Van Gogh Museum scraps Pokemon cards over safety concerns

The Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam said it would no longer hand out a prized Pokemon card after the giveaway sparked crushes by "scalpers" reselling it for exorbitant prices.

By:AFP
| Updated on: Oct 14 2023, 15:16 IST
Pokemon GO
But it also attracted die-hard Pokemon fans keen to get their hands on a limited edition "Pika-portrait" card. (Unsplash)
Pokemon GO
But it also attracted die-hard Pokemon fans keen to get their hands on a limited edition "Pika-portrait" card. (Unsplash)

The Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam said Saturday it would no longer hand out a prized Pokemon card after the giveaway sparked crushes by "scalpers" reselling it for exorbitant prices. Launched with great fanfare last month to mark the museum's 50th anniversary, the collaboration with Pokemon aimed to inspire younger visitors and included exhibitions on the artist's links with Japan.

But it also attracted die-hard Pokemon fans keen to get their hands on a limited edition "Pika-portrait" card.

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"Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat" showed the yellow character in a pose inspired by a famous Van Gogh self-portrait and was available after completing a "quest" around the museum.

"Recently, a small group of individuals has created an undesirable situation that has led us to take the difficult decision to remove the Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat promo card from the museum," the Amsterdam institution said in a statement.

This was done to allow visitors to explore the exhibits in a "safe and enjoyable manner" and was taken with the "safety and security" of staff in mind, the museum added.

Several visitors posted videos on social media showing unruly scenes at the museum as fans pushed and shoved to get their hands on prized Pikachu merchandise.

Because the cards are limited-edition, collectors hoping to "catch them all" are prepared to pay huge prices to get them.

So-called "scalpers" obtain as many as they can to resell them on trading websites. "Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat" has been changing hands for hundreds of dollars, with one going on eBay for an ambitious $6,969.

Fans from Britain, the United States, and Canada will soon get another chance to pick up the rare card via the "Pokemon Center", the museum said, with retailers in the Netherlands selling them again early next year.

But "it will not be available via the Van Gogh Museum," the statement stressed.

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First Published Date: 14 Oct, 14:52 IST
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