Ideas for beginner looking to make a small profit

So I love opening cards and collecting, especially Pokémon. My goal is that I’d like to be able to open packs a lot, but not go broke lol. I want to get a complete set for the new Pokémon series.

Right now I’m buying darkness ablaze and have had amazing luck with Charizard Vmax’s.

If I could buy a case, and keep as many uniques for me, but sell cards too and break even, that would be amazing.

Would buying booster boxes of burning shadows work? Boy do I want that Charizard :blush:

I appreciate the advice.


Generally, it’s very rare for sealed product to have an expected value higher than its cost. If a $100 box has a $120 expected value, the box either needs to be more expensive or the cards have to be less expensive. And people enjoy opening sealed product a lot, so there’s generally premium associated with sealed product over the expected value of it. So I don’t expect that this would be possible, unfortunately :slightly_frowning_face:.

I hear Shining Tyranitar is the play


One idea is getting a case and selling a complete set, made from cards I get and buying the ones I don’t have. Is that a possible strategy?

I bought 2 boxes of Darkness Ablaze and two trainer boxes. I got 3 Charizard Vmax’s and sold 2 on eBay for $120 each. I realize I was lucky though lol


For new sets, the value of a complete set is not going to be any higher than the value of the cards in it. This is because anyone can just go on TCGPlayer and add one of each card from the set to their carts and, since the set is new, get all NM cards. The premium associated with having a complete set, if there ever is one, would be with older sets where it’s not always possible to get super high quality cards from TCGPlayer/Troll & Toad.

So I don’t think that would be a way to make money, but it could be a good way to sell off some of the bulk you pull.

I would recommend if you’re starting out, make an ad on Facebook marketplace and craigslist saying you are buying cards at 50% retail values (people will sell you cards in hopes you can make some money), because you’re reselling and once u make some profit with reselling cards on eBay, perhaps open these packs on twitch or youtube live, maybe you will be the next Leonheart n can afford opening packs for the rest of time :wink:

Hey there, and welcome!

So, this is a topic that easily will drive some very heavy and heated comments here, so just be forewarned there. My first suggestion would be to browse the forum a bit via the search bar with similar key words to your question to see what there is to offer, being that its been covered many of times and you could learn through comparing/contrasting others input in those realms.

Thats being said ill add a quick take which is that profit cannot be driven through “luck” alone. There has to be a foundation of data, research, time, and loads of effort which will go into trying to sustain some extra income through the hobby of collecting. Some things are seen more than others, such as the affirmed Charizard cards and how you can already see that they tend to move in an upwards notion. But others things arent seen and tend to not be considered immediately, such as other big hitting popular pokemon or how a specific card could only be obtained, prints runs, card distribution counts, popularity of sets, etc etc etc etc (this list goes on). All and all, if youre willing to put in this time to figure out these things and how they fit into your style of collecting, there is that possibility for some profit as well as loss for nothing in a speculative market can ever be 100 percent certain. With that, heres some bulleted tips which might push you in the right direction:

  1. buy what you enjoy. In the end, if your collecting for yourself to begin with, make sure that its something fulfilling to you so that if prices begin to plummet you will still be happy with your things. You dont want to be stuck with some cards you really hate but only were using to make money after all, so this point is typically a good starting one to jostle around in the brain.
  2. research, research, research. From pull rates to cards included in each set, to graded cards and how each company operates, youll want to look at all this information to best decide how you want to move going forward. It all is relevant to markets, so doesnt hurt to do this to best help guide you along through the process.
  3. make sure your focus isnt driven through profit, unless that is you are here for said reason (meaning those who are businesses). This is a very subject point, but take from it what you will. Being strictly of said nature will typically spell failure, especially when having to ask the question “how do i profit”. Warren Buffet wont give me his ticket to success if i asked him, so i wouldnt expect that from others here either, as is the way of the world. However, making connections and speaking to others here on various topics will help you to research better as noted in bullet 2, so that will take you further the more you engage positively with others and continue to do what you enjoy.
  4. just have fun. Life is short, and this get forgetton a lot in the collecting realm with myself included in the mix. Just today was hung up on the possible misgrading of a card i currently own, and even i had to stop myself in my track to enjoy the process of this all. Collecting is a patient over time thing and not a race, so in between, make sure that youre just having a good time and rolling with it all. From price increases to decreases, through each endless subjective debate you may find yourself in, theres always a silver lining to where you could just relax and have a good time.

