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Image via The Pokémon Company

Pokémon card rarity symbols, explained

Gotta collect them all!

Collecting Pokémon cards has become more than a hobby for many fans, with plenty researching the worth and value of cards at an obsessive rate. The value of cards is determined by individuality, with some cards being worth more than others. Each card has a designated card rarity symbol that determines a card’s rarity. It is sometimes hard to parse out what each sign means, but The Pokémon Company has made the symbols reasonably simple to differentiate so that all fans can get a handle on each card.

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Pokémon card rarity symbols guide — How to identify common, rare, secret rare, and promo cards

There are four types of rarity symbols: a circle, a diamond, a star, and a promo star. Each symbol represents the rarity of that specific card, and you will usually be able to spot these symbols on the bottom of the card, generally at the bottom right corner, but sometimes on the left as well. The rarer the card, the less chance of finding one in real life. Certain rare cards even have their own categories, known as Ultra Rare or Secret Rare, which are even more scarce than the default rare cards.

How to identify Common Pokémon Cards — Black Circle

Image via The Pokémon Company

A Black Circle at the bottom of a Pokémon card indicates it’s a Common Card. Most Pokémon Cards are Common Cards and are usually designated toward Pokémon in their base evolution or first-evolution stage, like Pikachu or Venusaur. Common Cards make up most Pokémon packs and don’t tend to come holographic.

How to identify Uncommon Pokémon Cards — Diamond

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A Diamond symbolizes Uncommon Cards, which are slightly rarer than Common Cards. Uncommon Cards are usually designated toward Pokémon in their first-evolution stage or have weak final evolutions, like Beedrill and Butterfree. Despite being labeled as uncommon, most Uncommon Cards aren’t hard to find and are generally not holographic.

How to identify Rare Cards/Ultra Pokémon Cards — Star

Image via The Pokémon Company

A Star on the bottom of a card represents Rare Cards, the rarest Pokémon cards you can get in a pack. You usually get at least one Rare card in a single pack, and plenty of Rare Cards come holographic. Some holographic cards come in with reverse holographs, and even rarer cards come in with a special holofoil pattern and are known as Holofoil Rare.

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Rare Cards are reserved for some of the most popular or powerful Pokémon. Some less powerful and unpopular Pokémon receive Rare Cards if they gain unique artwork.

Image via The Pokémon Company

Ultra Rare cards have the same Star symbol on the bottom; the main difference is that Ultra Rare cards feature different artwork or have a specific game mechanic unique to themselves.

How to identify Secret Rare Pokémon Cards — Star

Image via The Pokémon Company

Secret Rare Cards also feature a Star symbol, yet their card numbers on the bottom should be different. Every card has a designated number out of a certain amount printed on the bottom, usually next to the rarity symbol. These numbers represent the amount of that specific card on the market and what order the card was printed first. For example, 140/151 means that card was the 140th printed card out of 151 currently in the market.

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If a Pokémon Card has a number higher than the printed size, then that card is a Secret Rare card. For instance, if you have a card listed with 152/151, then that card is a Secret Rare. Secret Rares are the rarest cards in the TCG and are the hardest to come by.

How to identify Promo Star Pokémon cards — Events or in-person

Image via The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Cards with a Promo Star represent cards that are handed out through promotional events like movies or in-person gatherings. Promo Cards are often only available for a limited time in limited quantities, so many Promo Cards become rare collector’s items that could potentially be worth a lot.

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Misael Duran
Freelance Writer who's been working with the Gamurs Group since 2019. I have over six years' worth of experience in Journalism and video game writing, having worked for sites like TheGamer, CBR, Pro Game Guides, and IGN.