Mr.Garrison's Collection Journey


The following is my collection journey.

Before we get started

  1. My collection goal is to collect what I enjoy. What I enjoy has changed over the years so I’ve decided to organize this by eras.
  2. This post has accidently turned into a diary (my bad)
  3. There are many details included that aren’t relevant to you but are relevant to me. I’ve done my best to organize it in a way that you can scroll through the gallery for each era, then read the stories behind them in the expandable “details” section below each gallery if you’d like.

Shoutout to mrbubbles for the format inspiration.

Thanks for looking!

1998 Gallery

1998 Details

My first exposure to Pokémon was through the anime. I was hooked from episode 1 then on Christmas 1998 I was able to start my own Pokémon journey when I received this Ice Blue Gameboy pocket and a copy of Pokémon Red Version.

It’s funny looking at the wear on this thing knowing that the only game I ever played on it was Pokémon Red Version.

I have no idea how many hours I played it. But to give a little context

  1. I wasn’t aware that running from wild Pokémon was an option.
  2. I didn’t use any items because I didn’t know what any of them did.
  3. I only used my Charmander/Charmeleon/Charizard in battle…the other 5 Pokémon on my roster were simply to get me to the nearest Pokémon Center when the lizard fainted.

It’s wild to think about now, but I fought every single wild Pokémon that spawned in the game (#norepels)

When I beat the elite four I remember my Charizard being level 88.

Now that I think about it 88 seems a little low considering the amount of Rattata and Zubat we massacred.

One “half day” in elementary school I was sitting on my grandma’s couch with my Gameboy unentertained because I felt I had nothing left do in the game.

I decided I wanted to play it again with Bulbasaur.

I still regret clicking that button. I felt like I deleted my best friend.

I consider this the start of my collection.

1999-2001 Gallery

1999-2001 Details

During this time I was obsessed with collecting the cards but had very little luck finding them.

One Saturday I was running errands with my dad in a rural town called Pacific and we went into a what I can only describe as a “general store”. We couldn’t believe our eyes. There was a full box Base Set just sitting on the counter.

The owner had no idea that people even cared about Pokémon and hadn’t sold any.

I left that store with a couple booster packs, a stack of signed business cards and a deal.

For every three kids who came into his store and gave him a signed business card I’d get one free booster pack.

I went to work slinging those business cards on the school bus, the playground and everywhere in between.

I only got two booster packs from that deal but I didn’t care. I had sent just enough kids to the store that the owner continued to buy Pokémon cards, yet not enough that he would sell out.

That deal secured me a steady supply of base, jungle, and fossil.

Here are some highlights of my collection from this time period.

The first Holo I ever pulled and the only Shadowless Holo from my childhood collection. I still remember pulling it like it was yesterday and still collect Alakazam to this day.

In 19999 my elementary school was establishing their first student council and encouraged every student to run.

Having no political aspirations or knowledge of what the job entailed I threw my hat in the ring purely out of FoMO.

Given I had zero policy ideas, my entire campaign was centered around how much I loved Pokémon…

When it came time to make campaign posters I handed my “Official Pokemon Handbook” to my dad and asked him to draw a Charizard which I then colored in and put my campaign slogan on.

The slogan read “Vote for Mr.Garrison…or I’ll burn you to a crisp”

Unfortunately, the principal decided my slogan was “voter intimidation” and made me cut it off shortly after I hung it up.

She was also very stringent on 5th grade campaign deadlines and wouldn’t let me modify it after the fact. So it just became a random drawing of Charizard in a sea of campaign posters without any context :rofl:

The most unfortunate part is I still got elected.

I had to sit through student council meetings once a month, every month, for all of 5th grade, bored out of my mind. #dontfomo

Out of every card in my collection this one means the most to me. After 9 months of grinding I still hadn’t pulled what I coveted most. Charizard.

On my 11th birthday my father took me to a game shop he found called “The Gathering Ground” to buy booster packs (or so I thought).

