How To Tell If A Pokemon Card Is Rare?

tl;dr: Check the bottom right corner of the card for a rarity symbol (circle: common, diamond: uncommon, star: rare, star H: holographic rare).

tl;dr: How to tell if a Pokemon card is rare

If you’re a Pokemon card collector or enthusiast, you may find yourself wondering how to tell if a Pokemon card is rare or not. In this article, we will explore various factors that can help you identify the rarity of a Pokemon card.

From card rarity symbols to edition and set, card condition, popularity and demand, and authenticity and grading, we will cover everything you need to know to become an expert in identifying rare Pokemon cards.

Card rarity symbols

Card rarity symbols

Pokemon cards feature different symbols that indicate their rarity. Understanding these symbols is crucial in determining the rarity of a card. Here are the most common card rarity symbols:

Common cards

Common cards are the most basic and easily obtainable cards. They usually have no rarity symbol or a black circle symbol.

Uncommon cards

Uncommon cards are slightly harder to find than common cards. They are denoted by a black diamond symbol.

Rare cards

Rare cards are more valuable and sought after by collectors. They are marked with a black star symbol.

Holofoil cards

Holofoil cards have a shiny, holographic appearance and are highly desirable among collectors. They can be common, uncommon, or rare, but their holographic design sets them apart.

Ultra Rare cards

Ultra Rare cards are the rarest and most valuable cards in the Pokemon TCG. They often feature unique artwork, special effects, or rare Pokemon. Ultra Rare cards can be identified by symbols such as a gold star, a black star with a “GX” or “EX” label, or a rainbow-colored “Secret Rare” symbol.

Edition and set

Edition and set

The edition and set of a Pokemon card can also affect its rarity and value. Here are some important factors to consider:

First edition cards

First edition cards are the initial printings of a particular set. They are typically more valuable than later editions due to their limited availability. Look for the “First Edition” stamp on the card to identify these rare gems.

Shadowless cards

Shadowless cards are another highly sought-after rarity. These cards lack the shadow border found on most Pokemon cards. They were only produced during the first print run of the Base Set, making them rare and valuable.

Base set cards

Base set cards refer to the original Pokemon TCG set released in 1999. These cards are often considered more valuable due to their historical significance and nostalgic appeal.

Card condition

Card condition

The condition of a Pokemon card plays a significant role in determining its value. When assessing card condition, consider the following factors:


A well-centered card is more desirable than one that is off-center. Check if the borders on all sides of the card are even.

Edges and corners

Inspect the edges and corners of the card for any signs of wear, dings, or fraying. Cards with sharp edges and crisp corners are generally more valuable.

Surface scratches and wear

Look for any surface scratches, scuffs, or fading on the card. Mint condition cards with minimal wear are highly sought after.

Creases and bends

Creases and bends significantly decrease a card’s value. Avoid cards with visible creases or bends, as they are considered less desirable.

Popularity and demand

how to tell if a Pokemon card is rare

Certain Pokemon cards gain popularity and high demand due to various factors. Here are a few examples:

Promotional cards

Promotional cards, often given away at events or as part of special promotions, can become rare and valuable over time. Keep an eye out for these limited edition cards.

Special edition cards

Special edition cards, such as anniversary sets or commemorative releases, are often highly sought after by collectors. These cards may feature unique artwork or special effects.

Charizard cards

Charizard, one of the most iconic Pokemon, has several rare and valuable cards. Charizard cards tend to be highly sought after by collectors, driving up their value.

Authenticity and grading

Authenticity and grading

To ensure you have a genuine rare Pokemon card, consider the following:

Counterfeit cards

Unfortunately, counterfeit Pokemon cards exist in the market. Be cautious when purchasing cards from unofficial sources and learn to spot signs of counterfeit cards, such as poor print quality or incorrect symbols.

Professional grading services

To determine the exact condition and authenticity of a rare Pokemon card, consider sending it to a professional grading service. These services assess the card’s condition, assign it a grade, and seal it in a protective case, adding value and authenticity to your card.



Identifying rare Pokemon cards requires a combination of knowledge about card rarity symbols, edition and set, card condition, popularity and demand, and authenticity and grading. By understanding these factors, you can confidently determine the rarity and value of any Pokemon card you come across. Happy collecting!


  • How do I find out what my Pokémon cards are worth?

    It may come as absolutely no surprise to you that the first place I recommend to check the value of your cards is our very own TCGplayer marketplace. TCGplayer gives you a wide range of search options, including ways to list cards based on their popularity, their current market value, or just alphabetically.

  • What are the symbols on Pokémon cards?


    – Circle Symbol – Common.
    – Diamond Symbol – Uncommon.
    – Star Symbol – Rare.

  • What color Pokémon cards are rare?

    Uncommon Cards – If a card’s rarity symbol is a black or white diamond, it’s an Uncommon. Like common cards, these are pretty easy to find. Rare Cards – If a Pokémon card’s rarity symbol is a black or white star, it’s at least a Rare. These are less common, usually only one or two in a booster pack.

Originally posted 2023-05-11 05:59:07.

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