For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

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

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, a first-year at the University of Stirling, told Save the Student 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 Pokemón 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, 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

pichu pokemon card

Credit: Jinx!- Flickr

So how did Cassandra get such a good price for her rare card? Here are her steps for turning your Pokémon 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 – 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.

How much are Pokémon cards worth?

ash and pikachu pokemon cartoon

Credit: Nintendo

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 and most valuable cards are ones won by competitors at official Pokémon competitions – the Trophy Pikachu Trainer Card is basically priceless and it's unlikely you'll stumble across one by chance. The Tropical Mega Battle Trainer card, given to winners at an official competition in Hawaii in 1999, has sold for $10,000!

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 (a full set is worth £6,500).

The 1999 first edition shadowless holographic Charizard sells for an average of £15,000+. These are crazy numbers, and 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 on 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.
  • First edition cards are good money makers – look out for a number one inside a circle.
  • The collector number is in the bottom right – a collector number which is higher than the number in the set overall, 65/64 for example, suggests the card is a special edition.

Valuable childhood toys

Furby eyes

Pokémon cards aren't the only thing you owned as a kid which could be worth hundreds, if not thousands, 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.

Take a look at these things you owned as a child which are worth money to see if you've got a treasure trove sat in the cupboard.

Before you start selling your valuables on eBay, take a look at our guide for sellers to make sure you're getting the best deal!


Ask us a question or share your thoughts!

Tweet @savethestudent - Facebook Message - Email