Pokémon Cards: How to Spot the Fakes

Pokémon Cards: How to Spot the Fakes

Pokémon Cards have been a global phenomenon since their inception in 1996, attracting enthusiasts of all ages. With their value often reaching astonishing figures, it’s natural for the market to be flooded with imitations and replicas.

For the casual collector or the long-term fan, being able to distinguish authentic cards from the fakes is crucial. This article will serve as a practical guide to recognizing fake cards and ensuring your collection is genuine.


Pokémon Cards are more than just illustrated pieces of cardboard. For many, they represent an investment, a passion, and a nostalgic plunge into childhood.

With their market value on the rise, unauthentic copies are becoming increasingly common, making it essential for collectors to identify them.

Knowledge of the characteristics of authentic cards and a keen eye can help distinguish the real from the fake, thus safeguarding the value of your collection.

Hallmarks of Authentic Cards

Print Quality

A feature that often distinguishes authentic cards from fakes is print quality.

Original cards display vibrant colors and sharp details, while copies might appear blurred or exhibit faded colors.


Real Pokémon cards are made of a specific paper material and have a black layer between the front and the back.

Fake cards may lack this layer and may be made with inferior quality materials.


Genuine cards feature a unique and well-printed barcode that can be verified on the official Pokémon Cards website.

Copies might have invalid or poorly printed barcodes.

Where to Purchase Authentic Cards

Buying from authorized dealers and trustworthy stores can reduce the risk of encountering fake cards.

Websites like eBay might offer deals, but it’s fundamental to check the seller’s reputation and read the product description carefully.

Official Websites

Official websites or certified stores are the best choice to ensure the purchase of authentic cards.

Examples are the Pokémon Center Online and retailers authorized by The Pokémon Company.

Auctions and Online Marketplaces

If you choose to buy on online selling platforms like eBay, paying attention to seller reviews and feedback is vital to avoid purchasing fake cards.

Verify Your Collection

If you already own cards and wish to verify their authenticity, consider consulting a collectibles expert or an authentication service.

These experts can confirm the authenticity of your cards and might also evaluate them.

Grading Services

Services like PSA or Beckett can not only authenticate your cards but also assign a condition grade, which can increase their value.

Consult an Expert

Turning to an experienced collector or a specialized store can offer you a quick and informal opinion on the authenticity of your cards.


Recognizing fake Pokémon cards may seem like a daunting task, but knowing the hallmarks of authentic cards and purchasing from reliable sellers can protect your investment.

Pay attention to the print quality, the material, and always verify the authenticity of the cards you buy, especially if you intend to spend considerable amounts. Remember, the key is information and caution!

This article aims to provide a practical guide for collectors and Pokémon Card enthusiasts to defend against scams and to ensure that every card added to their collection is genuine.

Remember, your passion deserves only the best!

To stay updated on news, guides, and advice on the world of Pokémon Cards, regularly consult reliable and official sites. And above all, cultivate your passion in a conscious and informed way!