Limited-edition card dubbed a safety hazard for guests and workers.

On September 28, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam opened its Pokémon x Van Gogh special exhibit, featuring a selection of Pocket Monster species reimagined in the artistic style of Vincent van Gogh. The star of the exhibit is the painting Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat, in which the Pokémon mascot stands in for the Dutch painter in his famous Self-portrait with Grey Felt Hat.

In addition to seeing the Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat painting, visitors to the exhibit could receive an exclusive Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat Pokémon card. However, while the Pokémon x Van Gogh event will be going on until January 7, the museum has already announced that it has stopped giving out Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat cards.

Limited-edition Pokémon merch running out before the scheduled end of a promotion isn’t shocking, but in this case the problem doesn’t seem to be a lack of card inventory, but safety concerns. On the official website for the event, the museum has posted a notice that “the promotional Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat trading card will no longer be issued by the Van Gogh Museum.” Later on, the page’s FAQ section contains the prompt “Why is the Pokémon x Van Gogh Museum promo card no longer available?”, with its posted answer being:

“The Van Gogh Museum and The Pokémon Company International take the safety and security of visitors and staff very seriously. 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. In this way, visitors will be able to experience this special collection of Pokémon paintings and the rest of the museum in a safe and enjoyable manner.”

No further details are provided as to what specific safety problems were being raised by the cards. If you’ve seen some of the videos of the museum’s gift shop that were taken once its Pokémon x Van Gogh merchandise collection went on sale…

…you might assume that the museum has stopped offering the Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat card in order to prevent stampeding/fighting among customers.

However, the card wasn’t being offered for direct sale. Instead, it was given to guests who completed a “Pokémon Adventure” quiz-style activity that encouraged them to learn about van Gogh’s paintings, so it shouldn’t have been a contributing factor to chaos in the gift shop. What’s more, even though the museum is no longer giving out the Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat card, it’s still selling Pokémon x Van Gogh T-shirts, canvas bags, magnets, artwork prints, and other items. The only announced piece of for-sale merch that’s no longer available is the Pikachu Van Gogh stuffed animal, which the museum says is “sold out,” as opposed to having been pulled for safety/security reasons.

As has sadly become the norm regarding limited-edition Pokémon cards, it didn’t take long for scalpers who’d managed to get their hands on the special cards to start offering them for resale online at high prices. Still, in and of itself that doesn’t seem like it would create a safety concern for museum visitors or staff, unless the worry was that the resale value of the cards was creating a robbery risk for the museum and/or card recipients on their way home from the event.

Thankfully, this isn’t the absolute end for the Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat card, as the English-language official Pokémon Twitter account has said that the card will become available to Pokémon Center shoppers. A US$30 purchase will be required, but that’s still a lot less than scalpers are charging.

Source: Van Gogh Museum via IT Media
Top image: The Pokémon Company
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