Ah, the 90s. The decade that gave us The Simpsons, Saved by the Bell, and Pearl Jam also gave us Pokémon! Almost 25 years after the first set came out, selling Pokémon trading cards has become big business. And in 2022, YouTuber Logan Paul purchased a rare Pikachu card for $5.275 million!
Maybe you're finally ready to part with your mint condition Charizard — lovingly stored in a protective case, of course — to make some extra money. Or maybe you’ve never owned a Pokémon card but want to get in on the collectibles trading craze.
Read on to learn the four steps you need to know to cash in on beloved Pikachu and friends.
4 Steps to Make Money Selling Pokémon Cards in 2023
Step 1: Determine the Value
Pokémon cards sell for a wide range of prices from $1 to more than $600,000. As with most collectibles, rare cards usually sell for more, especially if they are in excellent condition.
To figure out what your cards are worth, you can watch Youtube videos to understand features that make a card in high demand, and also search trading sites that list specific market values. But first, it helps to learn about the following elements:
Monsters: The Pokémon world has over 1,000 “pocket monsters” — the translation of the word Pokémon — and cards with certain monsters will sell for more than others. For example, fans look for cards with Charizard, Blastoise, and certain editions of Pikachu.
Symbols: Shapes on the bottom right or left of the card indicate how rare it is. Cards with circles are common, diamonds are uncommon, and stars are rare.
Artwork: The illustrations on the card have special features that contribute to its value. Shiny cards are either holographic or reverse holographic. Collectors often pay more for reverse “holos.”
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Step 2: Learn to Look for Details
Whether you’re talking about baseball or Pokémon, figuring out how to make money on trading cards can get overwhelming fast if you let it. When you first get started, you may want to stick to inexpensive but tried and true cards that hold their value rather than investing thousands up front.
Once you’re ready to take on a little more risk for the chance to make a lot more money, you’ll need to know how to look for the smallest of details to spot good investments. Your research and experience over time can make a big difference in your profit.
Shadowless first-edition cards will have different values than those with shadow boxes around the art. Limited edition cards will sell for more than unlimited, and super rare cards may bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Step 3: Obtain a PSA Grade
An organization called Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) provides a service that many sellers find valuable. For a fee, PSA will verify the authenticity of your card and give it a grade on a ten-point scale with 1 being poor and 10 being gem mint condition.
PSA also encapsulates the card in a sealed case and assigns it a certification number. For hobbyists and collectors, this levels up your item and may help you make more money.
Pro tip: Experts say the PSA grade is worth the money for cards valued around $100 or more. Less than that and the cost of their services may cut too deeply into your profit.
Step 4: Decide Where to Sell
Once you’ve researched what your card or pack’s value might be, you’ll need to decide where to sell. You can list cards online on Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, or on one of several specialty trading card sites like TCG Player or Cardmarket.
You can also sell in person at pawn shops, although traders often report making more money through online sales. You can tap into a global market and reach diehard fans who better understand your card’s value.
Even More Ways to Make Extra Money
Selling Pokémon cards can be a fun way to monetize your hobby, but the reality is that there are better side hustles out there if you’re looking for a flexible way to make extra money. Here are some of our top picks for 2023:
Bookkeeping: For anyone who is good with numbers, bookkeepers don’t need to have a degree in accounting or a bookkeeping certification, and they can make around $50/hour helping small and online business owners keep better financial records. Learn more in Virtual Bookkeeping: What It Is & How to Get Started.
Proofreading: For grammar-loving perfectionists, proofreaders make anywhere from $20 to $40/hour and can work from the comfort of their own home. Learn more in Make Money Proofreading.
Digital Marketing: Facebook and Instagram are still two of the best platforms for small business owners to reach new clients and grow their markett share. Learn more in How to Become a Digital Marketer in 2023.
Food Delivery: Delivering for a service like DoorDash is an incredibly flexible way to make money on the side. Learn more in Best Food Delivery Service to Work for in 2023.
Final Word on How to Sell Pokémon Cards
Even if you’re new to the collectibles world, selling Pokémon cards doesn’t have to be intimidating. It only takes a few hours of reading and researching to begin getting a feel for what’s available to buy and what cards will sell.
As you dive into the world of Pokémon, you’ll find a whole community to guide you and many free resources to help you learn how to sell smart.
No. If you don’t already have a collection of cards collecting dust in your garage, you can start building your inventory through eBay or other trading sites. Many cards sell for around $20.
Yes. As with almost any collectibles category, the authenticity of Pokémon cards matters. Protect yourself by doing your homework — there are plenty of free articles, videos, and podcasts that teach you how to spot a fake. Only buying cards that are PSA certified can help you manage the risks.
In short, no. Several factors have kept Pokémon’s popularity alive and strong since the late 90s. The company behind the brand keeps producing new content, from anime to video games to new cards and packs. Success stories of investors who have made millions in this market also keep the trading game interesting to everyone from hobbyists to expert collectors.