Ok, I might have been a pro, but I used to kick 30 year old’s butts when I used to play in tournaments when I was 13. I also had some of the most expensive cards in my possession…..and sold them for pennies on the dollar during the lackluster years of Pokemon collecting.
But, ever since COVID19 smacked us, Pokemon like Pikachu, Charizard, and Mewtwo have become hot collectibles. With the right cards in good condition, you could net a small fortune from collectors and investors. But where exactly should you go to sell Pokemon cards and maximize profits?
This complete guide explores the wide range of options to sell Pokemon cards online and locally. We analyze the pros and cons of platforms like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, along with niche sites and apps. You’ll learn pricing fundamentals, listing best practices, shipping protection methods and more. Read on to discover the ideal sales channel for your cards.
Table of Contents
Key Takeaways: Where to Sell Pokemon Cards
- Iconic platforms like eBay and TCGplayer offer huge exposure but charge fees and require effort to stand out
- Local game stores pay cash immediately but often lowball offers. Private buyers may pay more but take longer to find
- Focus on condition, rarity and desirability when pricing cards. Check accurate price guides and sold listings
- Take high-quality photos, write detailed descriptions, ship securely and consider insurance to satisfy buyers
- Consider getting invaluable cards professionally graded before selling to maximize profits
- Know your tax obligations, trading card regulations and signs of potential scams to sell safely and legally online
Online Sales Platforms
Selling Pokemon cards through online marketplaces and dedicated trading card platforms taps into a huge network of engaged buyers. But with so many options now available, how do sellers choose? We break down the pros and cons of major online sales avenues.
Ebay Pokemon Card Listings
As one of the largest online marketplaces globally, eBay offers an unparalleled reach of millions of buyers hunting for cards. Listings also appear high in search engines, capturing buyers searching for specific rare or vintage Pokemon cards online.
- Massive existing user base increases exposure
- Allows auction format to enable bidding wars
- Integrated payment processing and seller protection
- Listing fees plus commissions on sales
- Must compete with many listings to stand out
- Chance of scams and chargebacks
Facebook Marketplace Pokemon Cards
Tap into local collector communities by listing cards for sale in dedicated Pokemon buy/sell groups on Facebook. You may also list to a wider audience on Facebook Marketplace. Sales remain “off platform”, allowing you to avoid fees.
- Very strong niche communities full of engaged buyers
- No listing fees or commissions (users handle payment)
- Can preview buyers through profiles
- Less structured format makes listings inconsistent
- Users must vet buyers more carefully
- No integrated buyer protection
TCGplayer Pokemon Card Marketplace
TCGplayer focuses specifically on trading cards, from Pokemon and Magic to Yu-Gi-Oh. The marketplace offers buyers assurance by working directly with many sellers. This builds trust and confidence during transactions.
- Lower fees compared to wider marketplaces
- Draws targeted Pokemon card buyer base
- Clear seller ratings enable easy vetting
- Much lower site traffic than eBay/Amazon
- Interface not as slick or intuitive
- Smaller seller pool means fewer rare finds
Alternative Online Pokemon Card Selling Platforms
Niche sites like Troll and Toad offer buylists and consignments, purchasing your cards directly or selling on your behalf. This saves effort but reduces potential profit.
Meanwhile dedicated mobile apps like CardCash and CardBear strive to make buying and selling cards slick and streamlined. Their audiences remain limited so far, lowering exposure.
Local In-Person Sales
Selling Pokemon cards locally avoids the risks and effort of shipping while putting cash in your hands quickly. But finding interested buyers is tougher, and you may not secure optimal prices. Here’s how the main local sales avenues compare:
Local Game Store Pokemon Card Buyback
Specialist gaming and hobby stores often purchase used Pokemon cards or offer store credit. Simply walk in with your cards and make a deal. But beware lowball offers – they need to profit from reselling your cards later.
- Immediate payment, usually cash
- Avoid eBay fees and shipping costs/risk
- Typically only 30-50% of market value
- Very limited customer base to shop your collection
In-Person Pokemon Card Trading
Attending local Pokemon meetups, tournaments and conventions puts you face-to-face with engaged collectors. You can showcase your collection, assess interest and negotiate mutually beneficial trades.
- Good prices through direct peer-to-peer deals
- Build relationships with fellow collectors
- Cards remain in collector community
- Must find and travel to events
- Very time and effort intensive
- Risk of getting scammed in-person
Determining Card Values
Realizing top dollar for your Pokemon cards depends greatly on accurately evaluating their current market value and pricing them competitively. Follow these best practices:
Check Pokemon Card Price Guide Listings
Resources like the TCGplayer price guide compile value estimates for individual cards based on real sales data. They capture important factors like rarity, condition and demand. Cross-check your cards against price guide values to estimate their worth.
Review eBay Pokemon Card Sold Listings
Complement guide prices by examining final eBay sold listings for your specific cards. Recent auction sale prices show real-world value. Look for sales of cards matching yours in terms of key characteristics like edition, condition, certification status and language.
