A Pokémon Card Returns to the Van Gogh Museum’s Gift Shop With Tightened Security

The limited-edition 'Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat' card was modeled on Van Gogh's 1887 original.

Pikachu inspired by Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat by Naoyo Kimura (1960). Image: The Pokémon Company International.

A much hyped Pokémon card featuring Pikachu in the style of Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait will be made available again next month. Intended to promote a special Pokémon-themed program of events at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the limited edition card had to be pulled last year after frenzied crowds plunged the museum into chaos.

Desperation to secure the limited edition Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat card, which was modeled on Van Gogh’s 1887 original, reached a fever pitch after its release in September. A mob was recorded storming the museum gift shop’s cash register in videos that were posted online. It appears that many of these supposed Pokémon fans were hoping to scoop up as many of the rare collectibles as possible in order to resell them on eBay for a big profit. Some cards were reportedly going for as much as $600.

The museum’s gift shop did not initially limit the number of cards that a single customer could take, but only one card could be redeemed per ticket for the Pokémon exhibit and hopeful buyers also had to complete a “Pokémon Adventures” activity. By October, however, the Van Gogh Museum announced that it had withdrawn the card in the interests of “the safety and security of visitors and staff.”

In February, select stores in the Netherlands will apparently be given a fresh stock of the cards intended for legitimate fans only. Though Pokémon has not yet confirmed the news, online fansite Pokébeach claimed that the Japanese brand’s distributors have been in contact with Dutch gaming stores, offering them 100 copies of the prized card to be given for free to customers who spend at least €30 ($32) on Pokémon merch. Artnet News has reached out to Pokémon for confirmation but did not hear back by publication time.

Since rumors of this relaunch began spreading among fans, the online resale prices for Pikachu’s Post-Impressionist self-portrait has apparently begun to dip slightly from around $170 to $150, according to TheGamer. Other Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat merchandise offered by the Van Gogh Museum included stuffed toys, T-shirts, coloring books, tote bags, and notebooks, but none of these were quite as in demand as the limited edition playing card.

Popular since the 1990s, Pokémon cards are still highly sought-after collectibles that often sell for much more than their face value on the secondary market. An unopened first edition set sold for $408,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas in early 2021.


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