The different card states of Pokemon cards explained

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The different Pokemon card states

The often different assessment of card states in Pokemon cards is one of the most common sources of conflict between buyers and sellers. The reason for this is that this assessment is merely subjective. A map that classifies one person as "almost perfect" may only be in a mediocre state for another person, in which case discussions are usually unavoidable. To at least reduce the risk of such misunderstandings, we have created a guide for you to help you better assess maps.

Overview of the different states

Gem Mint

The classification of the condition Gem Mint means that the card itself and also the printed image of the front and back are in absolutely flawless condition. The print is optimally centered. In addition, the card does not have any other printing flaws, such as black stripes.

The condition Gem Mint is only shown if the card has been evaluated with it (grading).



In the Mint classification, the condition of the card is perfect. The front and back are in prime condition. They 0127512 do not show any scratches or signs of wear and tear and are not dirty. The card is virtually indistinguishable with a card fresh from the booster (boosterfrisch).


Near Mint

The card state Near Mint refers to a map that has only very small blemishes, e.g. B very small, white spots or very slight signs of wear. The card must be clean and have no scratches.



The card condition Excellent means that Pokemon cards are in a generally quite good condition. The traces of wear are minor and the margin and corners may have some white spots. Even very small pressure points are possible. The surface could also have small scuffs, but not severe scratches per se.



The card condition Good describes that the card has no creases, but significant signs of wear and tear or wear. Signs of wear, such as highly visible white spots on the edges and corners. Also, the surface of the card may be slightly dirty and scratched, as well as have bruises.


Light Played

In the Light Played state, you can see that the card has been played for a longer period of time without protection, e.g. without sleeves. If the card is protected by a sleeve, it can still be used in a tournament. In addition, the map was not manipulated with colors at the edges and was also not scribbled or similar. However, the signs of wear and tear are very obvious.



The state Played is assigned if the card is in a very bad condition. The signs of wear and tear are very pronounced and the card may have many white spots, especially at the edges and corners. The surface can be dirty and worn and also has dents, bruises, slight creases and very strong scratches.



The state Poor is the worst condition of a card. This is not achieved through normal play, but the card has been damaged 0127512 by other 0127512 0127513 0127513 external influences. The card is e.g. severely damaged or got wet, it has severe creases or cracks. Even if the surface has been scribbled or the edges have been reworked with paint, the value of the map is thus quasi destroyed.


Further important information for you

Aged cards

A card called an altered card means that the card has been artistically altered .

American assessments

Americans 0127512 0127513] usually use different terms[0127513 0127512] than we do. Instead, the scheme is mostly Mint/Near Mint (N/NM) followed by Slightly Played (SP) or similar, then Played (PL), Heavily Played (HP) or similar, and finally Poor.

Blackened edges

When the border of a card is manipulated, the card becomes always a card in the state of Poor. The blackening of the edges is usually done to make a map look better than it really is. If this is used to sell a card for more than it is really worth, it is fraud.

Foil Cards

Foil or Premium (Foil) cards are subject to the same principles as normal cards in the evaluation. When evaluating a foil card, however, one should consider that foil cards are not only used for playing, but always have a collector's value.


A map that has Clouding looks like the surface is slightly fogged. It is an effect caused by many microscopic damages to the surface. These eventually add up and make the surface appear dull or even foggy. A map where Clouding is visible cannot be rated as not as Near Mint.


In principle, this is a special form of blackening the edges. Someone tried to spruce up the look of the card by painting white spots on the edge of the card, for example with a fine liner. Such cards are, of course, to be classified in the state of Poor.


If a card has scratches on the surface, the card condition is at most Good Scratches are especially relevant for foil cards, as the surface is much more sensitive here.


As you can see, there are numerous types of map states and these also have their own variations. So you should take a good look at your cards before buying/selling and really work conscientiously so that there are no misunderstandings. In addition to the many different states and official variations, there are also illegal Pokemon cards, which we will tell you about here.

Your opinion is needed!

Did you already know about the map states of Pokemon or was our guide helpful to you? Have you ever had to discuss the conditions with buyers/sellers or has everything gone smoothly so far? Feel free to write us this and much more in our comments, we would be really happy.

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