Valuable Pikachu cards have been removed from the Netherlands Van Gogh Museum due to safety concerns. The cards, featuring Pikachu drawn in the style of Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Gray Felt Hat, were a free promo given away with gift shop purchases at a Pokémon-themed exhibition. However, it seems scalpers and fans descended on the museum in droves, causing it to withdraw the desirable promo altogether.
According to the Van Gogh museum’s FAQ page “a small group of individuals… created an undesirable situation” which meant the Pikachu card had to be pulled for the “safety and security” of visitors and staff. Videos posted online show shoving in the giftshop and scalpers hoarding multiple copies of the card. (The museum’s website says “sales are limited to one item per product per person”.)
eBay is already littered with copies of this rare Pokémon card, with many sellers offering batches of ten or so for hundreds of dollars. The most expensive single copy of the card – a PSA 10 graded version – sold on October 9 for a ridiculous $1948: that could easily fund the price of a plane ticket to Amsterdam, where the museum is located.
The Van Gogh Museum’s collaboration with the Pokémon TCG began on September 28, 2023. Initial copies of the promo Pikachu card sold out on day 1, and The Pokémon Company tweeted out an apology on September 29, stating that it was working on a way for more fans to obtain copies of the card. On October 12 it announced that copies would soon be available for free from The Pokémon Center store, thrown in with all purchases worth $30 or more “while supplies last”.
Which makes us wonder why anyone would throw hundreds of dollars at the card now. Of course, it remains to be seen how many copies of the card are included in this reprint or whether they’ll all be snapped up quickly by scalpers as well.
As well as the card that caused all this chaos, the Pokémon x Van Gogh exhibition included a number of Van Gogh-inspired paintings featuring Pokémon, such as a version of Sunflowers featuring Sunflora, or a Snorlax asleep in the artist’s The Bedroom. Though the card will not be returning to the art museum, the exhibition will run until January 7, 2024.