Don’t have a spare $10,000 to buy your favourite trophy cards? No need to worry – there are plenty of other cool cards that you can collect (and some of them won’t make you bankrupt!)
Rather than a boring, whiny article about how everyone should be collecting with their cards (maybe I should wait until people actually have some money to burn ), I thought I’d whet everyone’s appetites with a pic’n’mix article – unconnected thoughts about collecting that I’ve had recently that hopefully you’ll find interesting too.
I've split this article into 2 parts. The first gives a few little insights in how to collect, and some tidbits into the collecting scene. It's not supposed to be detailed, more like random thoughts - have a read and see if it makes you eager for more!
The second part is probably more to everyone's tastes. Who doesn't like cool promos? Here is a roundup of cards old and new that I've been excited about lately, and thought I'll share them with you. This isn't supposed to be a sequel to my article about ultra-rare cards, but the true collector likes all cards, not just the one that'll net you the thousands!
Part 1: On collecting
We’ve come a long way from WotC
Ah, remember the good old days? Well, actually, I don’t. All I can remember is the mass hysteria over 1st edition Base Set Charizard, ridiculous breaks between sets, and a very lacklustre set of promo cards (OK, we got a few goodies, but nowhere near enough!).
Under PUI, not only has the game become better to play, it’s become better to collect. We get a lot more of the promos that Japan does (either in our usual sets or in a catch-all like EX: Emerald), we still get black-star promos and we get POP packs. Bottom line is that we’re a lot better off than in those good ol’ days. It might get a little confusing trying to work out which cards we haven't got from Japan these days, but at least the answer isn't 'most of them'!
If I had one complaint, it would be with PCL and not PUI. The DP promos were full of alternate arts, and after a while, it was hard to get excited over any of them. I think the situation has already started to improve with the DPt promos, with more exciting promos already announced, so we should see a quick return to form.
With the internet more widespread, buying cards has never been easier, and has seen prices for cards come down a lot, especially if you’re willing to search through trading forums or on eBay. The internet is a godsend for another reason; there’s a lot more information about cards than ever before.
I’m not the only one out there
OK, I've talked about how we're better off then before, but what does that matter if you can't talk to anyone about your ultra-cool cards? Fear no more, because I'm about to make a shameless plug (but I’m not affiliated with the site in any way, so I don’t care!): check out www.collectorviper.com. Not only is it all kinds of awesome, hopefully the site will eventually reach its goal of having high-res scans of every Pokémon card out there.
It concentrates on Japanese cards, which is a rarity these days, so you get to learn about even cool promos just released over there. Check it out!
The obligatory Japanese paragraph
Come on, any article about collecting has to mention Japanese cards! Besides, lots of people on the 'gym will be going to league or OP, which is a great way to pick up English cards. I won't go on about this for ages because I find that people either care about Japanese cards, like me, or just don't. It's a bit like Marmite like that (do Americans get Marmite?)
The one thing I will say is that if you want to get a heads up on new sets, think about getting a box of the latest Japanese set. There are still 11 cards per booster last time I checked, and the ultra-rare cards are easier to find. Getting one box will get you the vast majority of the set, and two boxes will get you all, or very nearly all of the set (even the three new secret cards from the latest sets).
Part 2: Some cool cards
Not all cool cards are ridiculously expensive (1)
Whew! We still haven’t got to any pretty pictures yet! I’m about to remedy that now – check this out:
What’s so cool about it? Remember like 10 years ago where you had to do some pretty crazy stuff to get a card? This is how you can get your hands on this one:
If you can read Japanese or want to see more pictures, check out http://www.pokemon-card.com/special/sunday_quiz/lucario_card/#h203 for more detailsLocal stores in Japan, such as Daiei, will be stocking the card to be given away when you give them the keyword "Roger" in store and trade them a fighting-type card from DPt2 for one day only with a limit of one car per-person.
(Source: collectorviper.com – seriously, check it out!)
Now secret keywords, even those that are broadcast to millions on a national kids TV show, are always cool. I doubt it’ll be that expensive either, so hunt it down!
Not all cool cards are ridiculously expensive (2)
OK, the next batch are a little pricey, but I think they’re still really cool cards:
These are the cards from the Pokepark binders, and are so adorable! Pokepark is a temporary theme park, currently in Taiwan. These binders are from the original park in Nagoya, Japan, and there are two of them – the PokePark Forest binder (the left one) and the PokePark Blue binder (the one on the right)
What’s slightly confusing is that these cards were reprinted, with different art and logos of the different rides at the park. As an example, see the Pikachu card above? Here’s its reprinted version:
Pikachu PokéPark Reprint
(More information can be found at Bulbapedia.) Just remember that if you’re going for a set, you know which one’s you’re getting. Two easy ways to be sure:
1. The reprints have the conventional promo set symbol (1st image below); the originals from the binders have symbols for the Forest binder (2nd image below) and the Blue one (3rd image below):
2. The reprints have cute logos where the Illustrator would usually be.
One odd thing I’ve noticed is that the Pokepark set symbols are no longer listed on the official symbol page… spooky!
Ultra-cool and ultra-rare (1) – ‘Pokemon Illustrator’
Oh, what the heck! We’ve seen some cool cards, I’ve talked about collecting for a bit – let’s get right down to it and see some really rare cards!
The seasoned collector will have heard of this one – CoroCoro magazine ran a competition to allow kids to illustrate cards – these ended up in the ‘Vending’ series (we’ll ignore for the minute that that is not their real name – some day I should write an article about that). What was the reward for their efforts? Why, it was this:
How rare is the card? I dunno, really. Dealers have varying opinions, from 6 (which can't be right, because there are more fan-illustrated cards in the 'Vending' series), to 100. One theory goes that because these cards were given to kids (some quite young), a lot of the cards are damaged or neglected as their true worth was not immediately recognised. One thing is for sure - a lot of collectors would love to get this one in their collection, so its sure to be worth a lot.Pokemon Illustrator
We certify that your illustration is an excellent entry in the Pokémon Card Game Illustration Contest. Therefore, we state that you are an Officially Authorized Pokémon Card Illustrator and admire your skill.
Bonus round (1): Did you know that the card is one of the few that has a double black rarity? Whether that means anything or not is debatable though - PCL weren't exactly known for consistency in those days.
Bonus round (2): Annoyed that Japan gets all the cool contests to do stuff like illustrate Pokemon cards? Well, you’re wrong, ‘cause WB Kids ran a contest of their own. The winning entries were:
That Mudkip in particular is absolutely spectacular (and dare I say it, on a different planet from some of the art from the 'Vending' series).
Ultra-cool and ultra-rare (2) – The VS. set
Carrying on the theme of ultra-rare cards in English (see where this is going yet?), how about this card?
No, it’s not a fake, it’s actually prototype English VS cards! Really! The cards were given to participants of the Tropical Mega Battle Tournament see http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Alley/2247/Tmb2001.txt which has an account of these cards. Only 30 cards were prototyped in this way (so definitely not the entire set). Note the weird copyright (there’s no year), and the two faces as a ‘set symbol’, signifying the coming together of cultures at the tournament (I think).
Oh, and by the way, I have more scans of the English VS. set! (I'll probably end up putting them into the gallery, so you can see them there!)
Wow, that was longer than planned! Let me know what you think about this type of article - it's definitely different from the usual articles here on the 'gym. There's a lot of other cool cards that I haven't mentioned, so if you like, eventually there'll be more like it!