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
Standard


shadowless pokemon base set
Shadowless


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.


15 comments :

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

Sorey 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!!

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