What Are Shadowless Pokemon Cards?


Shadowless Pokemon cards are the first prints of the "Unlimited" main line of cards. These cards, like their later prints, were printed without the first edition stamp that the original cards were printed with. The manufacturer determined that the cards looked plain without the stamp and made changes to the appearance. The few Unlimited cards without these changes are considered collectors' items.


  • The primary sign of a shadowless Pokemon card is the border around the card's main picture. Most Unlimited cards have black lines or a "shadow" around the picture, mainly around the right side and bottom edges. The first few cards printed didn't have this black shadow, and thus were given the name "shadowless."


  • The font on the cards is different as well. The shadowless cards' type is thinner and not as bold as the type on the later prints of the unlimited cards. This is noticeable on the monster's listed "HP" above the top right-hand corner of the picture. It's also noticeable on the monster's special abilities listed below the picture; these words take up less space on the shadowless cards.


  • The cards have different dates printed on them, because they were printed differently. The regular unlimited series cards have the dates "1995,96,98" printed in the bottom of the card. The shadowless cards have the dates "1995,96,98,99."


  • The colors are not quite as bold and bright on the shadowless cards, compared to their other Unlimited prints. The newer cards were made so their colors would stand out more--including the picture, the card's shaded background and the border. The shadowless cards look somewhat faded by comparison.


  • Some vendors and collectors may claim that shadowless Pokemon cards are actually fake or counterfeit cards. This is not the case; it's just that the cards were only printed once in this style before the changes were made to the Unlimited line.


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