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How to Spot Fake Pokemon Cards

Learn how to find authentic Pokemon cards!

In this article, we’ll  be going over the following things:

  • How to recognize a fake Pokemon card
  • What to look out for when buying Pokemon cards online
  • How you can safely buy Pokemon cards
  • Summary

Pokémon cards are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, and with this popularity, there’s also been an increase in highly sought after, high value cards. Many fake cards are now appearing everywhere, so as a reminder, we’ll teach you how to recognize fake cards, precautions when purchasing cards on flea market apps, and how you can purchase cards with peace in mind.  Please feel free to refer to this article as your guide!

How to Recognize Fake Pokemon Cards

This section explains how to tell whether the card you want to purchase is fake or genuine. There are many types of fake cards, ranging from those that are easy to spot if you’ve seen real cards before to those that are elaborately made, which are difficult to judge with just a glance. To avoid buying fake Pokemon cards, let’s take a closer look.

Check what’s on display on the card

Some counterfeit cards differ from the genuine cards in what’s written in numbers and letters, as well as in the officially used logos. If the spelling is incorrect, there is a high possibility that the card is a fake. In addition, the numerical values for HP, Attack, Weakness, Resistance, Retreat, and serial numbers may be different from those of genuine Pokémon cards.

Check the card list on the official Pokemon TCG Database website to make sure that you are getting the correct card.

Check the size of the card

The size of a card is determined according to its type, so if the size is different, there is a high possibility that it is a fake. You can distinguish real from fake cards by measuring the size by comparing it with the size chart, or by preparing several real cards and comparing them.

Size of Pokémon cards: 63 mm (W) x 88 mm (H)

Check the paper quality of the card

If the paper quality is different compared to the real card, it is most likely a fake. You can judge by the feel of the card and its thickness.

Fakes are often made thinner than real Pokémon cards, When you try to bend the card, there will be a noticeable bend that is only present in fakes.

Check the shade of the card

Fake cards are often made using a color photocopy machine like those you can easily buy anywhere. As a result, they often have different shades from those of real Pokémon cards, and the printing of details is often messy. Check the illustration on the card’s official Pokemon TCG Database website to see what the correct shades look like.

Check the characters

If the card has been counterfeit copied, commercially available color photocopy machines cannot reproduce the outlines of fine text. Therefore, if the outline or font of the letters is not correct compared to the real card, it may be a counterfeit. In addition, since Pokemon cards often use unique fonts, it’s important to check whether the letters look weird.

Check the card texture and the way it shines

Authentic Pokemon cards can go through a relief process called “relief processing,” which cannot be replicated in fakes. If the way it glows is different compared to the real thing, there’s a high chance that it’s a fake. If it has a relief finish, check to see if there are grooves that are supposed to be there for the texture, as fakes may feel too slippery or smooth to the touch.

Check the back of the card

Compared to the front side, the back side of a card may be more roughly made. You can tell if the card you have is a fake by checking to make sure that the coloring, outline, and other qualities of the card are similar to the front side.

What to Look Out for When Buying Pokemon Cards Online

We’ve gone over how to recognize fake Pokemon cards, but at online secondhand stores, flea markets and auctions, it can be difficult to see the condition of these cards up close. Plus, it’s also possible that the seller is using fake photos of the cards, which can make it even harder to check if what you’re looking at is fake.

So, if you’re taking a look at a Pokemon card listing online, here are a few things you should keep in mind – and if any of these apply to the listing or the seller, you should refrain from purchasing from them.

The card is being sold for lower than the market price

Be careful if the listing price is clearly lower than the market price. In these cases, you can be sure that the seller is selling these fake cards at a lower price than the market price because it does not cost much to sell them.

Avoid purchasing from sellers with low ratings

Avoid buying trading cards from sellers who do not have good ratings on their profile. It’s also important to check if this seller’s account is new but has already received numerous good reviews or ratings in just a short amount of time. They may be preparing to sell counterfeit items. Make sure to check what other people have written about the seller in their bad reviews.

For trusted sellers and stores, they seldom receive negative reviews, so it’s important to be careful not to conduct any transactions with sellers who don’t have a good reputation.

Avoid purchasing from sellers with new accounts

Be careful not to buy cards from new sellers. Even if the seller has a bad reputation, there is a possibility for them to create a new account pretending to be a different seller. Although there may be genuine new sellers out there, it’s important to avoid new sellers in general to make safe card purchases.

Avoid purchasing from sellers with a suspiciously large number of cards

Be careful if you see multiple listings of the same card or too many cards being sold. In some cases, fake cards are mixed in with authentic cards that often get purchased in large quantities.

When purchasing from someone who is selling a large quantity of cards, be careful to check each card one at a time.

How You Can Safely Buy Pokemon Cards

So far, we’ve shared things to be careful of when purchasing Pokemon Cards.  However, it’s important to feel reassured whenever you’re purchasing Pokemon Cards so that you can buy them without any suspicion of them being counterfeit.

For those who want an easy, reliable way to safely buy Pokemon Cards, here’s how you can purchase Pokemon Cards with as little risk as possible of buying fakes.

Buy your Pokemon Cards from websites that specialize in trading cards

The risk of buying a fake card is reduced significantly when purchasing from a website that specializes in trading cards, because the cards that they sell have already been thoroughly checked by their professionals. When buying Pokemon Cards online, make sure to use only trusted websites that have a history of good reviews.

Buy your Pokemon Cards from sellers that specialize in trading cards

In the case of online Japanese auction sites such as Yahoo! Auctions and online secondhand markets, there are legit sellers and stores that specialize in trading cards. In these cases, you can also reduce the risk of buying counterfeit cards since they are also thoroughly inspected before put up for sale.

When purchasing high value/expensive cards, make sure to get in touch with our Customer Service staff

When making purchases for high value Pokemon Cards, you can get in touch with our customer service team who can check things for you. Although we cannot guarantee the authenticity of the item, we are able to provide you with various information or can ask questions on your behalf to the seller. This can be especially useful for sellers located in Japan who can only answer questions in Japanese.

Our Recommended Pokemon Card Store

With the current boom in collectible cards, you might find several online stores that specialize in selling Pokemon and other trading cards. Our personal recommendation is the Japanese trading card specialist store, Magi.

Why do we recommend Magi?

  • They have a trusted record of transactions for cards that go up to 300 million yen in a single month.
  • They not only have online stores, but also have 5 established physical stores located across Japan.
  • Their service includes professional card appraisers and experts that verify the authenticity of all their cards.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with our Customer Service via email, through or via our Inquiry Input Form.