This post is a follow up to What's inside?
Here’s the next set of cards in my collection:
I don’t have any fun or interesting stories about the cards on this page, aside from noting that my Pidgeot is another like Venusaur and Blastoise- my original one was stolen and I had to purchase this one individually years later. I’m pretty sure my original one was holographic. Oh, well...
Since I don’t have anything to say specifically about these cards, I’ll just talk about Pokemon cards in general.
First of all, what makes a card rare or valuable? You can find more in-depth analysis on this topic elsewhere, but when I was growing up the consensus between me and my friends was that a card was rare or valuable if it met any of the following criteria:
Holographic cards were top tier for me and my friends. A holographic card was always preferable to a non-holographic card in our eyes. These were also the most obviously valuable cards to anyone looking at them because they were shiny.
True gems! These were among the first set of printed cards. Out of my whole collection, I only have 3 or 4 that are marked as 1st edition. My wife has about 10 or so in her binder.
2 quick notes on 1st editions:
- I believe a 1st edition card with a gray stamp is even more valuable than the regular black stamp 1st edition
- There is one card in the set that is more valuable as a NON 1st edition: Machamp. For whatever reason, EVERYONE has a holographic 1st edition Machamp. I don’t know if it was a printing error or what, but non 1st edition Machamps are actually more rare than the 1st edition versions that everyone seems to have.
The mythical shadowless cards! I only have 1 of these in my collection, and I didn't actually learn about them until after the Pokemon craze had died down. Most cards have a drop shadow around the border of the image surrounding the artwork, but shadowless cards do not. I don’t know the reason behind that, but I know that makes them rare. I think the colors on shadowless cards are often faded and washed out as well, so it’s entirely possible I had these as a kid and threw them out because I’d assumed they were damaged from sitting out in the sun too long.
I don’t think I have any misprints, mostly because I would have thrown them out as a kid. When you’re 10 years old and you see a misspelling on a card, you pretty much always favor the card that is printed correctly. At that time, misprinted cards weren't seen as unique collector's items (to us dumb kids, anyway): they were low quality garbage. Now I know that those cards would be a bit more valuable and also fun to have in a collection!
Some other random tidbits:
Red cheeks Pikachu
Most of the standard fat Pikachu cards were printed with yellow cheeks. At some point, Wizards of the Coast began printing Pikachus with red cheeks, but for some reason they only did a brief print run of that before going back to the yellow cheeks. That makes red cheek Pikachu cards much rarer! You’ll notice my Pikachu has yellow cheeks as normal.
Most of my cards are from the Base Set. You can tell because they don’t have any special markings. But if you look in the lower right corner just beneath the Pokemon artwork, you’ll see that some cards have symbols: one looks like a Vileplume head (Jungle), some have a skeleton hand (Fossil), some have a "2" with a Pokeball (Base Set 2), some have a badge or award icon (Legendary), and some have an R (Rocket) or a Black Star (Promos). There are other sets, but I’m not familiar with them.
That wraps up today’s post. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not a “serious” collector, but I kept all 151 cards from when I was a kid. Most of my “knowledge” on the subject is from the perspective of a grown up thinking back to what he heard when he was 10 years old. If anything I’ve written here is factually incorrect, please leave a comment and help me correct it!
Do you have any fun facts to share about card sets, shadowless or rare cards, or misprints? Leave a comment and share a photo of your own Pokemon cards!