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Make Money

Student sells £15 Pokémon card collection for £150

Got a stash of Pokémon cards collecting dust in the attic? As one student proves, they could be worth ten times the amount you paid for them if you play your cards right (pardon the pun)...

pikachu toy and stack of pokemon cards

Credit (right): Minh Hoang - Flickr

Remember those Pokémon cards you obsessively collected as a kid? Turns out they could be worth a fairly hefty sum now, as student Cassandra Grützner found out when she stumbled across a rare Pokémon trading card at a garage sale.

She went on to sell her lucky haul for 10 times what it cost her and used the money to buy plane tickets.

Cassandra, who was a first-year at the University of Stirling at the time, told us she came across the sale by accident and decided to use some of her Maintenance Loan to make the purchase.

£15 of mine went into a box of old Pokémon cards [...] mostly for nostalgic reasons. Turns out a near mint, holographic base set Charizard card was included.

While she never expected to make so much money from her find, Cassandra is a long-time Pokémon fan and knew the cards could have some value.

Seeing as I still play a lot of Nintendo games and buy them online, I was pretty aware that some merchandise could sell for quite a high price to collectors.

After a bit of nifty Googling to check the value, she went on to sell the rare card on eBay for £150 within days. That's a pretty impressive profit!

Not only did she turn her £15 into 10 times as much, but Cassandra used the extra cash to buy chocolate, books, two tickets to Germany "and … well, a Pokémon game". Not a bad haul!

Did you know that you can also make money playing Pokémon Go?

How to get the best price for Pokémon cards

How did Cassandra get such a good price for her rare card? Here are her steps for turning your Pokémon cards into profit:

  1. She first Googled the cards to find the exact year they were released, as well as their rarity and how to describe their status. Cards can be ranked from Mint to Poor – it's best to check out forums for an idea.
  2. She then checked eBay's sold listings to get a rough idea of what to expect for each card.
  3. If anyone is looking for a specific card on forums, they may be willing to pay a little more if you have it. But, in the end, Cassandra listed the Charizard card at a fixed price on eBay and sold it in a couple of days.
  4. She sold the less valuable ones together, labelled as a "bunch of old Pokémon cards", and got a few pounds more than they were worth individually.

Where to sell Pokémon cards in the UK?

There are quite a few different places you can sell your Pokémon cards, but here are the best options:

How much are Pokémon cards worth?

pokemon card

Credit: Jinx!- Flickr

The holographic Charizard card might have been the one we all fought over in the school playground, but there are much rarer Pokémon cards out there than that.

The rarest cards are ones won by competitors at official Pokémon competitions. The 1997 Trophy Pikachu Trainer Card is basically priceless and it's unlikely you'll stumble across one by chance. There are only four in circulation – in 2020, one sold for nearly £60,000 in an auction in Japan.

However, other rare cards you might more realistically come across include EX cards where the artwork stretches across the whole card rather than just the box (worth around £30) or first edition holofoils (cards can be worth a few hundred depending on the condition).

The 1999 first edition shadowless holographic Charizard sells for a few thousand pounds. These are crazy numbers, and it's well worth doing a bit of research if you do have a stack of old cards (although don't get your hopes up – these cards really are incredibly rare).

There are loads of guides and forums out there with more information on which cards are worth the most money, so do some digging.

How can you tell if your Pokémon cards are rare?

There are loads of weird and quirky features to watch out for as they could mean your card is rare and worth some serious cash.

One quick way of checking is using a site like Card Mavin – simply input the card number and get an immediate estimate of its value.

If you don't have time to do that for each individual card in your stash, here are some key things to look out for:

  • Each card will have a rarity symbol in the bottom right corner. Circles and diamonds are common, but a star, star H or three stars mean the card is extra rare.
  • Holographic cards tend to be worth more, or 'reverse holo' cards (ones that are shiny around the picture, but not on the picture itself).
  • Cards with errors weirdly are the rarest and most valuable. Look out for 'shadowless' cards – cards where the shadow around the picture box is missing.
  • Look out for extra symbols or words after the card name – things like 'ex', a star or 'LEGEND' tend to mean the card is more valuable.
  • The value of a first edition Pokémon card is usually quite high – look for the number one inside a circle.
  • The collector number is in the bottom right – a collector number that is higher than the number in the set overall, 65/64 for example, suggests the card is a special edition.

How much are your childhood toys worth?

Pokémon cards aren't the only things you owned as a kid that could be worth a lot of money these days.

Polly Pockets, Furbies, Super Soakers and Harry Potter books, among others, have all been known to fetch some decent value on eBay if you have a rare set. Our guide to childhood toys that are worth money can be a great starting point!

Before you start going through your valuables, take a look at our tips for selling on eBay to make sure you're getting the best deal.

Ruth Bushi


Ruth Bushi is a freelance journalist who has written for major publications such as the Guardian, the Independent and the Big Issue. Her contributions to Save the Student cover student news, Student Finance, money-making tips and more.
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