How to Research Pokemon Card Values

How to Research Pokemon Card Values

Our last article looked at How to Determine if a Card is Worth Grading and now we will delve a little deeper into how to research card values (both raw and graded) and track the market. This information is valuable if you're looking to buy or sell cards or simply understand the value of your collection for insurance purposes or your own personal knowledge, etc. You'll also want to check out our article on Pop Reports and how to read them.

The Pokemon card market has been a bit of a rollercoaster the past few years making it more important to regularly track prices and the market if you want or need to know current values. The market can change dramatically from one day to next especially for high end cards. Each card is one auction away from sky-rocketing or plummeting in price in some instances. The first 18 months or so after the start of the pandemic saw a huge spike in Pokemon card values across the board - all eras and all sets. The market has corrected itself since then to what is probably a more accurate level. One of the issues with such drastic changes in market values is that buyers and sellers found themselves both on the good and bad side of upswings and downswings. This can make prices a very touchy subject and causes some big discrepancies in asking prices depending on when the card in question was originally purchased (height of the market or not). It pays to be an educated buyer and seller (or collector) but finding the right information does involve some work. 

How to Research Raw Pokemon Card Values

Let's start with raw (ungraded) Pokemon cards which are in some ways easier and harder than assessing graded cards. The difficulty with raw cards lies in the assessment of the condition of the card (i.e., how good of shape it is in) as that can be a fairly subjective assessment. What is near mint to be might be light play to you and that could represent a big difference in value.

Step One: Determine the condition of your card

For basic condition standards, we are going to rely on TCG Player's descriptions: 

  • Near Mint (NM): Card shows minimal wear from play or handling and should have a nearly unmarked surface, clean corners, and edges with no whitening. There can be very slight edge wear or a few minor scratches but no major defects.
  • Lightly Played (LP): Card shows minor border or corner wear with some scuffs or scratches. There should be no major defects (bends, creases, etc), only a few minor imperfections.
  • Moderately Played (MP): Card shows border and/or corner wear, scratching, scuffing, and some creases or whitening. The imperfections should affect a small area of the card and should not impact the card's overall integrity.
  • Heavily Played (HP): Card shows a major amount of wear. The imperfections impact the integrity of the card such as creasing, whitening, and bends. Card may still be playable when sleeved.
  • Damaged: Card shows wear and imperfections beyond HP and would not be playable even in a sleeve. Damage can include large creases, folds, tears, etc.

You can also check out their very in-depth guide to Card Condition Standards for more detailed information. We look to them as a trusted source for this information due to the very high volume of raw Pokemon cards that they buy and sell on a regular basis. 

Step Two: Find recent sold prices and current listed prices

Now when looking at sold prices and current prices, we have two basic kinds of markets: public/visible markets and private/hidden markets. Public markets are websites like TCG PlayerTroll and Toad, or eBay which are huge marketplaces for raw singles that are accessible by the general public with lots of current market listings for just about any card in the Pokemon TCG. Private markets are things like Facebook marketplace or private groups, Instagram sellers, or apps like Whatnot. These sites may or may not be widely available to the public but they do not generally have visible records of what prices cards sold for making this an opaque part of the market. Let's break down some of the pros and cons of each of these marketplaces:

Pros and Cons of TCG Player


  • Huge selection of cards
  • Current prices tend to be competitive given the volume of sellers and cards available on the market
  • Prices are tracked over time giving buyers a sense of where the market is trending for a given card
  • Public sold listings - by far the biggest pro letting you see what cards are actually selling for not just the current asking prices


  • Very few listings include pictures so the condition of the actual card may not meet your expectations
  • Current prices for rare cards tend to be very high due to the lack of competition
  • There are some holes in the market for rare cards and licensed Pokemon TCGs such as Topps or Topsun

Pros and Cons of Troll and Toad


  • Huge selection of cards
  • Current prices tend to be competitive given the volume of sellers and cards available on the market
  • Other licensed Pokemon TCGs such as Topps and Topsun are available


  • No tracking of sold listings
  • No tracking of the market over time
  • Very few listings include pictures so the condition of the actual card may not meet your expectations
  • Current prices for rare cards tend to be very high due to the lack of competition