Factor in Card Rarity
A 1999 1st edition Charizard holo sells for over $700 because very few exist compared to its unlimited Base Set successor. Understand if your cards come from limited print runs, are misprinted/miscut or have unique qualities boosting desirability.
Assess Card Condition
Heavily played cards with scratches, bends and fraying fetch a fraction of near-mint condition cards. Carefully inspect for flaws and price accordingly. For cards worth $50+, consider professional grading from PSA, CGC or Beckett to verify condition.
Consider Current Pokemon Investing Trends
Speculation around perceived value growth also impacts prices. Iconic early cards like Base Set holos now sell for astronomical prices due to nostalgia and presumed collectibility. Understand if your cards are targets of investor hype inflating their current resale value.
Listing and Shipping Best Practices
Once you’ve identified ideal sales avenues and set asking prices, executing technically sound listings and safely packing cards protects your profits.
Write Detailed Card Descriptions
For online sales, articulate descriptions attract more interest while clarifying card details to avoid buyer disputes. Include:
- Card name, series name and card number
- Key identifiers like 1st edition or shadowless
- An accurate visual condition assessment
- Highlighting of errors, misprints or damage
Take Quality Photos
Capture each card’s face and backs at multiple angles under bright, white light. Showcase holographics at different tilts. Close-ups enable inspecting condition details, boosting buyer confidence.
Package Cards Securely
A single scuff or bend destroys resale value of mint cards. Use:
- Card sleeves and toploaders for protection
- Stiff cardboard backing prevents bending
- Bubble mailers or boxes minimize shocks
- Stuffing loosely into envelopes
- Insufficient tape or padding during packing
- Overly tight rubber bands warping cards
Consider Shipping Insurance
Cards worth $50+ warrant shipping insurance and tracking to protect against postal mishaps or dishonest buyers.
Extra shipping fees often return as peace of mind knowing your sales are secured. Some sales platforms offer integrated shipment protection programs as well.
Should You Get Cards Professionally Graded?
For ultra rare or valuable cards worth $250+, having a respected professional grading company like PSA or CGC assess authenticity and condition before selling bolsters buyer confidence while unlocking increased prices.
Grading Maximizes Resale Value
A PSA 10 grade, 1st ed Holo Charizard recently sold for over $420,000! Even lower grades fetch five figures. The objective certification and encapsulation compels buyers to pay exponential premiums.
Deters Fakers and Scams
Respected grading firms utilize meticulous techniques and expert staff to catch counterfeits missed by the untrained eye. This deters fakes while verifying legitimacy and conditions claims during subsequent sales.
Signals Investor-Level Quality
Collectors or nostalgic fans will pay decent money for playable cards. But investors seek elite, investment-grade cards. Getting a high Beckett, PSA or CGC score signals institutional-level quality to this premium buyer pool.
The downside of professional grading includes increased costs (fees plus shipping insurance) and very long lead times currently to get cards assessed and entered into circulation. But for your super rare finds like 1st edition shining Charizards or competitive trophies, it’s well worth the effort and wait.
Is Selling Pokemon Cards Legal and Taxable?
As Pokemon card sales become increasingly lucrative, legal and tax considerations arise for diligent sellers.
Know Your Local Trading Card Regulations
Check state or municipal rules around buying/selling trading cards locally, online or via mail. Some restrict minors from transactions without parental consent, for example.
Remember Sales Tax Obligations
In many jurisdictions, total annual sales above a threshold means you must charge appropriate local sales tax on transactions. Research what limits apply and how to correctly collect and remit owed taxes.
Declare Profits at Tax Time
Depending on volume sold, declaring Pokemon card sales as taxable income may be required federally as self-employment income or a hobby. Again, understand minimums so tax filings stay compliant.
Spot Fakes and Counterfeits
As iconic cards like 1st edition Base Set Charizards now sell for six figures, increasingly sophisticated fakes enter circulation. Learn common warning signs of reprints and counterfeits before buying or selling.
Wrapping up Where to Sell Your Pokemon Cards
As we’ve explored, Pokemon cards can be highly lucrative collectibles when sold wisely. Key factors like condition, rarity, and market demand determine values that can reach into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Sellers should research prices thoroughly using reputable pricing guides and recent comp sales. Listing cards properly on platforms like eBay, Facebook groups, and TCGplayer taps demand from engaged collectors worldwide. Local sales to hobby shops or enthusiasts avoid fees and shipping risks, but sacrifice exposure and often value compared to online buyers.
No matter where you sell, safe shipping, honest descriptions, scam avoidance, and tax compliance protect your profits and reputation.
With Generation 1 Pokemon maintaining immense collector appeal, now is the optimal time to capitalize on the valuable cards in your collection – just be sure to follow our tips to maximize returns on these nostalgic, appreciating assets.