Purchasing or trading for used cards both in person and online can be a daunting task. One of the fears of every card collector, TCG player, and even parent is whether a card is legitimate.
There are a few different ways you can check the authenticity of a card, but not all advice is good advice. Some online guides could result in you ruining an otherwise very valuable card, while others offer innacurate info.
Here, we’ll set the record straight and let you know everything you need to identify a fake Pokémon Card.
Start With the Obvious
One of the quickest and easiest ways to check a card’s authenticity is to see if it’s designed and printed as it should be.
If you’re a parent, or you’re new to the hobby/game, you may not be familiar with what a card should look like. That’s okay! simply perform a google search of the card in question to see what it should look like and then compare the two. Some things that are commonly wrong on fake cards are:
- Misspellings and typos
- Incorrect card artwork
- Improper placement of card stats
- Incorrect attacks, health points, or other stats
- Fancy borders and other incorrect design elements
- Fake energy symbols
- Different font
- Missing trademarks
- No accent mark on Pokémon
- Incorrect colors
- Upside down pokeball on card’s back (red should be up)
- Misprints and miscuts
- And more
An important thing to keep in mind is that a card may show one or two signs from above but still be legitimate! Misprints and miscuts for example can happen on legitimate cards and are actually more valuable because of it!
The best way to check for a fake card is to have a real card on hand to compare it to. If you can’t do that, you can use an image online, but the real thing is always better.
If you’ve done this and found a few things that cause alarm, don’t call it a fake just yet! similarly, if nothing here was amiss it doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. There are a few other test you need to do before being sure.
Measuring the Unseen
The following can only be checked in person, so while it may help with some trades and card sales IRL you won’t have any luck online. What we’re going to walk you through next is how to check some of the unseen properties of a card. (Think card weight, texture, etc.)
Start by grabbing another card – it doesn’t need to be the same exact card, but you’ll want it to be the same type. (So if the card you’re looking at is a reverse holo card, try to find another reverse holo. If it’s a rainbow rare, find another rainbow rare.)
Begin to inspect both cards. Start with the card’s size. If it’s different in size from a standard card you can tell straight away that it’s a fake.
Next, look at the feel of the card. Fake cards can be both more flimsy and thin than the real deal and thicker/harder. If you’re card feels noticeably different that’s a telltale sign. A real Pokémon card isn’t flimsy, but it will bend if you use some force.
After that you can inspect the card’s corners. A fake card may have corners that are too pointy. Real Pokémon cards have smooth, rounded corners.
Another test you can do is to take a look at the edge of the Pokémon card. Real Pokémon cards are created by adhering two sides to a thin black sheet. When looking at the card’s edge, you should be able to see a very thin black line between both sides. Most fake cards don’t have this.
There are ways to verify the authenticity of a card, but again only if the card is in your possession. The Pokémon company does offer some help and will help verify the authenticity of a card if you’re not sure.
Similarly, if the card is very valuable and you’d be interested in getting it graded, you can send it to PSA or another grading agency and they will verify the authenticity of the card as well as giving it a quality rating.
Tips from The Pokémon Company
“Unfortunately, with a product as popular as the Pokémon Trading Card game, there are those who will counterfeit our merchandise for their own gain.
There are a few things that you as a customer can do to protect yourself from purchasing counterfeit merchandise.
There are images of our products available at Pokémon.com. Familiarizing yourself with what our decks look like will help assure that you aren’t fooled by one of the many knockoffs that look nothing like our official packaging.
Often, fake booster packs are very difficult to discern from the real thing. As a rule of thumb, if the price of a pack seems too good to be true, it probably is. Pokémon Trading Cards are produced from the highest quality materials, to assure a positive experience for the player and collector alike. Because of this, finding a pack of cards priced dramatically below our suggested retail price is a near certain tip-off that you’re being sold counterfeit merchandise. In addition, we find that we receive the highest reported instances of counterfeit sales originating from Flea Markets.”
Avoid Worrying At All!
Sometimes, the best way to ensure you’re not getting a fake is to buy cards new from a trusted retailer.
If you’re in Canada, we’re the go to source for Pokémon cards, and our Zephyr Bundles give you a chance to save big. But, if you’re located outside of Canada we recommend looking for a well reviewed online card retailer or even your local hobby/game shop.