Pros and Cons of eBay


  • Huge selection of cards (worldwide selection)
  • Current prices tend to be competitive given the volume of sellers and cards available on the market
  • Most listings include multiple images allowing for better assessment of card condition
  • Pretty much any kind of Pokemon card is available
  • Sold listings are searchable but do not include the same kind of market tracking that TCG player uses
  • eBay now has a Price Guide that allows you to see sold prices charted over time


  • Finding the right listing for a card can be challenging as there is no standardized database used like those used by TCG player and Troll and Toad

Pros and Cons of Private Marketplaces


  • There are deals to be had here as the customer pool tends to be smaller than on the public marketplaces
  • Pretty much any kind of Pokemon card is available
  • Apps like Whatnot offer consumer protection for buyers


  • No price data of sold listings
  • Condition is not always easy to gauge (limited pictures/descriptions)
  • Marketplaces like Facebook and Instagram attract scammers and there are few protections for buyers
  • It can be very difficult to find specific cards as much of the information is not easily searchable

Once you have found the current prices listed for your card and a history of recent sold listings, you can have a pretty good idea what a card should be bought or sold for. Again, condition makes this a little tricker because that can be a fairly subjective assessment. One of the major benefits of grading raw cards is that condition becomes a known thing (e.g., a Mint 9 verses a Gem Mint 10). It is also a great way to not only authenticate your card but to also preserve the condition. The plastic slab used in the encasement process protects your card from the elements, damage, and offers some UV protection against fading. 

How to Research Graded Pokemon Card Values

Researching the prices of graded Pokemon cards is straightforward in the sense that condition is no longer an unknown but is a clearly established thing. Now you could debate about whether the card deserves the grade it got and if it would potentially grade higher or lower if crossed to another grading company. Just like the raw card marketplaces, graded cards have public/visible markets and private/hidden markets. For public markets, we have sites like eBay or Goldin Auctions where current listings are publicly visible as well as a mechanism for searching sold prices as well. On the private market side, we have apps like Whatnot with no publicly available sold data or again, the Facebook groups/marketplace, Instagram, etc. If you are active member or user of one of those marketplaces, you may have a good sense of what things are selling for but you will only have visibility into the groups or streams that you actively participate in leaving a lot of unknowns. There are also marketplaces that fall into an in-between category not being fully public or private. This includes auction sites like Heritage Auctions or PWCC. While all of these sites allow you to search and view items currently up for auction, their sold listings can only be accessed by members of the site. Many of the auction platforms also do not provide information about whether or not sold items were actually paid for meaning that a sold price may be meaningless if no one actually paid that price for the item. 

In a future article, we'll do a deeper dive into how to decide where to buy or sell your Pokemon cards but for now, we'll use these site solely for price data. Some of these platforms have a much longer history of selling Pokemon cards and more listings of any given card (eBay for example) and will have more information about current listings as well as sold listings. For very high end, expensive cards, the private auction houses like Heritage, Goldin, or PWCC may have more current sales data available. 

How much is an Evolving Skies Umbreon VMAX worth?

Now that we've talked about where to find prices, let's use a real world example and go through the research step-by-step. For our example, we're going to look at the very collectible Umbreon VMAX Alternate Art from Evolving Skies. Because the private/hidden marketplaces do not have good sales data that is searchable as a record, we will focus on the more accessible public marketplaces for this exercise. Also keep in mind that determining a card's value is a balancing act between the record of recent sold listings, current listings for sale, and the number of cards available on the market right now. 

Umbreon VMAX Raw Card Value

I have this card in my possession and based on my visual assessment, this card is Near Mint so that is what I will use for condition as I research prices. Let's take a look at current Near Mint prices for this card on TCG Player, Troll and Toad, and eBay. There are of course, many smaller companies that buy and sell singles but we're going to stick with the most popular sites here.

How to Research Raw Card Prices on TCG Player

From the TCG Player website, enter the name of the card in the search box. I just used "Umbreon" but you can be more specific if you know the card's set number. 

