How to Tell If a Pokémon Card Is Shadowless

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After the 1st Edition run of Pokémon cards, the company decided to print more cards. They made them different by removing the 1st Edition stamps and making them shadowless. The new shadowless cards were essentially the same with a few minor differences. Shadowless cards specifically refer to the ones in the first run after the inaugural release of Pokémon cards.

Shadowless cards and 1st Edition cards were both shadowless and they differ from subsequent runs of cards. Continue reading to learn how to tell if a Pokémon card is shadowless.

Look for the Shadow on the Right Side of the Image

The easiest way to tell if you have a Shadowless Pokémon card is to look for a shadow along the right side of the Pokémon image. If you see a shadow, then it is not a shadowless Pokémon card. The shadow runs down the right side of the card and it was added after the second printing. All of the cards printed after this time have the shadow. For this reason, it is easy to distinguish the valuable first edition and shadowless Pokémon cards from later runs.

However, since both the first edition and the shadowless editions have a shadow, you won’t be able to use this method to distinguish them from one another. You will have to look at the bottom right corner of the box that has the Pokémon inside. If it is a first edition, it will have a black circle with a “1” in the middle and the word “edition” around the top of the circle.

Check the Copyright Dates at the Bottom of the Card

When you look at the bottom of the card, you will see the copyright symbol followed by dates. Both shadow and shadowless cards will have 1995, 96, 98. However, the shadowless cards will also have 99. Any card that has the year 99 in that location is shadowless and a first- or second-run card.

Examine the Printing Color on the Top Right of the Card

Finally, when you examine the top right corner, the font of the number is thinner. You might need to be looking at two cards side by side to note that one has thinner print but this is a definite difference.

It is important to note that all first-edition cards are shadowless and they are more valuable than the other shadowless cards. However, both types do have more value than later runs.

Shadowless cards also came in booster boxes and in booster packs, and they also have a few distinct features. When you look at the outside of a booster box, look at Charizard’s wings. If the wings are green, the booster box is shadowless. Charizard has blue wings on the non-shadowless box. There are also slight differences between Venasaur and Blastoise but the main difference is Charizard.

With the booster packs, you will notice that the shadowless packs have the Trading card game logo on the bottom of the pack. If the pack is not shadowless, the logo is on the top of the pack. In addition, with the shadowless booster packs, you will see “11 Tradable Game Cards” printed beneath the logo, whereas shadow booster packs will have “11 Additional Game Cards.” This is a slight difference but it is a distinguishing feature.

One final difference between the shadowless booster packs and the shadow booster packs is that you will see three game cards above the logo in the shadowless booster pack.

If you collect Pokémon cards, it is important to know how to tell if your Pokémon card is shadowless, as well as to know whether they are real or fake. The shadowless cards are the first and second printings of Pokémon cards, and they are the rarest and the most valuable. Once you learn the steps listed above, you should have no trouble distinguishing them. The key is to look for the shadow along the right side of the image.

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