Pokemon Card Collecting

By Phil Broadbent

Originating in October 1996 Pokemon TCG (Trading Card Game) has been a popular market sector for a wide range of aged people. Whether it be Collecting, Playing, Trading or Selling, the Cards have provided many hours of fun.

This guide is aimed towards those of you who collect the cards, and will hopefully aid you to further expand your Pokémon Card Collection.

Below shows a table of contents so you can visit the appropriate section!


–          So What Cards Can I Buy?

–          Japanese Vs English

–          Where Can I Buy Cards From?

o        eBay!

o        Yahoo!

o        Japan Dedicated Websites!

–          Summary How Do I Store My Cards?

–          What Cards Do I Want?

–          Summary

So What Cards Can I Buy?

It is important to know as a collector what cards are available. The link provided below gives a history of the Japanese Trading Card sets.

Pokemon History

You can also visit bulbapedia on the following link, which has all the cards and information about them: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Main_Page

Japanese Vs English

I will start by informing about card differences. As you have most probably noticed, you can collect Japanese cards or English cards.

Important Tip!: One thing to set straight is that, despite popular belief, the English equivalent of a Japanese card might NOT be as rare. See the example below.

For example, the rare ‘Players’ set which includes the Eeveelution cards are extremely rare in comparison to their English equivalent. The 2 cards are shown below:

Flareon Gold Star Japanese
Flareon Gold Star Japanese

As you can see, these cards are identical except the language. And therefore one might presume they are of equal rarity, however, the Japanese version was awarded to those Japanese players who subscribed to the Pokémon Players Club and attended weekly tournaments in effort to gain experience points. The player had to earn 30,000 EXP points for this card, and given that winning a match only rewarded 30 EXP, this was no easy task. Hence the Japanese version is in fact a lot rarer.

Flareon Gold Star English
Flareon Gold Star English

Important Tip!: Another important thing to note is that some cards look almost identical; however, there could be a subtle difference which makes one so much rarer. See the example below.

An example of this is the very rare University Magikarp. This card was only available from a 2 day conference in Osaka in 1998, where participants had card battles, and only those top players that won battles on the second day were awarded this card. However, in 2001, a Pokémon card series entitled ‘Web’ saw the release of this card, with the ‘Web’ logo in the bottom left corner, making it the only difference. So, make sure you are certain which card you are buying to ensure you do not end up purchasing the wrong card, and having your bank account suffering.

Given that there are collectors all over the world, there are plenty of places on the Internet to search for those cards you’ve been after.

Where Can I Buy Cards From?


The most obvious is of course eBay. There are sellers on the web who specialise in selling the Trading Cards, for example, the following link shows a store which solely sells rare Pokémon cards.


Important Tip! : Make sure when you are searching on eBay, be sure to tick the ‘Worldwide’ checkbox on the left so that you get results from all of the eBay sites!

Dedicated Websites!

eBay sellers may also have their own website store, or of course there could be sellers who are not on eBay but do have their own website. These often sell a wider range of goods than advertised on eBay and hence are valuable sources for collectors! The following link provides you with such a site! http://www.pokevault.com/

Community Forums

There are many forums throughout the web where collectors can discuss, trade and sell cards, such as Pokémon Collectors on Live Journal. Most do provide a feedback service, and of course you could ask for the sellers eBay ID to check their feedback to ensure a painless transaction.

Yahoo! Japan

Unless you are in Japan, you cannot have a Y!J account. Therefore, there are several 3rd party websites which will bid on lots on Y!J for you. Remember though, there might be items on there cheaper than you can buy from the other locations, however you will pay a commission, and 2 lots of shipping costs to get the item, so in the long run it might not be worth it. However, it is still an option.

Important Tip! : Y!J is of course in Japanese, so you can use bulbapedia to find the Japanese name for the Pokemon, and make good use of Google translator, which can translate entire pages.

What Cards Do I Want?

Perhaps an obvious point, but it is a very good idea to keep track of what cards you currently have in your collection, to avoid buying the same one. Perhaps the best way to do this is to print lists out of cards that you want in your collection. For example, if your aim was to have all cards from a certain set, you might print this list out and cross off the cards you have.

Important Tip! : Don’t rush! You might see a lot that seems very cheap to you, but unless you have a good idea about the price of cards, it might be overpriced. It is therefore a good idea to track card prices! You could ask community forums, or search for similar posts.

How Do I Store My Cards?

Of course, how you store your cards is up to you. But the most popular is the two-sided nine slot pocket sleeves. It is a good idea to place the card within a single sleeve, and then place this within one of the 9 pockets, then into a hard back folder. Perhaps you could even frame your most prized cards and mount them.

As for how to arrange your cards – you could sort them by set, in number order. You could put cards of the same type, e.g. ‘Lv.X’ cards together, ‘Ex’ cards together etc. Or even in your favourite order!


Pokemon card collecting can be done by anyone, whether you can speak Japanese or not. There are several sites where you can collect, for example eBay, dedicated Pokemon card sites, community forums or even Yahoo! Japan.

It helps to print out lists to track the progress of your collection, to know which cards to look for and which ones you have.

It is unlikely that the card value will decrease as long as you keep it in mint condition, so storage is important. Make sure to put them in sleeves and then into a folder to protect them.


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