TCG Player search results for "Umbreon"

From here, I selected the Umbreon VMAX (Alternate Art Secret) from the search results. On the product page for this card, you will see a description of the card followed by a chart showing the price history for the card which can be set to show 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year worth of data. You'll also see the Current Price points including Market Price ($543.43 in this case), Buylist Market Price (what people are paying for the card on buylists), and the Listed Median Price ($587.39). You will also see information about the last three sold listings as and a link to see a longer sales history. 

TCG Player sales history chart

I can also browse the current listings available and filter to only show the Near Mint listings. 

TCG Player Near Mint Prices for Umbreon

What I can take away from this information is that even though the current 'market' price for the card is listed as around $544, the price is starting to trend downward because there are listings in the $425-500 range. We'd have to watch the sold listings for a few more days/weeks to really determine if prices for the card going down in a substantial and prolonged way or if this is just a minor dip. The other thing to note here is that there are currently 50 listings for this card in Near Mint condition meaning that if I were trying to sell mine, there's a lot of competition out there (at least on TCG Player). 

How to Research Raw Card Prices on Troll and Toad

From Troll and Toad's website, I entered "Umbreon" in the search box and selected "Pokemon" for the product type. Again, you can be more specific with card set, etc or you can scroll through the options until you find the card in question.

Troll and Toad search results for Umbreon

The actual product page for the card includes a description of the card, a direct "Add to Cart" button to buy from Troll and Toad as well as a "Sell to Us" option from $429. Farther down the page is the rest of their listings for the card with prices ranging from $429-599. There are only 3 sellers aside from Troll and Toad so the options are a little more limited then on TCG player.

Troll and Toad Umbreon product listing

How to Research Raw Card Prices on eBay

Now, let's check out eBay. For this search I am going to be more specific because there is no organization to the cards as we find on TCG Player or Troll and Toad where all the buying options for a specific card are grouped together. I used "evolving skies umbreon vmax alt art" for my search. You'll see at the top of the results is a link for the Price Guide for this card - more on that in a minute.

eBay Umbreon serach results

Now I have to do a fair amount of scrolling to see all the listings for this particular card and weed out the graded versions, non-near mint, etc. You also need to pay attention to whether the listing is an auction with bidding, buy it now, or Best Offer as these can represent unknowns in the price. For example, I found a listing for $200 but it's a tradition auction with 3.5 days left and 28 bidders. The price will definitely rise before the auction ends. Most of the buy it nows and obos (or best offer) are listed in the $450-550 range. But it now and obo listings don't tell us much about the demand for the card but listings with auctions can. If there are bids on the auction, that tells us that there are real buyers on the market interested in purchasing that card.

Now to see where prices have been trending in sold listings, I can click the "Advanced" link on the end of the search bar, check "Sold Listings", and preform a new search. Again, I will need to weed through results that aren't exactly what I'm looking for but I can see sold data over time. 

eBay Advanced search options

Pay careful attention to the dates as the most recent sold listings are likely the most relevant to you. Today alone, this card sold for $486 with bids and $519.99 buy it now. I can also click the box for the Price Trends to see how eBay has been tracking the price of the card over time. Like TCG Player, it gives you options to customize the timeline that's included. Be sure to choose the Variant option for "ungraded cards" to exclude skewing the results with graded card listings. For the sake of continuity, I'll use 3 months as the time frame. 

 eBay price guide for Umbreon sold listings

This gives me a nice visual look at how prices for this card have been trending over the last 90 days. Below the chart, you'll also find direct links to the sold listings in reverse chronological order. 

Umbreon VMAX Raw Card Value Conclusion

After looking at all the sold data that's available to me, I can conclude that I can most likely sell my raw Near Mint copy of the Umbreon for around $500. There is a lot of competition in the sold listings right now so it might take a while to sell and prices do look to be dipping so that could mean that my card will lose value as I wait for a buyer. I could opt to 'undercut' current prices and list my much lower but I could be leaving money on the table if I do. I also have the option to sell directly to Troll and Toad for their advertised 'buy' price of $429. While that may sound attractive, keep in mind that Troll and Toad will ultimately assess the condition of the card and may deem it less than Near Mint meaning a smaller payout. 

