The Rare Van Gogh Pokémon Card That Shook the World

The Pokémon Trading Card Game's collaboration with Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum has led to a beautiful and highly sought-after exclusive.

Photo: eBay / The Pokémon Company

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“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart,” may sound like a verse from the Pokémon theme song, but it’s actually a quote from Vincent van Gogh, the renowned Post-Impressionist painter. Van Gogh isn’t a name that most people would associate with Pokémon, and rightfully so. 

However, a recent collaboration between the Pokémon Trading Card Game and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum has forever linked the talented artist with the adorable media franchise. The new card, Pikachu With Grey Felt Hat, has devoted fans and hobbyists on the hunt and will to pay big bucks if it means procuring this special hybrid of fine art and Pokémania. 

Rare and exclusive promotional Pokémon cards are hardly a new wrinkle in the collector community. There are dozens of special cards that the majority of the fandom only dream of adding to their decks, due to the extremely special circumstances behind their existence. 

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For instance, 1998’s Pikachu-Holo Illustrator card was only made available as a prize in an original Pokémon illustration contest that was held in Japan. Chansey (64 Mario Stadium Best Photo Contest 1999) is another rare prize from a contest that was held on the Japanese TV show, 64 Mario Stadium, where the best photographs from Pokémon Snap were turned into official cards. 1998’s Trophy Pikachu Gold card is a coveted item that was only awarded to the top three players in Japan’s Pokémon Lizardon tournament. In essence, all of these Pokémon treasures practically require a Master Ball to obtain. 

However, the Pikachu With Grey Felt Hat card puts these other rarities to shame and is already making major waves, on an international scale, in the Pokémon Trading Card Game community.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023, the museum recruited a group of renowned Japanese artists to transform van Gogh’s work into a veritable Pokémon adventure. Naoyo Kimura, Tomokazu Komiya, and sowsow created Pokémon paintings based on pivotal works of art, such as a Sunflora-inspired rendition of Sunflowers and a version of The Bedroom that features the adorable duo of Munchlax and Snorlax. Many of these pieces were made available as merchandise in the museum’s gift shop, including Pikachu With Grey Felt Hat, which is inspired by Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat.

The Van Gogh Museum instituted a rule that each attendee could only receive one of these special cards by completing the museum’s “Pokémon Adventures” activity, yet some guests managed to accrue numerous cards many of which have ended up online and subjected to the collector community’s intense passion. “The exclusive Pokémon card caused such chaos inside the museum, with people climbing over each other to get their hands on the collectible, that the institution had to scale back on the promotion and change strategy. 

The Pokémon Company International instead made the van Gogh card available to purchase off of the Pokémon Center website to help reduce foot traffic at the museum. But despite these good intentions, the website was unable to meet demand and ran out of product in only three hours, which means that Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat is still one of 2024’s most in-demand Pokémon cards. It’s a curious way in which the Pokémon Trading Card Game community is analogous to that of the fans and collectors of modern art. There’s equal passion and artistry between these subcultures, even if it’s only the latter that’s typically showcased within a museum. Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat proves that even a trading card can contain the levels of creativity and imagination that invoke unbridled enthusiasm in audiences, whether it’s behind glass or in someone’s card deck.

Per eBay, global searches for Pikachu trading cards on September 29th on the platform increased nearly 150 percent, compared to September 28th, the day on which the exhibition opened.

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With this beautiful card still finding its way to many excited fans, its imparting some art history knowledge in the process. Van Gogh left an indelible mark in the history of fine art, and thankfully die-hard Pokémon Trading Card Game enthusiasts can share a small piece of this legacy – if they can track it down. It’s always smart to keep an eye on eBay listings, which are full of surprises and make it quite possible to attain Post-Impressionist Pikachu perfection without needing to use the Fly HM to take a trip to the Netherlands.

You can find Pikachu With Grey Felt Hat on eBay here. Visit eBay to find more incredible collectibles