The Grand Gyarados Collection

The Grand Gyarados Collection

I was in middle school during the Spring season of 1999 when Pokemon, the Trading Card Game, was introduced to the US. However, it wasn’t until late into the final school semester when Summer was approaching did I finally get my first pack.
I was driving the bus to school when I decided to open it, I wanted to open it with a few of my friends for my first go. Being obsessed with dragons as an 11 year old child, I was incredibly excited to pull my first rare, Dragonair.
Unfortunately, I was gullible as well - a kid in the seat behind me saw my pull and convinced me that “diamonds” were more rare than “stars” and traded me his Magmar for it. I quickly regretted that decision because I still wanted Dragonair, even if it was more “common” according to this kid. I lamented about it to a friend in the middle of the school day and he was able to help me get it back - telling me the in’s and out’s of commons, uncommons, and rares as circles, diamonds, and stars.
In the following month, I had turned 12 and set my eyes towards getting an Alakazam - it was my first official favorite card. I always enjoyed the creepy and paranormal - having been raised by a family who lived off of conspiracy theories and loved parapsychology (the latter two of which are no longer my forte), I enjoyed the creative design. The purple mixed with yellow made me love almost every Psychic card to boot. Bug and Psychic types still my favorite typings to this day.
Eventually, I found my way of retrieving one thanks to a friend who had an obsession with Arcanine - trading several copies of the uncommon card for his used copy. It was love at first sight.
In the summer of that year, I swung by a friend’s house and he had showed me his massive Base Set collection. There I saw first hand a Charizard, the Raichu that I had two copies of, a Magneton, a Chansey, and a particularly minty Clefairy. He had very few cards missing, but then, turning over to the second page, I saw it - a card that was perfectly centered, in one of my favorite colors, and hit all the right spots of my Dragon obsession.
For the first time since I even heard of Pokemon, I was introduced to a new obsession:

Fun Fact: Base Set Gyarados is the only Female Gyarados featured in the TCG
(Female Gyarados have white Barbels, whereas Males are the color of their body)
I asked what he wanted for it, but he told me that he didn’t really want to give it up since it was his only copy and he also really liked the Pokemon. However, I noticed he didn’t have an Alakazam and a couple of other cards in his collection. I told him what I had and that I could run back to my house to grab it all right then and there to make the deal.
And run I did.
Giving up my old favorite for this new one, I had no idea what kind of journey this card would have in store for me.
But my love of Gyarados would be momentarily side tracked with the release of Pokemon: The First Movie - where I began to amass a collection of Mewtwo cards, for now overshadowing my love of Gyarados.
See, I was a child model for John Robert Powers and shortly entered a competition in New York after witnessing the movie. An older teen who formed a friendship with me quickly learned of my love of Pokemon and purchased a Pokemon Collectors Value Guide book:

