WONDERING WHAT YOUR POKÉMON, YU-GI-OH! OR MAGIC: THE GATHERING CARDS ARE WORTH? THIS HANDY RESOURCE CAN HELP SOLVE THE MYSTERY
By Jesus Garcia
In recent years, Trading Card Game (TCG) cards have multiplied in value several times. But how do you determine what cards are valuable? While most cards are common, a select few are highly sought after and can fetch multiple six figures. Below, we break down five key factors to consider when collecting TCGs.
There are numerous TCGs, but not all include valuable cards worth six figures. The top three games are Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Magic: The Gathering’s popularity is due to its large player base and because it was the first TCG to be released. Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! have large player bases as well and come with highly successful media franchises that include anime, video games and toys.
A card’s popularity is the second thing to look for. Characters like Charizard are arguably the most popular in the Pokémon franchise. Cards with these characters have a record of selling for more than other cards in sets, as they’re more desirable to collectors. The most popular card in Yu-Gi-Oh! is the 1st Edition LOB Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
A card can have multiple edition releases; the norm is that 1st Edition copies are more valuable. If a card is not a 1st Edition, that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable; it simply means it is not as valuable. There are several cards that are Unlimited Edition that sell for five figures.
The condition of a card is one of the most critical factors in determining its value. An example of this is the 1st Edition Base Set Charizard. If the card is graded PSA GEM MINT 10, it is worth $200,000-plus; if it’s graded PSA MINT 9, it is worth $18,000-plus. The condition is determined by four factors: centering, surface, corners and edges. Even the smallest imperfection can drop a card from a GEM MINT 10 to a NEAR MINT-MINT 8.
The topic of rarity can be broken down into two sections:
- The rarity of the card: Even if a card is from the correct franchise, has the correct character, is a 1stEdition copy and is in perfect condition, it does not mean it will sell for a large amount. The number of copies printed is a key factor in determining the rarity. Some cards were printed in extremely limited quantities that are valuable no matter the condition because they’re so rare.
- The rarity of the condition: Some cards might not be the rarest, but copies in grades like GEM MINT 10 are limited. Some collectors want to build their favorite set in GEM MINT 10 condition and are willing to pay more for cards with a low population in GEM MINT 10 condition.
The Trading Card Game collectible market is growing fast, and numerous treasures can be found in people’s childhood collections. If you have a binder or box of cards from your childhood, I recommend pulling them out and contacting me or anyone from our Trading Card Games staff for a free auction evaluation.
Heritage’s next Trading Card Games Signature® Auction takes place February 16-17.
JESUS GARCIA is Consignment Director of Trading Card Games at Heritage Auctions. He can be reached at 214.409.1827 or JesusG@HA.com.