Demystifying Rare Pokemon Rarity Symbols

There are, by estimation, around 15,000 distinctive Pokémon cards that have been released as of this writing. And while not every Pokémon: The Card Game (TCG) card carries inherent value, some cards are more valuable to trainers than others.

Some trainers might want a Mega Mewtwo EX to sweep their opponents easily. Other trainers might be haunted by past defeats and want to find the card that got away. And others still might be TCG’s version of a shiny hunter.

If you are working on building a valuable deck, there’s one top element that will level up your collection. This is, of course, card rarity.

While you’ll likely never hold a 1998 Pokemon Japanese Promo Pikachu Holo Illustrator or a 1999 Pokemon Game Charizard-Holo 1st Edition #4 in your hands, you likely already have a rare Pokemon card or two in your collection without even knowing it.

But you don’t need to be a psychic type to figure out what you’ve got. In this article, we’ll break down the different Pokemon rarity symbols featured on Pokémon cards in circulation. With this info entered into your dex, you can initiate trades, online auctions, and even battles with confidence in your roster.

Pokemon Card Rarity Symbol Placement

Beyond rare features like misprints, rare holo and reverse holo designs, and more, most rare cards will display their rarity via a simple symbol added to the card’s layout. Depending on the series, a rarity symbol can appear in a number of different places on your Pokémon card. This could include the lower left or the lower right of the card.

Typically, any Pokemon card rarity symbols will be placed beside two other elements. The first is the card’s regulation mark, (which is a letter like F or E). The other element is the card’s set number, which is displayed as two numbers separated by a slash. The first number is the card’s number and the second is the set’s total number of cards.


A woman finds a pokemon rarity symbol

Pokemon Card Rarity Symbols Chart

Now that you know where to look, let’s break down what rarity symbols you might see. This way, you can stay on the lookout for ultra rare Pokemon card rarity symbols.

Black Circle

We’re sorry to break it to you. But a black circle next to your card’s series number means you’ve got a totally average card. You may also hear these referred to as “commons.”

Black circles are in moderately heavy rotation and likely will not fetch more than market value when sold. A common card isn’t inherently worthless, but to put it bluntly: it’s not rare.

Black Diamond

A black diamond next to your series number is a level up from a black circle. While not wildly rare Pokemon rarity symbols, these cards are referred to as “uncommon.”

You can generally expect a 2:1 ratio of common-to-uncommon cards in any mint Pokémon TCG deck. But don’t let the name fool you. Uncommon cards don’t tend to hold a lot of value, due to their circulation.

Black Star

Now we’re getting somewhere. A black star on your card means you’re holding something truly rare. These are the versions that card hunters are looking for. They tend to hold their value and fetch decent prices online.

Black Star with the Word PROMO Across It

Cards with a PROMO black star are the cream of the crop, as far as rarity symbols go. These ultra rare cards are typically only made available at special events like movie launches, game releases, or other promotional events.

There simply aren’t many promo cards in circulation. As such, they tend to fetch impressive prices in the online marketplace. Whatever you do, do not discard any PROMO black stars you might be holding!

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