Don’t check these prices now folks… Don’t do it! I SAID DON’T!
He gave it to me at the end of our week long competition. I had won a good number of awards and even 1st place in a few sections, but all I could think about was a new crazy goal - collecting every Mewtwo Card in English and Japanese. The love of Mewtwo bloomed when I saw what cards were available of the Pokemon - having a particular fondness for the VS series that showcased many strange depictions of Mewtwo. I circled and cut out every Mewtwo picture I could find from every magazine, book, guide, sticker, etc. that showcased the Pokemon.
But my love for Gyarados would slowly chip away at this newfound obsession with Mewtwo in the coming years.
I remember walking into Newbury Comics one day and seeing that they had some new packs in English and Japanese - the Team Rocket set featured artwork of a familiar Pokemon - Gyarados. The Japanese art even included Mewtwo, I purchased a few packs in both languages. From two Japanese packs I opened up a Scyther and Mewtwo - Rocket’s Mewtwo being one of my favorites to this day. And in the English? Dark Gyarados.
My Mewtwo collection grew with multiple movie promos, a Base Set Mewtwo, and now this Japanese Rocket’s Mewtwo making 5 all together. I was stoked! Seeing them all displayed in my new binder made me think I actually had a chance of getting every Mewtwo card. And now I had two Scythers and two Gyarados. Mewtwo, Scyther, and Gyarados became my top 3 Pokemon - getting my hands on Pokemon Red finally for Christmas that year, I made my Pokemon team: Psychosis the Mewtwo, Scyslash the Scyther, and Leviathan the Gyarados.
And then English’s Gym Challenge/Gym Heroes and Japanese’s Challenge from the Darkness/Leader’s Stadium arrived at my local stores. Having been a fan of the last Japanese packs I opened, I had to purchase a few. From Challenge from the Darkness, I received Giovanni’s Nidoking and Giovanni’s Gyarados - now I had 3 Gyarados! I could almost fit a binder page with them.
My allowance was getting tight, but the opening pack bug had bitten me. I tried to do odd jobs like mow lawns or rake leaves in my neighborhood. Eventually, and oddly so, Japanese booster packs of Jungle and Fossil made it to the shelves. I bought a few with lackluster results. I had enough to buy a few of the Leader’s Stadium, however, so I proceeded to buy a few of those as well.
In the first pack was one of the coolest Gyarados cards I ever saw - Misty’s Gyarados. I later opened up a pack and got my first Charizard card - Blaine’s! My binder page was finally full of Gyarados cards. In the next year, I would open a few Base Set 2 packs and get an Alakazam that brought me back to my first Gyarados that I traded a Base Set Alakazam two years ago. My local Newbury Comics started receiving other memorabilia from Japan - I started finding stickers and sticker cards of Gyarados, keeping them in a drawer alongside my Mewtwo stickers and cutouts.
And then Gen 2 was officially released!
In one of the most memorable moments of my life regarding Pokemon - Gen 2 made the playground and homelife buzz with excitement. Friends were constantly talking about the new Pokemon that were leaked by Pojo and Beckett Magazines. My sister and I witnessed first hand the new promotional material for the Neo series including the Japanese Neo Genesis Premium Folder and the infamous Southern Islands set which gave rise to the Pikablu theory. My sister and I both agreed that Scizor was a fusion of Mewtwo and Scyther and they were exploring fusions like Digimon.

Clearly “Hatsamu” translates to “Badass Digi-Fusion of Mecha Mewtwo & Scyther”.
Stickers and figurines were in abundance with the Pokemon craze. I instantly pegged Totodile as my favorite starter of all time - something that would stick to this day. My sister and I finally had favorites of the Eevolutions - she chose Umbreon while I fell in love with Espeon.
However, opening packs didn’t produce any new Mewtwo cards. Worst yet, it didn’t seem like Scyther or Gyarados came from any of the first two sets. However, gen 2 gave access to new favorites - Luigia the Psychic Dragon, Scizor, the metal evolution of Scizor, Entei, the first fire Pokemon I really liked, and Tyranitar. I would get Lugia and Tyranitar in English, Scizor in Japanese, and Entei from the Japanese Premium Folder #2.
At some point, I finally got Pokemon Crystal - my favorite Pokemon game to this day and played it constantly. Rumors in the game led to the legend of a Red Gyarados - one of my original favorites. I couldn’t wait to see the Pokemon- Red, Blue, and Purple being my top 3 favorite colors. It helped that my favorite gym trainer and Elite 4 member, Lance, also seemed to have a huge importance in the story. I played the game for hours, creating my team, trading with my sister to get my Scizor, Crimsonrage.
From this generation of Pokemon, however, I had a childlike hate for Kindra who somehow had a Water/Dragon typing. I was too young to understand how imbalanced Gyarados would be with the same typing, but I found myself frustrated with it’s useless Flying typing. In either case, however, I still wanted to find the Red Gyarados. With time, I finally located the Lake of Rage and Lance as well. I still remember my excitement at seeing a different colored Gyarados - I was obsessed. Since Crystal added animations to the static images, seeing Red Gyarados writhe and roar in rage was peak excitement for my early teenage brain.
Gyarados instantly became my number 1 favorite again and I played the game to completion time and time again, loving my playthroughs the 2nd and 3rd time.
In my weekly visit of the local Barnes and Nobles, I read new updates of the newest sets set to release in North America and other English countries from both Pojo and Beckett. And then I saw it.