He walked up to the counter, pointed at this Charizard and said “we’ll take that”.

I can’t even describe the feeling. I had no idea you could purchase cards as singles and even if I had I would have never expected him to pay the amount they were asking.

At this point in time my father had been battling cancer for years and his health was deteriorating quickly.

He passed away about two years after this.

This is one of the last memories I have of him being in good enough health to go out and about and do things we enjoyed together.

I’d happily trade every other card in my collection for this one if it came down to it.

Fast forward to my 12th birthday. My best friend at the time was also a collector and our birthdays were a few days apart. I bought him 3 packs for his birthday and he bought me 3 packs for my birthday. We exchanged them then opened them together.

When he opened the packs I gave him, he pulled all the bullshit you don’t want to see…

When I opened my packs the unthinkable happened…. I went 3 for 3 and became an instant playground legend.

When I look at these it’s a mixed bag of “that day was awesome” and “man that must have really sucked for Jacob” :rofl:. But it’s a day I’ll never forget

2002-2019 Gallery

2002-2019 Details

During this time, I had lost interest in Pokémon. There were a few times I can remember wanting to get back into the hobby but somewhere in the shuffle of life I lost my original collection and couldn’t bring myself to start over without it.

The only Pokémon related purchase I made during this period was specifically for utility.

I had a very noisy bed frame that would squeak and rattle. For some reason this didn’t bother me when I was in middle school, but it drove me nuts once I was in high school and I needed a solution.

I purchased this Charizard at goodwill for $2 and used him as shim between my headboard and my wall. He performed his job exceptionally throughout high school then reenlisted for another tour of duty when I went to college.

He has since been awarded the Medal of Valor & two Purple Hearts and is happily retired on my shelf.

2020 Gallery

2020 Details

March 7, 2020 a date which will live in infamy.

My little sister found my childhood collection while packing to move out of my mother’s house and from there I was off to the races.

I spent pretty much all of 2020 catching up on everything I missed in the previous 17 years, learning about sets, the grading process etc.

There isn’t much of note from this year collection wise. I spent most of this time buying modern packs because I didn’t feel comfortable with the price of vintage but there was one notable pickup.

I found this Toys r Us promo Charmander at a small shop and eventually graded it. The Cosmos pattern displays so well and I get a little hit of ToysRUs nostalgia when I look at it.

2021 Gallery

2021 Details

In 2021 I received a text from a friend who knew nothing about Pokémon and inherited a collection from his late god father. I can only describe the collection as once in a lifetime. (Below is one picture from the text I received to give a little context.)

I really wish this happened at a time when the market wasn’t so crazy. As much I wanted to purchase the collection, I knew that he would get more on the open market than I could pay. With that in mind, I advised him to grade the collection and sell it ASAP to capitalize on the market hype.

I spent the remainder of 2021 in a “consultant” role assisting in maximizing the value of the collection and selling it off while simultaneously tucking away money in hopes that I could purchase some of the “higher end” cards once they came back from grading.

Unfortunately, they were committed to auction without my knowledge, so I never had the chance to make an offer.

I did however purchase some “lower end” cards that weren’t committed to auction and eventually graded a few myself. Below are some notable examples

2022 Gallery

2022 Details

In late 2022 I went buck wild as the kids say. The cards I wanted to purchase from the collection I was helping sell had been auctioned off and the price of vintage had finally fallen to a level that I felt more comfortable paying. Here are some of my notable pickups from 2022.

Initially I wasn’t a huge fan of this card, but it eventually grew on me. The ‘rudimentary’ style of the artwork and the Zard just spewing flames gives it a certain level of charm that I find endearing.

This is one of my favorite card arts if not my favorite. The simplicity of the dark background and Alakazam’s eyes glowing paint a menacing picture as is… but the subtle detail of the red ball floating in the darkness takes it to another level for me.

In my opinion this is the perfect example of “less is more” when it comes to artwork.

Did you notice the ball before I mentioned it?

