FPO - For Position Only Cards Official Guide

History of the FPO cards

Introduced to the Pokemon world in 2013 are the For Position Only (FPO) test cards.

*The second Manhole image above is only to demonstrate where the FPO text is.


Prior to the release of the Expedition E-Reader expansion, WOTC ran some tests of the rares through the printers and inserted them into unreleased packs for internal use only. The packs had the same artwork as the LEGENDARY Collection packs, as this was the most recent set and Expedition was not out yet, but they were never distributed outside of the design team.

Before these test packs were being destroyed, a former WOTC employee saved them from the shredder and kept them in his personal collection. He opened a few of the packs and left the rest sealed. They sat in storage for over a decade until he decided to sell off some of the extra stuff he had lying around. When this happened, a whole new collectible was introduced into the Pokemon community. The cards inside are much different from the cards that were eventually released within the Expedition Base Set expansion.

Below is a video of the cards inside the packs:

Description of FPO cards

The FPO cards have multiple differences from final official released version of the cards.

  • FOR POSITION ONLY is printed across the card art
  • In the bottom-left corner the word Medium printed in small, black type.
  • On the Charizard, the “HP” is missing in the top-right corner. This could be an unintentional error that was later corrected.

Originally thought to be curious additions and nothing more, the Manhole card included in the set sports a traditional Pokemon card back making it a novelty in its own right. Upon further examination, the key “For Position Only” white lettering can be found across the card, just as it is present on each of the other Pokemon included in the set. Because the art does not provide a high contrast background, as in the case of the other cards in this set, it is much more difficult to identify the bold, white FPO lettering. This is the reason for Rusty (TCAGaming) originally neglected the card when he marketed the sets.

Count of the cards

From the original 2013 PokeGym thread : 107
[archive: 1 2]

Total FPO cards pulled on camera by Rusty (after PokeGym): 110
[Six videos where this number came from: 1 2 3 4 5 6]

Daa906 lucky pack opening: 10
[video has since been removed]

Total: 227 (this number may be outdated as of 2022)


Card Count
Charizard 60
Alakazam 52
Blastoise 32
Ampharos 30
Arbok 29
Dugtrio 10
Clefable 7
Manhole 7

What happened to the sealed packs?

Thin Packs (5 cards per pack):

  • Opened on YouTube by Rusty: 18 Packs
  • Sold to Collectors: 2 Packs

Thick Packs (10 cards per pack):

  • Opened on YouTube by Rusty: 2 Pack
  • Opened on YouTube by Daa906: 1 Pack

What about grading FPOs?

Sadly, PSA and BGS stopped grading these cards in 2015, because FPO cards were not considered officially released cards.

They have graded them for a brief period, so there is just a low number of graded FPOs.
PSA had labelled them just like normal Expedition cards but BGS was more accurate putting the right label and description.

As of 2022, CGC grades FPO cards CGC Trading Cards Population Report | CGC

Special thanks to @thecharizardauthorty

Since this thread was written, more packs have been opened

Pokemon "For Position Only" FPO Legendary Booster Pack Opening - TWO PACKS! Denver Collectacon 2022 - YouTube


ohhh man these are rare, hopefully i can get em one day xD I remeber dem vids

I’m so happy I picked up a set when I did. They are getting harder to find!


Thanks to @justinator and @funmonkey54.
I ve just edited some things to make this thread more like a real guide.
Please @funmonkey54, if you can upload your scanned pics in ‘‘Description of FPO cards’’ will be great!

1 Like

Will do tonight! Scanning and bringing the Sampling Pack and Dollar Tree Pack up to date tonight as well, thanks to today’s postal worker. :wink:

These remind me of the E-Series Sample Card Set. Would anyone happen to know the production numbers for that set? My research leads me to believe it is greater than the FPOs.

Ever since the FPOs were made public, I have referred to it as the sister set to the sample cards. I completely agree.

Still going to update this. It’s a long story, but I can’t find my scanner. Lol

I have edited in 600 dpi scans of each card and a brief description of the appearance for that section.

@hazard24 Can you fix the formatting? I’m pretty beat and would like to put the computer away.


These Guides get better and better, I admire the organization!


@funmonkey54 done mate, many thanks for your help again!
I added all the Spoilers, now it finally seems a tidy thread.

Thank you @missingno :grin: :grin:

If someone can help with the Manhole Scan it would be much appreciated!!

Oh, I have that too. I just forgot. I’ll get that tonight.

1 Like

Another epic Thick booster pack has been opened!

Statistics updated


Thank you for adding my booster pack I found! Still can’t believe that happened. Insanely lucky.


So whats the story about how you acquired it?


Dang, I didn’t know these cards existed! How incredible - and to find them in a random booster pack even more so. :grin:

1 Like

This is truly crazy to randomly acquire one of these!! Like you said in the video I thought these were all with collectors as the only person I was aware of distributing these was thecharizardauthority so everyone who brought a pack would know what they are. I need the story too! Was it a random ebay purchase?

Also… Three Charizard FPO’s!! :heart_eyes:

1 Like

I wonder also. Did they all come from the same person? No holos in any of the other packs.

How much would this BGS 9 MINT “For Position Only” Blastoise be worth?

I know it was said that PSA and BGS no longer grade these cards, but this is what I found for the population report

1 Like

Credit to: Chris Fone (facebook) for the PSA Charizard FPO’s picture

1 Like