Umbreon VMAX Graded Card Value

Let's pretend that I've decided that I would rather grade my Umbreon instead of selling it raw... There are some benefits to this as the condition of the card will no longer be up for debate - it will have an assigned grade from whichever grading company I choose. The risk is that I may get a lower grade than what I anticipate and the card could end up being worth more as a raw card instead. See How to Determine in a Pokemon Card is Worth Grading for more details on how to make that determination and our article on the Best Pokemon Card Grading Companies for help choosing the right grading company for you. 

For this part of the exercise, I am going to assume that I'm grading my card with CGC and that I anticipate getting a CGC 9, 9.5, or 10. Let's take a look at how to find information on how this card is selling at those grades right now. 

How to Research Graded Card Prices on eBay

Our process here will be nearly identical to what we did for the raw prices but we can make our search more specific to graded cards both in the current listings and the sold listings. I am going to make a point to only look at CGC listings as that is who I plan to grade with. To save some time, I'm going to create a chart showing the current listings and sold listing trends for this card in a CGC 9, 9.5, and 10. I will opt to look at Pristine 10s as I do not think my card is 'perfect' enough to achieve a Perfect 10.

 Grade Current Listing Range Sold Listing Last Sold
CGC Pristine 10 $1,399 - 2,100 $1,050
CGC 9.5  $765-850 $717
CGC 9 $500-900 $600


This information gives me some valuable insight into what this card is currently selling for in a CGC grade. First of all, the current listings (for the most part) seem ambitious when compared to the last sold listings and that tells me something about how I might want to list my card if I'm looking to sell it quickly. I can also see when comparing this data to the raw card value data that I need to hit at least a 9 in order to make the grading process worth it or I would be better off selling the card raw.

How to Research Graded Card Prices on Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions has become known in recent history for their high-end TCG and other collectibles auctions. They regularly sell Pokemon cards (most in graded form) and tend to attract a slightly different pool of buyers than you might see on eBay so it is worth taking a look at their listings. In order to view sold listings, you must have an account with Heritage which is simple enough to set up. 

Once you are logged in, you can use the search bar to look for both current listings and sold listings:

Heritage Auctions search interface

Because Heritage does not have the volume of listings that eBay does, I'm keeping my search very broad and just looking for "Umbreon". There are no current listings available and only 58 sold listings. After browsing through all the sold listings, there are none listed for my particular card but it is always worth taking a look here anyway. Heritage is known for their vintage and sealed Pokemon product but you will still sometimes find modern as well. 

How to Research Graded Card Prices on Goldin Auctions

On Goldin Auctions I did a simple search of current listings for "Umberon" and did not find any current auctions for this card. To find previous sold listings, you'll need to scroll down to the footer of the page and click "Previous Auction Results". 

Goldin Auctions footer menu

From here, I'll again search "Umbreon" and will also strike out as the only sold listings are from vintage cards.

Goldin Auctions sold listings results for Umbreon

How to Research Graded Card Prices on PWCC

PWCC has become a fairly large marketplace in resent months for both modern and vintage Pokemon and sports cards. They have a relationship with CGC that allows customers to grade raw cards directly with CGC. Like Heritage, you will need to have an account with PWCC in order to see any sold listing prices. There are no active listings for this card so we'll go right to sold listings. To find sold listings, go to Research > PWCC Sales History in the menu. I'm going to search "Umbreon Evolving Skies".

PWCC search interface for sold listings

Results are listed in reverse chronological order and there are no sold listings for CGC and very few from other grading companies in recent history. It is important to not look too far into the past for sold data as it does not reflect the current market prices. The most recent sold listing is a BGS 9.5 for $516 in August. I would not place a lot of weight on this result in my research because it happened so long ago. 

Umbreon VMAX Graded Card Value Conclusion

After looking at publicly (or nearly public) available price data, I can safely say that my card will most likely be worth between $500-1,000 as a graded card. Some factors to keep in mind is that your assessment of the condition may not match the grade it ultimately gets (remember, the graders are the professionals) and depending on where you get the card graded, it may be weeks or even months before you get the card back from grading. Prices can change rapidly so you want to keep an eye on the market as you make decisions about what to do with your cards. 

For more information about grading and how we can assist you with your TCG and Sports card grading, check out our grading page

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