What Are Shadowless Pokemon Cards?

shadowless Pokemon cards
Credit: Erik Mclean

You may not recognize the term “shadowless Pokemon cards,” but they are an extremely valuable set of Pokemon cards that came out at the start of the franchise. If you want a deeper dive into this exclusive set of cards, continue reading for our overview.

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What Does Shadowless Mean?

difference between shadowless pokemon cards
Credit: Youtube

“Shadowless” refers to a detail printed on the Pokemon cards. These specific cards were released during the early days of the trading game since the Pokemon company was still experimenting with the design and production. On the card, the artwork does not have a shadow around the right edge of it, rather it is 2d on the printed card. This earns those cards the title of “shadowless” and dramatically increases the collectibility of these versions.

They changed this design to include a shadow behind the artwork to create a more polished Pokemon card, and this new design would be featured on all subsequent printings after the seventh original printing.

Which Pokemon Cards Are Shadowless?

Two sets have the unique shadowless characteristic. These are the Pokemon Base Set first edition cards, and the Pokemon Base Set second edition cards.

The Original Pokemon Base Set – 1st Edition

More commonly known as “1st Edition” Pokemon cards, they are still shadowless but also contain the “Edition 1” insignia. This helps differentiate between the two printings and gives the first edition more value. Since they contain the “Edition 1” logo, this first printing is the rarest and most valuable of the Base Set print runs.

Since the set was printed, distributed, and sold out before Pokemon card collecting took root in the United States, they are especially sought after by avid collectors. If you can find one of these cards in mint condition, don’t be surprised when they are valued at over a thousand dollars. For instance, a mint-level Charizard can fetch up to $5,000.

The Original Pokemon Base Set – 2nd Edition

The second edition of the shadowless Pokemon cards is less valuable than the “Edition 1” cards, but they still can fetch a good amount of money and are a vital piece of Pokemon’s history. For this edition, make sure to look for the copyright line that reads “© 1995, 96, 98, 99 Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK. © 1999 Wizards.” This will help authenticate your shadowless card, especially from trainer cards.

If you can find a near-mint condition Charizard from the second printing, the retail value can climb up to $1,000.

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What Is a First Edition Shadowless Pokemon Card?

first edition shadowless pokemon cards
Credit: TCG Player

A first-edition shadowless Pokemon card has no shadow beneath the right side of the artwork of the Pokemon and has “Edition 1” printed on the left side of the card just below the artwork. These cards had low print volumes, making them quite valuable in the Pokemon trading card world. If you can find a near-mint version of these cards, you could get thousands of dollars for it, depending on which Pokemon is displayed.

Are First or Second-Edition Pokemon Shadowless Cards More Valuable?

First-edition shadowless cards are more valuable than their second-edition counterpart, but both sets can fetch a pretty hefty price when put up for auction. The main reason first-editions can gain more money is due to the “Edition 1” label on the card. But, both are valuable not only because they are shadowless, but because of the history they carry.

This is the first time Pokemon cards were ever printed, and were only done in smaller volumes. It shows where Pokemon began to where they are now — a giant in the pop culture industry.

All Pokemon cards are unique and valuable when they are in mint condition, but some make collectors itch to buy them, like the shadowless Pokemon cards. These cards are few and far between, holding lots of value for both the collector and the lover of Pokemon. Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll be able to sort through your collection, finding those hidden gems in the form of shadowless Pokemon cards.

Alexandria is a News Editor, writer, and reader of all things literature. She graduated from the State University of... More about Alexandria Wyckoff

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