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Are your Old Pokemon Cards worth anything?

November 7, 2023

The first Pokemon Cards that were printed in 1999 are now considered Old Pokemon Cards, or Vintage Cards by fans of the series. And some of these old Pokemon Cards are now worth thousands and thousands of dollars in the right condition.

Pokemon Cards first came out in 1999 with the Pokemon TCG Base Set and over 25 years later, Pokemon is still going strong. They have printed hundreds of millions of cards since the TCG game first made it's debut and they've just launched their latest series of cards called Scarlet & Violet.

In 2020 there was a huge spike in popularity in Pokemon Cards, causing the older Pokemon Cards to skyrocket in value. One of the most popular cards, the base set Charizard first edition, sold for over $200,000 USD!

Old Pokemon Cards

Nest Ball

Nest Ball


So how can you tell if you have some of these Old Pokemon Cards that might be worth some decent money?

The first step in the process is to identify the set the Pokemon Cards came from. The Pokemon TCG releases cards in "sets" and each set usually contains 100-200 cards with different rarities.

During 1999-2000, Pokemon released the following sets:

These five sets are what most older Pokemon fans will recognise as they were released during the intial Pokemon Hype. They contain the generation I Pokemon from Pokemon Red and Blue games for the Gameboy.

If you have any of these cards, your cards still might not be worth much. Pokemon printed millions of these cards during that era as demand was so high.

However, many of the cards that were printed back then were also not kept in pristine condition; many of these cards were handled and played with, causing tiny surface scratches, bent edges and other types of damage to the card that would devalue it.

The next step is to figure out the condition of the card. You can either sell them as Raw or Graded.

Raw Pokemon Cards

Base Set Starters

Selling your cards as Raw usually means that the card's condition is not known. The buyer has to take the card at face value, usually from images that the seller presents. Buying cards like this is more of a risk; you never know whether the pictures show the true reality.

Selling your cards as raw is a lot easier. You simply take the highest quality pictures possible and list them on a marketplace like eBay.

Graded Pokemon Cards

PSA Graded

Graded Pokemon Cards help give collectors a guarantee of the condition of a Pokemon Card. Cards are usually graded 1-10, with 10 being pristine condtion and the highest qualtity possible.

There are also several different grading companies, with PSA and Beckett being some of the most popular.

Getting your cards graded however costs money and time. You have to send your cards off to these companies for review, where they use special tools to scan the card to make sure they contain no micro-scratches, the centering of the card is perfect and a whole load of other grading points.

The good news is that selling Graded Pokemon Cards usually hold a bigger premium than their raw counterparts.

Vintage Pokemon Card Sets

Vintage Pokemon Cards often refers to cards that were printed in the early years of the Pokemon TCG. However, as the series gets older and older, more and more sets start to become rarer and rarer and are slowly slipping into that Vintage era.

Even if the Pokemon cards you own didn't come from the first generation of Pokemon TCG sets, you may still have some that are worth a pretty penny.

You can take a look at our Pokemon TCG Database to see an estimated value of each card.

After the initial hype of the Pokemon franchise, it did enter a lull phase where interest in the series dropped off. This also meant that not many people were buying Pokemon TCG cards and some of these sets also became extremely rare and valuable today.

Here are a list of sets we'd consider "Vintage" today:



  • Neo Genesis
  • Neo Discovery
  • Neo Revelation
  • Neo Destiny


  • Expedition Base Set
  • Aquapolis
  • Skyridge

There are also lots of promo Pokemon cards released during this era that are also considered vintage and rare.

The Rarest Pokemon Cards

When it comes to the "rarest" and most valuable cards in the Pokemon TCG franchise, many would consider the Pokemon 1st Edition cards.

Poke Ball

Poke Ball


Many of the older Pokemon TCG sets had different print editions that resulted in special 1st Edition stamps being printed on the cards. These first edition prints are some of the rarest in the world and are well worth looking out for in your collections.

The following sets had first edition print runs:

  • Base Set
  • Fossil Set
  • Jungle Set
  • Teamp Rocket Set
  • Gym Heroes
  • Gym Challenge
  • Neo Genesis
  • Neo Discovery
  • Neo Revelation
  • Neo Destiny

You can also find a "shadowless base set" edition for the first Pokemon set that is considered very rare.

For more information, check out our Pokemon TCG Collectors Guide.

Content within this article contains copyrighted material of Nintendo. We are not affiliated with Nintendo or Pokemon in any way.


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Aleph - Editor In Chief

Aleph is the main writer and programmer of DigitalTQ. His aim is to provide quality gaming guides, articles and news from the video game industry. We've been playing games since the 90s and are always on the lookout for new gems to play.


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