Counterfeit Pokémon Trading Card Game Products

Identifying Counterfeit Pokémon Trading Card Game Products

Counterfeit Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) products have become increasingly prevalent, posing a threat to collectors and players alike. In this guide, we’ll explore key indicators that can help you distinguish genuine Pokémon TCG items from their illegitimate counterparts.

1. Official Product Line Distinctions:

Pokémon TCG does not produce ‘set specific’ tins for major expansions, except for special sets like Celebrations. Genuine booster sets like Fusion Strike or Cosmic Eclipse include blisters, boosters, mini albums, and Elite Trainer Boxes, but not tins.

2. Poor Packaging Quality:

Counterfeit products often exhibit inferior packaging quality. In the image below, observe how the logo is unevenly cut, lacking clear plastic to secure contents, and cards are haphazardly bundled with a rubber band. Genuine packaging features a visible but untouchable card display, a laminate finish, and a fully printed/glossy white cardboard exterior.

3. Card Stock and Color Discrepancies:

Pokémon TCG employs a gold hue, not a pure yellow, for card borders and logos. In the accompanying image, a genuine card (left) displays proper color and border thickness, while the fake card (right) exhibits bright yellow, thin borders, mis-cuts, and non-standard sizing. Authentic cards boast sturdy, unbendable card stock.

4. Obvious Production Issues:

Authentic booster packs are precisely sealed and cut, with a snug fit around the cards. In contrast, counterfeit packs may show loose wrapping, evident missealing, and a lighter weight. Genuine packs feature artwork extending seamlessly across the packaging, while fake packs often display dark borders on top and/or bottom.

5. Uniform Product Codes and Barcodes:

Pokémon maintains a uniform barcode and SKU code system. Genuine products have SKU codes with three numbers followed by a dash and five numbers, and barcodes beginning with “0-820650,” reflecting the SKU. Counterfeit products frequently have generic codes and duplicated barcodes, as seen in the examples below:
Pokémon Sword & Shield 9: Brilliant Stars – Booster
SKU: 180-80996 / UPC: 0820650809965
Counterfeit products may deviate from this pattern, helping savvy consumers identify potential fakes.
By staying vigilant and understanding these key indicators, collectors and players can protect themselves from the growing threat of counterfeit Pokémon TCG products. Referencing official guidelines and collaborating with reputable sellers will contribute to a safer and more authentic Pokémon TCG collecting experience.