Pokemon TCG - Card Rarity Guide

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Pokemon Card Rarity Guide


The pokemon TCG is based of the highly successful video game series made by Nintendo.  The card series was originally produced by Wizards of the Sword Coast (MTG, EOJ, etc) but in July 2003 they lost the licence to publish the cards although production continues on the series under observation by Nintendo and Pokemon USA, Inc.

Card Types

The game is made up of several types of cards and several levels of rarity.  The rarer the card, the more valuable it is - this is usually due to the fact that they are the most powerful cards in the game, but also because people like to complete their set's of cards.  The card breakdown is as follows (from rarest to common):

  • Secret Cards

These cards are the rarest to obtain in most cases.  They appear after the official set numbers, usually something like 124/123.  Sometimes, they are the set's specials such as Crystal cards, etc.
  • Lv.X Cards

Very rare and powerful cards, obtained from the Diamond & Pearl sets.  If you have one of these cards they demand high values for sale as they are very desirable.  The cards have lv.X printed at the top and are holofoil.
  • Gold Star

Again, very rare cards, obtained from the EX sets.  The cards have a gold star printed at the top and are holofoil.
  • Crystal

Another very rare card, obtained from the E-Card sets.  They do not have any different text at the top, but have Crystal Type listed as their Poke-BODY and are holofoil.
  • Shining

Often linked with gold star in rarity, although there are more shining pokemon than gold star.  Obtained from the Neo sets.  The cards are titled Shining * and have 3 *** stars in the bottom right corner to show rarity.  Again they are holofoil.
  • ex

Quite rare, although due to the number of them available from the EX sets, not all retain their high value.  They have ex printed at the top of the card and are holofoil.
  • Reverse Holo Holo

Probably the most confusing of the rares are the reverse holo 'holo'.  In a lot of sets, you can get reverse holo cards of almost any of the set.  These are usually not worth much as they are just a 'shiny' version of a normal card.  However, if the reverse holo is of a holo card (read about holo card's below) then their value increases as these are very hard to find.  Some of these can become very valuable, so make sure you work out if your card is a reverse holo holo.  These usually are an invert of a holo card, varying from set to set.  The ex sets had gold writing for the name and had the logo inside the image.
  • Holo

All pokemon sets have holo cards.  They are the 'ultra-rare' level of card.  They usually have parts of the card in holofoil and are all rare star cards (usually a low number).  Do not mistake reverse holo standard rare cards for these, there is a difference.  At the end of this guide I will put some links so you can identify holo's in each set.
  • Reverse Holo

All pokemon sets have reverse holo cards.  They are your typical 'shiny' cards - the same version as the normal rare/uncommon/common cards but shiny.  Their value is not usually that much more than the normal version of the card - however this varies depending on which card it is and how popular they are.  Depending on their set they don't have to be shiny all over so be careful to watch that - the EX sets just had the image shiny with the set logo printed on the image.
  • Rare

All pokemon sets have rare cards.  They are the normal cards, denoted by a star in the bottom right corner to indicate rare.  Some can be valuable, depending how popular the card is or how useful it is in tournament play.
  • Uncommon

All pokemon sets have uncommon cards.  They are the normal cards, denoted by a diamond in the bottom right corner to indicate uncommon.  Some can be valuable, depending how popular the card is or how useful it is in tournament play - but on the whole they are best sold in sets.
  • Common

All pokemon sets have common cards.  They are the normal cards, denoted by a circle in the bottom right corner to indicate common.  Here at MechaCubic we have so many of these we are tripping over them!  Best sold in full sets or as we do here at MechaCubic - given away as freebies!
  • Notable Mention:  Promotional Cards, Tournament Cards, Etc.

There is a massive number of promo cards, tournament won cards and other novelty jumbo cards out there for pokemon.  To cover each of these promotional, usually giveaway cards for their rarity would take hours.  Some are worth thousands, others pennies - it depends which they are.  However, those who usually own these sort of cards know their value - so its near impossible to make your fortune hunting single rare cards worth millions :)
  • Further Information

Below are some great sites for the latest information on Pokemon TCG.  Be sure to check out MechaCubic's eBay shop and webstore for some great offers too!

On eBay:  MechaCubic eBay Shop
Search the Web:  PokeBeach
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