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Collecting Ė general advice

Most of the suggestions that follow are pretty much common sense but you'd be amazed how often people break even the most basic of these rules. To help you get along well with other collectors it might be worth keeping the following in mind.

There are several ways to gain the cards that you require; the first is buying the packets. This is pretty much a hit and miss pursuit but is perhaps the simplest method. There is also the option of buying on-line from reputable retailers. Essentially if you spend enough and you will get the card you want, perhaps though it might be worth considering swapping cards with your fellow collectors.

The first thing to keep in mind is that cards have different rarities. You can tell how rare a card is by the symbol on the bottom right hand side. If itís a circle itís common, if itís a diamond itís moderately rare and if itís a star itís rare. Simple as that. The rule of thumb states that four circles are worth a diamond and four diamonds are worth a star.

This isnít always the case, because some cards are rarer than youíd think. Letís take the Base set Charazard. Regardless what the rules say no-ones going to give you it for four diamond cards. That is unless itís fake. Sadly there is quite a large market for fake Pokemon cards. Iím going to give you a few pointers so you can avoid them:

. If the picture doesnít look right be careful. This doesnít automatically mean its fake, you may just have not come across this card before, but check it out first.

. If the card is shiny when it shouldnít be its fake

. If the card is shiny all over (only the picture should be shiny) itís fake (Minus Ancient Mew that is)

. If it doesnít have the official copyright notice at the bottom then itís fake

. If the back of an English card says pocket monsters (or the back of a Japanese card for that matter) itís fake

. Japanese cards are a tricky issue, but keep the above in mind and chances are youíll be ok.

Swapping fake cards, or dealing in them yourself, might seem like a good idea but it isnít. It sheds severe doubt on your credibility and is not at all worthwhile. Being fake isnít the only thing that will lower the value of your cards; the condition has some impact too.

So when your pokemon card collection is starting to expand it pays to take good care of it. You need a collectorís card folder and card inserts. This will prevent the card getting scratched, bent lost or dirty. They may seem quite expensive but are worthwhile and can be bought at pretty much any stationary store or online. This will keep you cards in pristine condition and help if you ever want to trade them.

Although it might seem complicated collecting cards itís actually quite a fun and sociable pursuit if you swap with people. It helps if you consider the following suggestions.

Be polite at all times, not only is it good manners but also helps your swapping to go much smoother and makes people more likely to swap with you in the future.

Itís best not too touch other peopleís cards without asking, especially if you don't know them. The reason for this is pretty simple, namely that you may well be a law abiding citizen that would never dream of stealing other peoples cards but strangers donít know that. If you would like to look at another person cards ask: even if they are a friend.

In the same vein if the cards are presented in collectors pockets then they are done so for a reason. Do not remove them from the protective covers. The owner of the cards is obviously careful and wants to take good care of them. This may seem painfully obvious but itís happened to me several times. Essentially the idea is to take really good care of other peoples cards.

Be fair to your fellow traders and donít try to cheat or hustle them. This is a really good rule to stick by, especially with those new to the game. This is just out of plain niceness but also keep in mind that those you do cross you might need something from later and they arenít very likely to give you it are they?

Don't get cheated or hustled yourself. Know exactly what your cards are worth and don't take any less. Know how to recognise fake cards and have absolutely nothing to do with them. Essentially the moral of this is know the rules and stick to them.

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