Hope this helps in some sort of way, and again welcome :blush:


i’ve been doing box openings for about a year or so with every new product. if you sell code cards, group rares/rev rares, the hits, and sell the commons/uncommons as bulk, you should usually hit even, rarely for any profit. so if you are simply wanting to open more products without really paying any money (if you don’t count the work that goes into selling cards), then this is pretty good. although, you’ll have times where your hits are terrible and you probably lose 10-15$ on a 100$ booster box, but that’s pretty minimal if you are opening products once every few months.

with the darkness ablaze set, if you hit Charizard VMAX, which is not a difficult pull, although I heard you usually get maybe 1 every 1.5 boxes or so, you can get a healthy little profit. but again, this is not typical of every set.

edit: i see you want to keep cards for collections. this is a no-no. you can’t do this without spending more money, because you’ll be keeping valuable cards. no modern product will really allow you to break even and let you keep desirable cards such as secret rares, etc. actually, no sealed products will let you do that. otherwise, people would be buying boxes all day. sealed prices are supposed to be higher.

just make more money. don’t try to nickel and dime, save $5 here and there. work hard, get a good job that’ll pay, and just buy boxes. i mean these things are $100 a box. it’s not really big money.

If you can spare a couple of hundred as an initial way to get you started, what I used to do when I first started selling on eBay is something which still works pretty well:

  1. Find a modern Charizard card which people list as “Brand New”, “Pack Fresh” and “MINT” for under $10 that people actively buy PSA 8 copies for around $20;
  2. Buy a handful of the ones you believe stand a good chance at getting at least a PSA 8 grade when graded;
  3. Send them off to PSA for grading.

When you get them back from PSA you should end up with a handful of PSA 8, 9 and 10 graded Charizard cards (and no PSA 7 or lower grades if you did your due diligence). In an ideal world they’ll all be PSA 10s, but you’ll probably end up with a mix of the 3 top grades. For each card you’ll have now spent around $20 and will have a handful of PSA 8s which will get you your money back, PSA 9s which will get you somewhere between your money back and double initial down-payment (~$20-$40) and PSA 10s which will give you a pretty nice profit ($50-$100 or so).

Be warned though that this is a slow process. PSA’s turn-around times are around 4 months and you’re not going to want to list all of these cards at once so as to flood eBay with similar grades; you’ll want to sell them one at a time over the next 6 to 12 months - but by the end you’ll find that prices will have likely gone up in that time anyway, so it can be worth being patient.

A good example of this right now would be the SM211 Hidden Fates Tins Charizard. PSA 8 and PSA 9 copies sell for between $16 and $30 but can be bought as new for between $4 and $8, but where the main profit will come is from PSA 10 copies which sell for between $55 and $90.

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Dont buy at retail and expect to make money. Go big or go home. Get all the proper business/tax related documents (consult cpa and your local tax authority) to buy at distribution by the case vs buying at retail plus sales tax.

You will not make any money long term paying MSRP + sales tax on resale items and buying boxes for $100+ that your competitors are buying at sub $80.

All that or just simply collect by buying what you like and dont worry about selling too much.


Thank you everyone,

I guess I should have worded it more like this:

I have $300 to spend to get a bunch of Pokémon cards, and try to get a lot of a set.

I realized recently that if I sell what I don’t need I’m easily making back half of what I paid. Like someone said, just selling the codes even makes some money.

I do get the boosters for $90 though, I would never pay retail for stuff like that.

I’m not looking to profit, more to make my dollars go further

I also bought two boxes of the darkness ablaze bonus pack things, that gives you 2 packs of cards for just a bit above $2 each.

I’m hoping to make most of my money back there, selling cards I don’t need. I just hope the pull isn’t horrible.

Wow that’s a neat idea. Definitely playing the long game.

If your spending capital is $300, you’re better off picking up an extra shift at work to supplement your collection expenses. Not trying to dissuade you from trying new things to earn some spending money, but for the effort, adding another work shift is a better return on your time.


Ha, I’m an adult with 3 kids and saving for college. The issue is just wanting to get more out of what I have.

The same advice still applies. I realize it’s not the cool answer… but you asked for ideas/advice and that’s what you got. Work, save, increase your working capital and enjoy the hobby, that’s my advice:)


Listen to this guy. He probably has the biggest and most expensive collections in Pokemon*

*In plushies


Nobody here has mentioned that you will fail and mess up in the beginning, we all have. My advice is to learn as much as you can for a couple months before spending that limited amount of money that you have. Watch as many smpratte and pokenomics w/ Jake & Raffi youtube video’s as you can before you pull the trigger. This will hopefully save you from learning the hard way.

@gottaketchumall, don’t you need a brick and mortar shop to buy at distribution?

p.s. are you a seller? :3