*enter Angel Choir of “Aaaahhhh”'s here*
In my first introduction to the concept of “Secret Rares” I heard how difficult it was to pull this card from Awakening Legends. Worst still, I heard similar pull rates would occur for the English set, titled Neo Revelation. My heart sunk. My chances of pulling it seemed ever high. Further still, it made me want to collect all Gyarados cards in English and Japanese, but I had already started that collection with Mewtwo.
Still. I tried.
Unable to afford much at the time, I purchased what Japanese packs I could of Awakening Legends with no luck - not even a Shining Magikarp. I even attempted opening English packs with no luck as well. Eventually I became disheartened and for several months just spent my time paying attention to Yugioh the animated series - reading Pojo, Beckett, and Shojo magazines for the eventual English release of the TCG. I fell in love with the anime and was lucky enough that Japanese packs were already available at one local store. I was hooked.
One day my mother took me grocery shopping, the Toys’R’Us being nearby. As she finished up I remember asking if I could grab some packs with the money I had saved at the time and ran across to get some Yugioh packs. However, I saw some Unlimited Neo Revelation packs and a couple of Base 2 packs and decided to pick them up instead - 2 of the Neos and 1 Base 2 pack.
Getting back inside the van, I started opening the packs as we headed back home. I cannot remember the first pack, but I remember opening up the second pack, the Base 2 pack (which had Gyarados on the package art), and getting a Venusaur which I was excited about since it was my favorite starter from gen 1. I finally open the 3rd pack, a Suicune art Neo Revelations pack, and screamed.

*recreation of me doing said screaming - oh, and it’s the actual card in question*
Despite scaring my mother half to death, she quickly got excited for me as I explained shakely that I just pulled one of the hardest to get cards in the world (my opinion at the time as a naive kid). I had basically forgotten about this card as I was convinced I would never get it and had effectively pushed it out of my mind, but now it was finally in my hands.
Rushing back into my room, I sleeved it instantly. I remember looking at all of the Gyarados cards I had acquired up till now. The Misty’s Gyarados, Giovanni’s Gyarados, and the Dark Gyarados I all pulled myself, the Base Gyarados I traded with my friend that started it all, and finally the one card I was convinced I would never get in my life - Shining Gyarados. I remember wanting to originally collect Mewtwo in English and Japanese since those were the languages I grew to love. But as I stared at all 5 cards, knowing that Gyarados had secured itself forever as my favorite, I abandoned my intention on my Mewtwo collection and transferred that desire into this new endeavor - to collect every official variant of Gyarados in English and Japanese.

But Devin, why the tiny picture? Because it’s blurry as all hell and I haven’t taken a better one yet. So bite me, me. Sheesh, fine, sorry I asked!
20 years later, I’ve amassed over 150 official variants of the Pokemon - something my childhood brain didn’t even comprehend as a possibility. I’ve made some mistakes along the way - selling some cards I’ll probably never get back, passing up on Snap Gyarados for 2k back around 2014 (I was in college and strapped for cash, spending 2k at the time would have immediately put me in a financial crisis), getting too distracted with errors/misprints, and almost selling my collection twice due to burn out and stressful life events.
But I’m sticking with it now.
As I look at my collection today, I see all the memories I’ve made, especially in the last few years being a part of E4. So many of my cards were thanks to the people of this wonderful community, so many memories at events, talking to people in person or discord, meeting new people, and sharing in the hobby we all have learned to love. I keep a list of all the people who have contributed in some way to my collection, whether it was through trades, gifts, or showing me the listing - I want to thank those people now:
@hapycakeoven , @angryarcanine , @jkanly , @japanime , @tonysandlin , @legendslugia251 , @abv150 , @pokemontrader , @shizzlemetimbers , @TCAGaming , @swolepoke , @reinasierpe , @funmonkey54 , @jkuo , @fourthstartcg , @smpratte , @mrchub , @quuador , @rattlebear , @aj1 , @Kampes_Cards , @xzini , @rustedharmony , @Berndos , @zubat93 , @papafrankgod , @pottsinator , @poketrade , @soulwind , @ljgenco12 , @omahanime , @Taigataipan , @woolsluk , @milhouse , @dipzy , @KingPokemon , @Dizzle , @parkermrparker , @djgigabyte @nidokingdom , @thedude1990

Thank you all so much, and thank you everyone else who has either shared in my excitement of this collection and/or has shared me theirs. Every year I try to pay it forward in some way but I don’t like to advertise it since that’s not the point. Pokemon collecting is something we all take deeply to heart. I’m now less than 5 cards away from completing my collection*, and though I’ll likely always have a hole in it, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to all of you who have helped me get here.
Thanks for listening.
Much heart and fire,

*Edit: As of 2/16/2021 - I am now only 1 card away with that card being Snap Gyarados.

