was no shadow. These cards are more rare than the standard versions with the shadow, but less rare than the 1st edition.

See examples belows of the shadowless and standard editions.
standard pokemon base set

shadowless pokemon base set

How to determine Pokemon card versions?
Base, Holo, Reverse Holo

Most Pokemon card sets have different versions of the cards. There are "Holo", "Standard", and "Reverse Holo".

Standard: There are no shiny parts on the card. When you tilt the front of the card light doesn't bounce off in different ways on different parts.

Holo (Foil): The Pokemon artwork is shiny. Parts of the artwork reflect light differently when turned at different angles.

Reverse Holo: The part outside the artwork is shiny. Parts of the background will reflect light differently at different angles.

Differences in holo or non-holo can be hard to differentiate in photos, but here are some examples below.

Holo Pokemon Card Example
Holo Pokemon Card Example

Non Holo Pokemon Card Example
Non Holo (Standard/Base) Card Example

Reverse Holo Card Example
Reverse Holo Card Example

Base Pokemon Card Example
Non-Holo (Standard/Base) Card Example

Now you know how to identify your Pokemon cards. Checkout PriceCharting's values to see how much your pokemon cards are worth.


Unknown said...

I can't thank you enough for this! Really useful. Awesome website

JJ said...

@unknown - Thank you for the kind words. Glad the site is useful for you.

Unknown said...

The value tracker seems to redirect to general collection tracker. Is Pokemon tracker free or some paid option?

Unknown said...

When it comes to shadowless how do energy and trainer cards differ from shadowed? with pokemon its more pronounced, but i havent been able to identify the other card types.

JJ said...

@unknown - Pokemon card collection tracker is part of the overall site's collection tracker. Most of the wording will say "video game" because that is our main focus, but Pokemon cards can be tracked in the same tool. And it is totally free, just like with games.

@unknown - I don't think shadowless trainer cards exist. We don't have them on our site. The 1st Edition trainer cards still have the "1st edition" logo, but there is no shadowless variant for trainers or energy.

Brandon Shay Schneider said...

This is awesome. I've used this app for my HUGE video game collection for a while now. It's helped me in general just learn about pricing and how it changes. I also have a HUGE Pokemon card collection. A lot of first editions as far as I know. I'm super excited to get an idea for what some of them are worth. Thanks for much for adding this feature.

Durante said...

Any chance you could add functionality for sealed product, like elite trainer boxes or booster boxes?

JJ said...

@durante - Yes, we should be able to add support for those. I don't have much expertise in them though. Would you be willing to add the correct ones to our database? If so, I'd be happy to give you steps for doing that and I'll do the backend work to track those prices/sales correctly.

luna702 said...

It's everything I needed to know! Thank you so much!

Megabyte2k4 said...

I LOVE this and all it does! Thank you so much for all that you have done with this site/app and for all of the backend work you do for it! That being said I have something of a request and/or a question. This may not be possible, but was wondering if you could post some images for the pokemon section on 'how to identify your cards' that explains 'secret rares'...? I know that you explained that they have numbers higher than the set's maximum, but I'm asking this because of my question/follow-up question: I have a card that actually has 2 different set numbers, so, as far as you know, if one of the numbers is higher than the set's maximum, is that what is considered a 'secret rares' (the second number that's higher than the set max is on the bottom LEFT of the card, instead of the right...)? Thanks again for doing all of this.

JJ said...

@megabyte2k4 - Can you email me a picture of that card you have? I need to take a look at it to know for sure what is. I can definitely add more info to the article for "secret rares". You can use 'contact us' link in the footer to find contact info for email.

Anonymous said...

What's the value for unopened foil packs for fossil and team rocket?

JJ said...

@anonymous - Each of those packs is worth about $100-120

Anonymous said...

I have ALOT of Pokémon Cards, Fossil, Base Set. All cards have been in a Trading Card Top load Holder since day 1 of opening packs. They all are new but have not been graded and by reading how PSA grades these cards Majority of them all are 10 mint GEMs. My problem is the cost to get graded by PSA. 200$ per card is what I'm seeing online. Is there a way for PSA to grade a bulk of my collection for a set price? What do you all recommend?

Drewz said...

If you’re looking to see if you have shadowless trainer/energy cards there IS a way to determine which is which because they DO exist! At the bottom of the cards where the copyright information is, non shadowless cards will list the years as “©︎1995, 96, 98 Nintendo, Creatures. GAMEFREAK, ©︎1999 Wizards.” Shadowless cards are different though, because for some reason they list the year 1999 twice, and it looks like this: “©︎1995, 96, 98, 99 Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK, ©︎1999 Wizards.” That’s the way to tell if your energy or trainer is shadowless.
There is also another rarity that not many people seem to be interested in reality or even know about, but there was a fourth print run off the base set cards which was done in the year 2000 instead of 1999, and so everything will look the same as the first group of copyright information I wrote down, except the last “1999” will actually look like this: “©︎1999-2000 Wizards.” These cards usually also have a lighter color to the overall cards and are a bit noticeable but to someone who doesn’t know, rather undetectable. They sometimes are also mistaken for shadowless cards because they are so much lighter, but they are not. Good luck hunting!!

kerri said...