I’m probably a minority in thinking this is one of the best Charizard cards ever printed but I will argue it’s the most concise as far as “set identity” goes.

The low level (38), low HP and high attack as a result of being raised by Team Rocket.

Charizard looking back at you over his shoulder with disdain while being partially covered by shadows.

The move of “nail flick” just screams “beat it dweeb” and is perfect for the theme of the card.

Remember the cards that were committed to auction that I didn’t have a chance to make an offer on?

This is one of them. The buyer ended up not paying and as a result I was able to acquire it. Ironically this worked out perfectly for me because this card was at the top of my list.

By the time it was sent back to my friend prices had fallen to a more reasonable level and I purchased it exactly one year after I had initially laid eyes on it.

Life works in mysterious ways.

I attempted to cross it to a PSA 9 for collection continuity and it didn’t cross but I don’t care.

This experience made me realize that I value the story behind the card as much as the card itself.

Outside of my childhood collection this card has the best story of them all.

I attended a trade night at local shop and a boy asked me if I would trade a celebrations Pikachu for this card.

I asked him “what is that?”

He said “it’s Japanese”

At the time my knowledge of anything post gen 2 was extremely limited. I’ve since learned it’s a Gardevoir. I still get a good laugh thinking about that exchange :rofl:.

Great memory.

2023 Gallery

2023 Details

After going on a tear in 2022 I decided to take it relatively easy in 2023 but still made some great additions to my collection. Details below.

I’ve always been an Espeon fella myself but I fell in love with this art.

I’m probably nuts, but to me it looks like Umbreon is on the moon looking down on earth.

Luckily for me, there was a lot of attention on a different Umbreon card and I picked this up for what I would consider a “value” price in March 2023.

My favorite part of the hobby is going to physical shops to look for cards. 99% of the time I don’t have much luck finding things that interest me so I’ll just buy a couple booster packs to support the business and leave.

This day was different. All these promo’s were picked up in one fell swoop from a single store. I find pickups like these much more rewarding than clicking a button and having things shipped to my door.

In 2023 I had the privilege of participating in the E4 Secret Santa and received this amazing gift from triple

I think it’s so cool that E4/fourthstartcg facilitate this tradition and I highly encourage anyone who hasn’t participated to partake this year. The process of tailoring a gift for your recipient and the anticipation of opening the gift you received makes you feel like a kid again.

2024 Gallery

2024 Details

In 2024 I am continuing to collect what I enjoy. I am particularly interested in neo/eseries cards at this time. Additions to the collection thus far below.

Daddy’s home. That is all.

True story. I have a legit phobia of snakes in real life. I just love way that your attention gravitates toward Arbok’s chest like a real cobra. The art is exceptional

I initially came across this card while reading through ReganRampage’s collection thread and had to have it.

The attention to detail in the artwork is incredible. Charmander’s face and hands smooshed up against the window, the Pidgey on the windowsill looking back at him at him out of the corner of his eyes, the other Pidgey on the chair looking over like “dafug is that lizards problem?"

The thing that really puts it over the top for me though is that last blind hanging at an angle.

Hear me out… if you have blinds in your house roll them up then let them down…the last blind never rolls up or comes down as neatly as the others.

In my opinion modern full arts are a mixed bag. Some artists attempt to cram as much as possible into that additional real estate to the point where the artwork becomes disjointed.

I could go on about this forever but the use of space in this illustration is perfect and I’m excited to explore more of Minaminami Take’s art.

This one was a bit of an impulse buy as a result of scrolling through ebay late one night after a couple beers :crazy_face:

The simplicity of the illustration, the little splashes of color, and Mewtwo being the “Ace of spades” really caught my eye.

The dimensions are a little smaller than a typical Pokemon card so it has a bit of room to move around in the case. Just something to consider if you’re in the market for one.

I’ve since looked into this “set” a little more and am planning on picking up a full deck for my binder because I like the art so much.



