How To Spot First Edition Pokémon Card?

September 19, 2022 · Your Playmat
first edition pokemon card

Collecting playing cards has become very popular with the passage of time. There are millions of fans of Pokémon, MTG, and other card games all over the world. Popular tournaments are held in different countries, and hundreds and thousands of professional players take part in them. Some of them win large amounts of money playing their favorite card games. However, have you ever wondered what story lies behind these cards, what path they went side by side with Pokémon, and what their types were? Did you know that Pokémon cards are not only beautiful and bright but also bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to collectors? These rare cards include 1st edition Pokémon.

Many people think about how to recognize them correctly and what common signs they may have. After all, many people want to earn as much money as possible after finding an old box with cards, isn’t it?

In fact, 1st edition Pokémon cards have many features that can be used to identify and distinguish them from those sold in modern times. Among the important signs there is the inscription "Edition" and the date of printing no later than February 16, 1999. In addition, those that were released after this period can also be considered rare, almost antique pieces of art. These cards belong to other series and share the same unique features.

These rare but valuable sets could come across to you in:

  • Skyridge;
  • Expedition Base Set;
  • Aquapolis;
  • EX Crystal Guardians.

After reading this article, you will be able to accurately identify first edition Pokémon cards, learn about the rarest Pokémon and their prices.

How To Identify First Edition Pokémon Cards 

first edition Pokémon cards: charizard, pikachu, mewtwo

When choosing and purchasing cards, you should definitely pay attention to certain nuances that will help you effectively distinguish cards and find the most important and valuable ones for you.

It is essential to pay attention to the design when examining the card. It is this nondescript little thing that distinguishes regular cards from first edition cards.

You are lucky because we have already found these distinctive features for you, and you need to focus exactly on them:

  • Carefully inspect the picture and look for a shadow on it;
  • Next, you must find the copyright date, which will indicate that this card is the first edition;
  • And the final thing is the unique mark of this precious card.

The classic version of the base set has three different series of Pokémon:

  • The first edition;
  • Shadowless;
  • Unlimited.

This is what allows real fans and card collectors to distinguish sets. This allows you to form a collection with completely diverse characters. This gives a huge advantage in being able to mix your favorites in these versions. But even then, you may experience a lack of diversity.

Interesting fact! Despite your experience, intelligence and depth in this topic, you can always make a mistake. Since a recent survey of 156 players with different levels and variety of cards available showed that even they are not always aware of these important points. And even with the knowledge gained, it is not always possible to correctly distinguish those treasured first edition Pokémon cards. Therefore, always ‘turn on’ your attentiveness and ingenuity, and this will bear the greatest results.

According to the results of the experiment, there were not even 25% of Pokémon lovers who could name at least one of the features of the first edition Pokémon cards. In more detail, the rest of the results were as follows:

  • 24% were able to remember at least one of the three signs;
  • 15% performed better and were able to name two distinguishing features;
  • But 35% of people claimed that they could identify all 3 signs.

It's interesting to see that 64% of the collectors surveyed may not even be aware that their collection may contain Pokémon from the 1st edition base set. Ensure to check your Pokémon cards, you can suddenly have valuable collectibles lying around.

How Do You Know What Edition Pokémon Cards Are

1st edition Charizard Pokémon card

In fact, such cards are not that hard to find, since we know exactly what details we need. 1st edition Pokémon cards will contain all three features that will differentiate them from the base set.

The First Edition Stamp

Look for the nest features: 

  • To be 100% sure that you have a first edition card in your hands, the first thing you need to do is to find the symbol that is only on these cards. To do this, carefully examine the left side and find the card number. Next to it will be the first sign and this is an asterisk. This is the first and important distinguishing point;
  • The next important step is to lower your eyes to the bottom of the card and there you will find the words "Edition 1". This will be the second important point;
  • The third step is to inspect the entire card and look for the distinguishing dates on the card that will indicate copyright. Namely, we turn the card over and look for the date of 1996. The valuable cards are those with the date of 1999 and 2000.

* In addition to the first edition cards in the basic set, the “first edition” mark can be found on all Pokémon cards in the 1st edition. If you see this symbol on a Pokémon card, it's definitely a first edition card, but that doesn't necessarily mean the card came from the first base set.

We know that this can be too complicated and confusing. Therefore, to better understand this information, you can look for photos of Pokémon cards from different publications to compare them with each other and see the difference.

No Shadow Pokémon Edition Cards

Friends, now we will consider the easiest option for identifying cards from the 1st edition. The next important steps:

  • What you should pay attention to is the golden stamp, which will indicate originality. This feature should be looked for on the right side of the text field;
  • Next, you must ensure that there is no such symbol as a shadow on the card. This characteristic should be looked for on the left side of the holographic foil - this is one of the most important points;
  • And the most important and final point, which will accurately determine both yours and the fate of the card, is the inscription "1st Edition". And you need to look for it on the front surface in the upper area of ​​the card.

That is these three points that determine the originality or falsity of the card. You will be able to discover these limited cards after reading this article and it will help you become either a rich person or form one of the most expensive and beloved collections with one of the most effective investments in your life.

Base Set Edition Cards Release Dates

If you have already found two of the important points, the discovery of the third is not that important, but it is better to do it than not to do it at all. This procedure can also be useful if you are going to determine if your card is fake.

So, the important feature in our case is the one that shows the company's copyright date. Your task is to find the following dates:

  • 1995;
  • 1996;
  • 1998;
  • 1999.

You should also keep in mind that new Pokémon card releases may not have these dates. And the value of such cards is determined by the fact that there are catastrophically few first edition Pokémon cards on the market. They are no longer officially sold, and can only be obtained from collectors. 

Here is one example of how they are valued. In 2020, one collector bought the first version of the Charizard card for $220,000. Therefore, having Pokémon cards, you will not only have beautiful and colorful characters, but you can also make good money.

How To Find Shadowless Cards?

As you can see from the title of the edition of these cards, they do not have shadows. What is their peculiarity and why are we talking about them at all? Everything is very simple. The fact is that the shadowless Pokémon cards completely coincide with two features from the 1st edition. They differ only in one feature, which is the key in our situation. Now we can go into more detail.

Cards from the Shadowless set will have the following features:

  • The absence of a shadow on the right side of the character frame;
  • Copyright date information;
  • But the last point will be critical. As you may have guessed, cards from the Shadowless set won't have "First Edition" written on them, giving you a chance to tell them apart from the Base Set's First Edition Pokémon cards.

This is how a small detail can completely change the perception of cards.

Bottom Line

And to ensure that your precious cards are always intact and clean for presentation or sale, you should purchase special card sleeves. The company is one of the well-known accessories for collectibles on the market and offers the best solutions at low prices.


Are First Edition Pokémon Cards Worth Anything?

Yes, the cards in this edition are not only highly valued by casual players but can also bring in huge profits due to their uniqueness and rarity. Often, collectibles that were released in the first edition will be more valued than their new copies.

How Many 1st Edition Pokémon Cards Are There?

The original Base Set of Pokémon cards featured 102 unique cards based on the franchise's first generation of Pokémon, including cards that now individually rank as some of the most valuable Pokémon cards in existence.

What If I Found A First Edition Pokémon Card?

If you find such a card, we can assume that you are lucky and will be able to earn extra money, as you have one of the rarest valuable cards in the history of Pokémon. However, you should check it for authenticity and only then put it up for sale if you want to make money.

How Can I Know If The Pokémon Card Is Original First Edition?

To ensure that you are not holding a fake, you can use various services that provide assistance in examining Pokémon cards. You can also look at the release date, shadow and special signs on the card to find out if it is 1st edition.