I have 3 ancient mew holo from the movie,that have 95,96,98,99 they are Japanese print,could or would you be able to tell me what they are worth 1 is opened and 2 is not.

JJ said...

Is this the card you have? https://www.pricecharting.com/game/pokemon-promo/ancient-mew

If not, please include a link to the image of the card so we can see it.

Unknown said...

Yes, me and my girlfriend were digging thru old stuff in the attic and we came across between 30 and 45 mint condition Pokemon cards, some of them in the original wrappers, but slightly open... After reading your article bout how to figure which cards you have, if I understand correctly then if you have a card number say 61 of 88 without the symbols, stars, circles etc beside it then the card is possibly a original and kinda sorta valuable depending on the condition etc... All of these cards are like that.. Look https://photos.app.goo.gl/ddcACX9UUY3MQfWi6 and tell me what you think, I have allot more

Ben419Son said...

Theres 4 prints of the base set collection.. 1st print and shadowless also will show the years at the bottom of the cards as 95 96 98 99. 3rd print will show 1995 96 98. And on the far right at the bottom show 1999 wizzards.. then theres a 4th print that shows at the bottom right with the years 1999-2000 wizzards

Unknown said...

This sounds like a dumb question but what about if it's holographic but different kinda textured like and holographic?

JJ said...

@unknown - There should only be Holo, Reverse Holo, and Standard. Not every card has those versions though. Some were only released in Holo. Or there is only a Standard and Rev Holo.

If you can give a link to a photo of what you have I can better help. If it doesn't look quite like a holo, then it could be fake card.

Anonymous said...

When I scan the pokemon cards some of them show a different number like 23/178 when scanned it will say 23/200 why on newer cards

JJ said...

@anonymous -- You might have a card for a different set. You should make sure the set icon matches on your card and the card on our site. The number after the set and the set icon should match if the cards are the same.

Anonymous said...

I have a metal (looks gold in color) Charizard
V max card, it's not a burger King one it's 2020 Pokémon Nintendo Creatures/Game freak and tge card number is 074/073 which you stated makes it more valuable? Is this card a rare one or is it something special?

JJ said...

@anonymous - Unfortunately that gold Charizard card is a fake. The real ones have a sparkly rainbow background. https://www.pricecharting.com/game/pokemon-champion%27s-path/charizard-vmax-74

Anonymous said...

Hello I just want to ask what unopened Pokémon packs are worth the scanner did not match anything they have the charizard and veusaur on the front?

Anonymous said...

Looking for the best way to have a giant lot of cards graded. I have made a inventory on your website and looking at the grading prices, I am interested in seeing what that would cost for more than 300 cards?

JJ Hendricks said...

I think PSA and Beckett give discounts for bulk card submissions. You should look at their websites to find the best options and pricing.

Anonymous said...

What if a Pokemon card looks like a reverse AND regular holo. How would you know what it is? What would it be if the Pokemon (just the Pokemon not the background in the image) and the card is reflective? I couldn't really tell in the example photos. Could you help specify?

JJ Hendricks said...

@anonymous - Cards should be only Holo or Reverse Holo. Reverse Holo is when the card has a small box with the pokemon image and then move information below in a separate colored area (usually yellow). This yellow are with the moves will be Holo (or have a shiny background). Holo cards will have the shiny part where the Pokemon is drawn. Or the card is full art (no yellow background) and the entire card has a shiny background.

Anonymous said...

How do I find out about the gold cards? I have a deck, but they aren't recognized.

JJ Hendricks said...

@anonymous - Please let me know the card number and card name and I can look into it. All cards that are metal and gold in the background are fake cards. There are some real cards with gold highlight colors, but genuine pokemon cards are cardstock not metal.

Anonymous said...

What does a card with the word PRERELEASE printed on it mean? Thanks

Anonymous said...

@anonymous - "Prerelease" means the word "Prerelease" is printed on the card. It is usually in the box with the character artwork, in the lower right or lower left corners.

Anonymous said...

I wish I haded as much senses as the person that created the cards

Anonymous said...

How can you tell if Pokémon cards are fake? I found about 200+ cards in a box inside my attic and I am trying to learn about them.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know witch pokemon cards are fake look behind the card and look at the rim and
Get another card and place them next to each chother and if the card rim is whiter than the other
It's fake so make shour to check your cars for falls ones

Anonymous said...

I have a Greninja swsh144 black promo card from 2021 Nintendo creatures game freak how can I find what set this card is from?

JJ Hendricks said...

@anonymous - Does your card look like this?

You should search the site for the card number and it should show you the options. For this card there is only one of them.

Anonymous said...

i love everything about pokemon this website

Anonymous said...

Hola, tengo un Zweilous #114 con tres símbolos a la derecha del número 114/203 un infrecuente, una rareza (estrella) y el símbolo común.
Me pregunta es existen cartas así o se puede decir que es rareza secreta ?
También tengo 2 cartas de energía con el número de la carta más alto que el máximo.

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