Where to Buy 1997 Pokemon Scratch CardsI share my best tricks for finding these cards, after two years of chasing these around the globe!
Shopping for Rare Japanese Pokemon Cards
In 2018, I had an unbelievable stroke of luck. My son and I were visiting a local card shop and we found two packs of the 1997 Tomy Scratch cards. I was instantly hooked. Since then, I’ve been searching for these all over the planet and am glad to share what I’ve learned along the way.
Below, I will cover buying on eBay, overseas sites and social networks.
Translations of Rare Pokemon Searches:
Here is a short cut for ya’ll. I hope it is helpful for when you’re searching on the overseas platforms (like Mercari & Yahoo Auctions Japan, as described below).
Pokemon Scratch – in Japanese:
Carddass – in Japanese:
Topsun in Japanese:
Pokemon in Japanese
Pikachu in Japanese
eBay Listings – Worldwide
In hyper rare markets, like 1997 Tomy Scratch, you have to get creative. I have numerous eBay saved searches and have found some cards that way, but you likely won’t meet your goals relying on eBay alone.
– Be sure to toggle the filter “Item Location -> Worldwide” to be aware of all listings.
– I’ve had luck with listings in Asia and Europe.
– Create saved searches to be alerted when new listings pop up. You may need to be quick.
– With Tomy Scratch cards, always view the backs (or ask for photos), you only want to purchase “unscratched” cards.
Sample eBay Saved Searches:
(scratch,cards,card) tomy pokemon -plush -figure -figures -1999
– remember to toggle the “Worldwide” item location results before saving!
Japanese Marketplaces & Proxy Buyers (Buyee)
The top source for any rare Japanese Pokemon cards is on Japanese ecommerce platforms. This should come as no surprise, yet very few utilize them or even know how.
Saved Search links:
– Below I provide some sample Mercari & Yahoo links. I recommend saving these to your Bookmark bar or phone screen and clicking them multiple times per day (or at least daily).
– Many of you may shop on Mercari.com, but you’re missing out if you don’t have saved searches on their Japanese market platform. There are awesome lots and singles of pre-99 cards including Carddass & TopSun, in addition to Tomy Scratch & more. The arbitrage can be extreme if you can buy raw cards in Japan, import them and grade them here.
– Mercari listings are “buy it now” style. You need to be fast to land the hottest products.
Mercari Link to Tomy Scratch listings:
– In my experience, it works best to search using the Japanese words or phrases. Use Google translate to get these or find a listing and figure out which words correspond to your need. I have samples below for common searches.
– Use “Buyee.jp” as your Mercari buying agent. They charge a fee, but they have buyers who will go out and make the purchase for you. They can also bundle several of your buys together into one package for a fee. This saves on shipping and I usually try to do this. They also handle shipping it to the US for you!
– Know that a local Japanese buyer may beat you to the punch, even if you commit to Buyee to acquire it for you. If somebody gets there before Buyee does, you will get a refund from Buyee.
– Almost every Japanese listing will portray cards in poor / dirty condition, but it means very little. They’re covering their tracks. Inspect images closely. If the card is cheap enough, and the photos aren’t great, I’ll sometimes just buy it and take my chances. You can ask questions through Buyee, but it’s slow and you’ll miss good deals if you take time to do that.
– Returns. I’ve never messed with these. I just take the good with the bad. 🙂
Yahoo Auctions Japan
– This is the eBay of Japan, with some minor but important differences. You will also use Buyee to make your bids, but they do a great job of allowing you to bid just like you were local.
– You can follow auctions and bid just like eBay.. BUT, these auctions will be extended for 5 minutes at a time, any time there is a bid in the last five minutes. I’ve sat and bid on these auctions for hours after the expected closing time.
– Yahoo also displays products available for immediate purchase, but their main game is auctions.
Sample Search at Yahoo Auctions Japan (Tomy Scratch)
The same tips as Mercari apply here.
Forums and Instagram
In a social media world, social commerce and networks are the best way to uncover these rare gems.
– My favorite forum for Pokemon is efour.
– First and foremost – join & contribute value
– after a while, search for the cards that you’re looking for and private message those who participate around those topics or share that they have a set of cards.
– once you’ve accrued enough respect there, you could even make a buy post or a conversation starter around it.
Here are sample posts about Tomy Scratch at e4 forums:
– Search on hashtags to find anyone who might have some of these.
– Reach out to them to see if they have any cards for sale (be kind and generous)! They may even know others with them.
Sample Instagram Hashtags to search for Scratch cards: