If investing in bitcoin sounds too risky, how about investing in Pikachu? Over the past year, the value of Pokémon cards featuring Japanese fantasy characters has soared, thanks to nostalgic childhood fans. Recently, a rare Pikachu Illustrator card was traded for $900,000 worth of other cards and artwork, and a holographic Charizard card was auctioned for more than $300,000. To evaluate your Pokémon cards…

Look for these characteristics. A black symbol near the bottom of the card—a circle, diamond or star—indicates the card’s scarcity. A circle means that the card is common…a diamond, less common…and stars, it is rare. A card can have more than one symbol, indicating that it may have value. Shiny, reflective holographic artwork and/ or an “Edition 1” logo indicates a first edition. Any card featuring the most beloved characters—Blastoise, Charizard, Lugia, Mewtwo, Pikachu, Rayquaza and Umbreon—may be valuable. A card in excellent condition has no surface scratches, creases or whitening at the edges. A lesser-condition card may have some value if it is very desirable or rare.

Check the value of your cards by looking on eBay using the “Sold listings” filter on the Advanced Search page. Or you can visit a local tradingcard vendor. Cards worth under $50: Sell them yourself on eBay.comFacebook.com/marketplaceTCGPlayer.com…or TrollAndToad.com. Potentially more valuable cards: Have them professionally authenticated and graded through a reputable service such as CGCComics.com, which uses a 10-point scale to rate the card’s value. The cost to get each card graded starts at about $15.

Sell graded cards through wellknown collectible auction houses such as PWCC (PWCCMarketplace. com) or Heritage Auctions (HA.com).

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