What an exceptional post and collection! I honestly felt as if I was traveling down memory lane with you. The diary format actually works really well and may be something I take advantage of in future.

Thanks so much for sharing!


Love the thread format, and awesome collection too! Thank you for sharing and excited to see how it progresses :slight_smile:


This is too real. You can never get that first pokemon partner back, so unfortunate. Phenomenal post and such a meaningful collection.


Such an unassuming Charizard toy - a great and unique story!

I liked the diary format. A really enjoyable read, Thanks for sharing so many cherished memories!


This was so enjoyable to read. Thanks for sharing your journey! I look forward to seeing updates in the near future.


Really cool collection thread, and honestly really neat to see how collecting what you enjoy has evolved as time has continued on and your collection has grown. Beautiful cards and overall collection. Thanks for sharing!


Stunning collection. The love you have for your cards is easy to see. I really enjoyed reading your collection story.


Agree with others here: this diary format works really well :slightly_smiling_face:

It was great to walk with you through the years and your different memories of pokemon throughout your life. Great cards too! And it’s nice that every single one of them is cherished and tied to a good memory.

Look forward to seeing how your collection evolves and hearing more of your stories!


Thank you for the kind words. Conveying thoughts through text is difficult for me and your response gave me the warm and fuzzies. Please take advantage at your leisure. Can’t wait to read it!


A great read! You obviously cherish each piece of your collection. I loved the analysis of Dark Charizard, I’ve always enjoyed the cards artwork and now I like it even more.


These are the types of collection threads I absolutely love. Thanks so much for sharing! Awesome back stories!


Such an absolutely fantastic collection thread. Sincerely thank you for giving the perspective on your collection journey. It showcases a lot of emotion (even for the latest years), rather than just going through the motions of collecting cards.

The diary style format really works well and is really easy on the eyes to read. Thanks for sharing your love for your collection and your personal thoughts. This helps to get to know you more as a collector. It is both inspiring and exciting to see. Looking forward to more such updates. :grin:



This was so amazing to read. Loved every minute going down memory lane with you. I had to pause a few times reading because memories flooded my mind from my childhood. To me this is what collecting is all about. Thank you for the wonderful post and the feelings of happiness!


Well this was a collection thread full of emotions, rarely i read a collection thread for the first time and feel something so strongly as i did here reading about the loss of your first partner pokemon, the story of your first charizard card and the photos of your childhood collection returning from the grave. Thank you for sharing all this, really hoping to see more stories and feelings tied up with cards!


I bet Jacob hasn’t forgotten about that day either. This was a fun read and a nice collection!


:smile: we’ve lost touch over the years but we are friends on Facebook. I’ve thought about messaging him to show him I still have the cards/reminisce but decided against it bc it’s probably not a fond memory for him like it is for me :sweat_smile:


Thanks for the kind words! The thing that really gets me thinking about that day is I got a Gameboy color and a copy of Yellow version shortly after I deleted my original game file and never played red version again until 25 years later. At least I still have the memories though!

1 Like

Dang the part about your dad made me tear up. I’m sure he really enjoyed that outing with you and your reaction to getting the Charizard must have been the icing on the cake. Thanks for sharing your story and I enjoyed reading it all.


2024 Update #1

I initially came across this card while reading through @ReganRampage’s collection thread and had to have it.

The attention to detail in the artwork is incredible. Charmander’s face and hands smooshed up against the window, the Pidgey on the windowsill looking back at him at him out of the corner of his eyes, the other Pidgey on the chair looking over like “dafug is that lizards problem?"

The thing that really puts it over the top for me though is that last blind hanging at an angle.

Hear me out… if you have blinds in your house roll them up then let them down…the last blind never rolls up or comes down as neatly as the others.

In my opinion modern full arts are a mixed bag. Some artists attempt to cram as much as possible into that additional real estate to the point where the artwork becomes disjointed.

I could go on about this forever but the use of space in this illustration is perfect and I’m excited to explore more of Minaminami Take’s art.