What is the Pokemon Fan Club?
Well, what was the Pokemon fan club would be more accurate, as the organization ceased to exist after 2002, and was replaced by the Pokemon Players’ Club in 2003. This club existed only in Japan, and members could attend events and battle each other to earn GET points (GET points were only earned for participating in official events) which could be redeemed for exclusive cards and Jumbo promos released only through the Pokemon fan club. The redemption of points had to be done in a certain time frame to receive the cards, so even if you had banked enough points to earn a card, you may have had only a few months to redeem before the promotion ended. The goal with the Pokemon fan club was to bring Pokemon players together and add a bit of excitement to battle events. A player didn't need to win a tournament to get one of the exclusive promos if they were consistently earning points by attending events and battling.
What were these Fabulous Promo Prizes?
The three cards given out in 2000 are the most recognized and circulated from the Pokemon Fan Club era. Pictured below we have the Eevee (redeemed at 500 points), Shining Magikarp (600 points), and the Porygon (700 points).
The Porygon was created by Imakuni himself, and is a fan club exclusive artwork, same as the Eevee. The Magikarp of course is easily recognizable as the same artwork that would be featured in Neo 3 (Neo Revelation) next to the Shining Gyarados. The difference between the two is the lack of a holo pattern behind Magikarp on the Fan Club version as well as different texturing on Magikarp itself. All three of these cards have between 150-200 copies graded at PSA, so they aren't impossible to find, but certainly require a bit of digging, particularly if you are hunting for the 10. You’ll also need thousands of dollars for the gem mint grades, so good luck!
I also have to highlight the Happy New Year Gyarados Jumbo released in 2000 with a Charizard and Dragonite in the background. First, the artwork is incredible. Second, it is very difficult to find, but an absolute beauty if you can get your hands on one. It will cost you however, so be ready to shell out if you see a copy worthy of your collection.
If you didn't hit the benchmark of 500 to at least get the Eevee, there were lower tier prizes to redeem. The Fan Club released a multitude of Jumbo promos, such as the Tropical Present Jumbo that could be awarded to any Fan Club member who earned 100 points in the first half of 1999. This art for the Fan Club jumbos are mostly exclusive to the Fan Cub, save one Jumbo which features artwork from the Southern Islands collection, which adds to their collectibility as well as their price tag for those trying to add them to a collection.
Members who earned 200 points could trade them in for this New Century Present Jumbo promo starting August 1, 2000. The next jump up was the Eevee at 500 points so Fan Members looking to aim higher than this jumbo had to be fairly serious in their quest to earn more points before the promotional cards were no longer available.
After 2002, the Pokemon Fan Club was no more, but its successor, the Pokemon Player’s Club, continued to provide stellar cards for members to chase with the points they accumulated through battling in organized events. Some “Play” promos are some of the priciest Japanese cards from their time, and the point threshold to obtain copies was quite high and certainly not attainable by just the casual Pokefan. The Mew Ex from 2003 demanded 7000 points for a copy, and the PSA 10’s are in the thousands if you’d like one for your vault or shoebox under the bed. This is not true for every card however, and if you have a couple hundred to spend, these are definitely some exclusive cards to look into picking up. For most Play promos, the artworks were never used for other cards in English, which makes them quite appealing to collectors looking to add some pieces of intrigue to a more traditional set by set collection. The value is definitely there when investing in gem mint versions of these cards, and it can be very fun to chase down one-off artworks that the Play promos offer us. Happy hunting!