Mastering Pokémon TCG: A Starter Guide to Graded Pokemon Cards Investing

Investing in graded Pokémon cards? Learn about how Pokemon cards are graded, the differences between grading authorities, and whether Pokemon card grading is worth the cost.

Updated May 10, 2023

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Understanding the differences between Pokemon cards graded PSA 9 or PSA 10 is crucial in determining your card’s worth.

Graded Pokémon cards have captured the interest of collectors and investors, with their value often determined by their rarity and condition. As collectible trading cards used in the strategic Pokémon Trading Card Game, players engage in battles to claim Prize cards and ultimately achieve victory.

For investors considering graded Pokémon cards, understanding the game's mechanics and the rarity of specific cards can be crucial in making well-informed decisions, potentially leading to substantial returns. Let's dive into the fascinating world of Pokémon card grading and explore its potential as a unique investment opportunity.

What are Pokémon cards?

Pokemon cards are a pretty cool way for collectors and investors to dive into the world of Pokémon. They're used in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, where two players battle it out with their Pokémon to grab six Prize cards.

If you're thinking about investing in Pokémon cards, it's a good idea to get familiar with how the game works and which cards are rare. That way, you can make good choices and maybe even score some sweet returns.

Why collect PSA graded Pokemon cards?

  • Invest in Pokemon cards for the nostalgia factor
  • Complete sets to boost your deck’s value
  • Flip Pokemon cards for profit
  • Gain bragging rights by buying the rarest, most coveted Pokemon cards

Raw Pokemon cards vs graded Pokemon cards

When it comes to buying Pokémon cards, you've got two options: "Raw" or "Graded" cards. Raw cards haven't been graded yet, and while they might be cheaper, they risk being damaged or fake. On the other hand, graded Pokémon cards have been checked and given a condition score by reputable grading companies. 

They're usually safer to buy and can give you a better idea of the card's condition and worth, but they'll likely cost more because of the grading process. So, if you're going for raw cards, inspect them closely to avoid any potential problems.

Process for grading Pokemon cards

Graded Pokemon cards are evaluated on their physical condition, using a scale that spans from 'gem mint' or ‘pristine’ to 'poor.' Though various companies provide grading services, they’re commonly reserved for valuable and rare cards due to associated costs.

A card graded by a reputable company often fetches higher transaction prices, making it more appealing to collectors than those without proper grading.

Spot the fake card—if it's Rare Holo, every copy should shine—the left one is fake.

During grading, the card's collectible value or rarity isn't considered, meaning both common and rare cards can achieve high grades. Card grading is submitting a trading card to a professional authentication company to examine its authenticity, condition, and rarity, subsequently assigning it a numerical grade.

To fully grasp the concept and get the most out of card grading and trading, it's crucial to follow the main steps involved:

1. Educate yourself on graded Pokemon cards

Understanding the differences between Pokemon cards graded PSA 9 or PSA 10 is critical for determining your card’s worth. By researching the last sold prices of your cards in the grades you expect, you can estimate the potential profit if you choose to sell.

2. Know the big three grading companies

There are three big players in the Pokémon card grading industry: PSA, CGC, and Beckett. PSA is considered the most reputable, grading cards on a 1 to 10 scale and charging fees based on the card's value. CGC is known for its strict grading system and lower costs than PSA.

Beckett offers unique digital tracking services to monitor graded card values. Each company has distinct advantages, catering to different needs in the graded Pokémon card market.

PSA leads Pokémon card grading, with BGS right behind—both boost Pokemon card prices.

3. Focus on high-grade cards

To get the best value, purchase PSA-graded Pokemon cards with Mint or Gem Mint grades (9s and 10s). While some might argue Near Mint (PSA 8) cards hold value, they historically underperform compared to 9s and 10s. For a more valuable investment, keep an eye out for PSA 10s.

4. Get the most bang for your buck

To avoid paying high prices for PSA 10 cards, there are several options: pulling a card from a pack and immediately sleeve it, buying a raw card and sending it for a PSA grade, bidding on eBay for last-minute deals, or buying a PSA 10 and holding it for potential profits.

5. Maximize profits using the best trading platforms

You can sell your Pokemon cards on various digital marketplaces. For the best pricing, provide a highly detailed description in your listings. Be careful when choosing a platform, as not all sites are trustworthy. The best options include eBay, Troll and Toad, Cardmarket, Card Cavern, TCGplayer, and CGC Castle.

Pros & cons of Pokemon card investing

Investing in Pokemon cards can be profitable due to decreasing supply and increasing demand. They're easy to buy, sell, and store, and some cards have high potential returns. However, the market is susceptible to hype and marketing, costly appraisal, and cards are vulnerable to damage, theft, and loss. Also, note that the demand for rare collectibles can also be fleeting.

Pros and cons


The rarity of 1st Edition graded Pokmon cards is causing an increase in demand, and since supply is limited, sale prices are expected to rise in the short term.

Buying and selling Pokémon cards is straightforward, with no complicated brokers or surprises involved. It’s considered one of the simplest forms of property to trade compared to real estate or rare cars.

Buying sealed packs is considered the safest way to invest in Pokémon cards as it allows one to pull a rare card, especially if un-weighed blister packs are purchased.


Graded Pokemon cards only hold their value if they remain in 100% pristine condition. If a PSA 10 Charizard drops to PSA 9 while in your possession, it loses 80% of its value.

Getting a high grade of 9 or 10 for a card is difficult due to slight roughness or whiteness at the edges that can lead to a lower grade.

Investors should avoid making significant purchases during Pokémon card market hype cycles.

Are Pokemon cards worth it?

Investors love the Pokemon TCG market since it grew 500% from 2019 to 2020. But be careful of hype and fake cards. The safest bet is buying sealed packs. Diversifying your investments and thinking long-term will help make your money grow.

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