Pokémon’s next promo card reimagines Pikachu in the style of legendary painter Vincent Van Gogh - and, like any promotional Pokémon card, it’s quickly proved to be immensely popular with fans and would-be scalpers alike.
The Van Gogh promo card is being offered as part of a new Pokémon x Van Gogh exhibition in Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, marking the 50th anniversary of the museum celebrating the life and work of the hugely influential 19th-century painter - who was inspired himself by Japanese art prints, leading to a connection between the two.
Among other activities, the exhibition itself includes six Van Gogh paintings recreated with Pokémon, such as Sunflowers with a hidden Sunflora, and Snorlax and Munchlax making a cameo in The Bedroom.
Pokémon mascot Pikachu takes pride of place as Van Gogh himself in the artist’s 1887 work Self-portrait with Grey Felt Hat, which has subsequently been turned into a limited-edition promo card for the Pokémon TCG.
The promo card is being offered to those who book a ticket for the exhibition between September 28th and January 7th next year, who must then complete the Pokémon Adventure activity - a scavenger hunt leaflet designed to encourage children to learn more about Van Gogh’s original paintings - to receive the free card in person.
Despite being aimed at young children (the museum’s website says the activity is aimed at those aged six and up), the offer of a free Pokémon promo card has unsurprisingly drawn many older collectors to the museum in the hope of picking up the card.
Video posted to X/Twitter shows packed crowds of adults crammed into the museum and clearing out shelves of merchandise featuring the Van Gogh Pikachu, with the implication being that many are scalpers hoping to flip the limited promo card for a profit online - as has happened with a number of sought-after Pokémon promos in recent years, as the rarest Pokémon cards continue to sell for record sums.
“This makes me so sad and is why we can’t have nice things,” Pokémon influencer Joe Merrick of specialist site Serebii wrote in response to the footage. “I saw so many wanting to go over in the first few days just to get any card and merch to resell. This is not an acceptable practice. If you do that, shame on you.”
This makes me so sad and is why we can’t have nice things— Joe Merrick (@JoeMerrick) September 28, 2023
I saw so many wanting to go over in the first few days just to get any card and merch to resell. This is not an acceptable practice. If you do that, shame on you. https://t.co/vVHLHhVyZ1
The Van Gogh crossover isn’t the first time that Pokémon have been reimagined in the style of a legendary painter. In 2018, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum offered an official set of Pokémon cards inspired by Edvard Munch’s iconic painting The Scream, putting the likes of Pikachu, Eevee and Psyduck in the role of the haunted figure from the original. The collaboration marked the exhibition of The Scream in Japan for the first time.
A ‘pristine’ copy of the Pikachu Munch’s Scream card subsequently sold for $15,000 at auction earlier this year - going some way to explain why people are so keen to get their hands on this latest promo.