1. The Grading Company
PSA is the king of Pokémon card grading with BGS a close 2nd. Both companies command top $ for their graded cards and have proven that grades do matter in the Pokémon realm, with a BGS 9.5 1st Edition Charizard selling for nearly $73,000.00 in July.
2. Supply of the card (Population reports)
Pokémon cards have low populations compared to sports cards. The number of graded cards can be the biggest indicator of value, but some cards, such as Pikachu or Charizard, have insane demand regardless of populations. Supply is outmatched by current demand, and after two decades since these cards were produced, that won’t change. Check the PSA 1999 Pokémon Game Population report to get more info on how limited the Base set cards are.
3. Buying Raw vs. Graded
Thanks to modern technology, getting clear photos of cards is easier than ever. That said, until you hold a card, you don’t know how clean it really is. Graded cards are the safest indicator that you’re getting what you want. When buying graded cards, think of the price paid for the grading and that there is no wait time besides shipping. There is much less risk buying graded cards, but raw (loose cards) can be the best bet to make profits faster. You never know what you can find in a binder someone is selling, but be careful and do your best to inspect those cards.
4. Surface, corners, edges, creases & centering
In the process of card grading, the most important aspects are the surface, corners, edges and how well the card is centered front and back. For Pokémon cards, are there any scratches on the holofoil? Do you see whitening on the edges? Are the corners nicked? Grading is subjective with individuals determining what a card is valued at, based on its condition.
5. Your negotiation tactics
How you negotiate will go a long way in collecting and flipping. Knowing market value, monitoring auctions, and making offers when possible are great ways to limit risk and help you score deals. Never be afraid to message a seller, feel them out and potentially make a long-term outlet for purchases while building trust. Networking is a major component.
6. Nostalgic elements
Pokémon culture is wide-ranging, with the Pokémon Go app, video games, movies, TV shows, merchandise, and more, everyone knows something about Pokémon. Pikachu is as recognizable as Hello Kitty, Pokémon is unisex, and the cards are a major component for the culture. This won’t change. The cards are a major part of Pokémon Lore and will continue to be the biggest aspect of nostalgia moving forward.