“It is rare to find a lover of the Pokémon game that does not collect Pokémon cards. Even persons who have never played the real game have bought Pokémon cards to play like regular card games.”
Pokémon cards trading is also very common among Pokémon card collectors. And that’s no surprise seeing that these cards are both fun to play and valuable, older editions and rare cards having the most value.
There’s a little problem, however. As Pokémon cards collection and trading are growing in popularity, fake Pokémon cards are growing in prevalence. Sad right?
Unfortunately, some persons have bought whole packs of Pokémon cards only to realize they were fake eventually. Can you imagine that? Imagine buying packs of your favorite game cards and then realizing that most of the cards in your collection are fake after a few months or years. It is not an experience I look forward to.
It is not a hopeless situation, though. Original Pokémon cards still far outweigh the number of counterfeits in the market. Plus, there are simple ways to spot fake Pokémon cards and eliminate the risk of buying counterfeits. You will find out how to do so shortly. Stay with me.
Seven Simple Ways to Spot Fake Pokémon Cards
Identifying fake Pokémon cards can be very easy or very difficult depending on how closely matching the counterfeit is to the original. While some fake Pokémon cards are flimsy and easy to spot, some look so real that an untrained eye will mistake it for the original. Still, fake Pokémon cards can be easily spotted with the right knowledge. Being very familiar with the genuine cards even makes that easier. Some simple ways to spot fake Pokémon cards include:
1. The Backside Check
Not sure if the Pokémon card in your hand is fake? Flip the card. The back of the card is one method to know if a card is real or fake. The richness or lightness of the colors on this side of the card is a tell-tale sign of its fakeness or originality. In genuine Pokémon cards, the colors are rich; the blue border is somewhat darker than the blue in the swirling blue and white design. Generally, the back of the card looks bright with rich colors.
The back of fake Pokémon cards often has a faded, washed-out look as though the cards are old. The colors are often either overly light or overly dark (the blue looking almost black).
You should also lookout for the Pokéball. The Pokéball generally has a red top and a white base. Most fake cards are consistent in the Pokéball design, but a few have featured a Pokéball with a white top and a red base.
2. Card Material/ the Bend Test
Fake Pokémon cards feel lighter than genuine cards. This is because they are often made with lighter materials. While you might not be able to spot the difference in weight readily, you can employ the bend test to help you ascertain that. Slightly bend the card backward and do the same with the original (if available). You will immediately notice the difference. A fake card will bend more easily than a thicker genuine card.
Even if you don’t have an original card with you, you can still carry out this test. A card that bends easily is most likely a fake. In addition to that, genuine Pokémon cards have a slightly textured feel when you rub your hands over the surface. Fake cards, on the other hand, are almost always smooth.
3. Lettering, Font Size, and Spelling
Counterfeiters are usually not so concerned with grammar which is a good thing for us. Examine the card carefully for spelling errors and consistency in lettering. A Pokémon card that has spelling errors and inconsistent lettering is most likely fake. You should also ensure the “Pokémon” is spelled with an accent (i.e., é instead of e). If it is not spelled with the accent, you’ve got a fake card.
4. The Light Test
When a torchlight is shined directly at a Pokémon card, light easily passes through the fake. Genuine Pokémon cards do not let through much light. This is because genuine Pokémon cards comprise the front layer, the back layer, and a thin dark layer in between. It is this dark layer that prevents much light from passing through. Most fake cards do not have this dark layer, and even when they do, it’s usually something flimsy that can’t block the light.
The dark layer in between can be seen if you look closely at the sides of the car. You will see a black line that runs around the card in between the outer layers. If you are not able to detect the line, try using a magnifying glass. You will surely see it if the card is real.
5. Design and Colouring
Coloring on fake Pokémon cards is generally not consistent with that of genuine cards. Fake cards are often either discolored or over-colored. The difference can easily be seen when a fake card is placed side by side with an original one.
If you have an original card with you, also remember to compare the size with the one you are about to purchase. Fake Pokémon cards are often smaller than genuine cards. And they wear out much faster too.
Disproportionate borders are another common feature of fake cards. The yellow border is often wider on one side. On genuine cards, the yellow border is usually proportional on all sides.
6. Health Points/ Damage
So far, Pokémon has not produced Pokémon cards with health points above 300. Also, no Pokémon card does more than 300 damage per attack yet. Some fake Pokémon cards have very unrealistic health points and damage. I’ve seen fake Pokémon cards with health points as high as 7000 and 2000 damage. A Pokémon card with health points above 300 is most likely fake.
Health points on Pokémon cards are written as “HP 130” and not “130 HP”. Although there have been a few misprints from the Pokémon Company, these misprints are well known and are shown on their websites. Misprints on Pokémon cards that are not officially listed as featuring one indicate a fake card.
Other Useful Tips
Asides from the points given above, other useful tips that can help you spot fake Pokémon cards include:
- If you do not have a genuine card in hand, run an online check. Type in the card number and Pokémon name to ensure you find the exact card. Then carefully compare the image with the card you are about to purchase.
- Only buy from your community game shop and trusted persons. Community game shop owners are very familiar with the cards and are less likely to stock fake cards. If you’re buying from an online vendor, ask for the picture before purchasing and ensure a good return policy.
Collecting Pokémon cards are back in vogue, and I believe they’re here to stay. Whether you’re collecting because of their value or just for the fun of it, you do not want to end up with fake cards. Following the guides given above will enable you to spot fake Pokémon cards and ensure you don’t buy them in place of the original.
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