Old 2014 Videos:
Part 1:

Part 2:
Part 3:

Video Details for Flats Collection:
Front Image: Diamond and Pearl Gyarados & Tyranitar Stormfront Binder
Left Side Binder: 3x Team Rocket Booster Pack (2x English, 1x Japanese), 1x BW Dragons Exalted Booster Pack
1st Page: Unofficial Nintendo Gyarados Sticker Card 1999?, Pokemon Indonesian Stamp Full Set, Pokemon Stadium Action 3D’s Gyarados 36/50, 2x 1997 Pokemon Topsun Holofoil Gyarados vs Slowbro, 2x 1998 Chocolate Meiji #130 Gyarados Card, PokeTrivia #130 Gyarados Cut Out Card, 1999 Pokemon Series 1 Artbox Sticker.
2nd Page: 1998 Pokemon Meiji Movie Prism Foil, Topps Pokemon Holo Gyarados, Topps Pokemon Chrome Gyarados, 2x 1996 Pocket Monster Sticker Card (1x Red, 1x Green), 2x 1995 Topsun Blue Back Pokemon Card (1x Normal, 1x Error *note missing “130” upper left corner), 1998 Sealdass Pocket Monster #20 Card,
Wish List!
* Japanese Skyridge 028/088 holo UED* Japanese Skyridge 027/088 non-holo UED* English EX Dragon non-holo (B3A code)* Japanese Gyarados Spirit Link 075/080 NH UED* Japanese Gyarados EX 018/080 H UED Ultra Rare* Japanese Mega Gyarados EX 019/080 H UED Ultra Rare* Japanese Gyarados EX 081/080 H FA UED Secret Rare* Japanese Mega Gyarados EX 082/080 H FA UED Secret Rare* Japanese Mega Gyarados EX 089/080 H FA UED Secret Rare
* Japanese CoroCoro New Year Present Postcard* Any Misprints/Miscuts/Errors (Need to replace Square Cut Neo Revelations & Double Miscut Gyarados)
* Any and all “Flats” featuring Gyarados (stickers, lenticulars, magazine/paper/book prints, official art, non-TCG cards, tokens, etc.)
* Pokemon Snap (even if it’s terribly played and missing a chunk)


Looking great!

This is probably the place to be to expand your collection even more. Many of the members here are very helpful. Just curious, are you interested in non English or Japanese Gyarados?

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Hi Tonysandlin,

Thanks so much for the compliment. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t look this place up sooner, really. It seems like a really good resource.

I am interested but I’m picky. I like variations of different cards (For example, one of the 3D cards in my collection is Greek) but it would really depend on the type of card but I’m always looking for new things!

Well if you are interested in any Gyarados from another language, let me know! I might be able to help you out.

Very Cool. Gyarados has always been my favorite from the beginning as well, and I also collect very rare Gyarados cards. I have these 2 actually if you are interested, they are mis-cut square cut Shining Gyarados.


Nice Gyarados Collection! Love all the different cards!

Thanks, Timewaster! Love your avatar, by the way.

Tonysandlin, I’ll message you and see what you have. :stuck_out_tongue:

Cody, I am definitely interested. A little low on cash right now, but I’ll message you and see what your price is. Worse comes to worse, I’ll keep you in mind for any future investments. :grin:

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Do you include toys in your collection?

Hi CCGCollector,

I’ve thought of it as I do have a few toys, however, after doing a few searches, the time and money to collect that much memorabilia is way too intense and out of my comfort zone. Plus I wouldn’t have any place to put that kind of collection. I’ve made a few exceptions on some toys like the Bandai Figure which look really cool but otherwise try to avoid them.

With flats like cards, coins, stickers, I can keep them organized in a relatively small space. Why? Have any that you thought of?

Just a reminder.
You do not have 100 posts, so you are not permitted to sell on these forums.

Consider this your warning.

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ahhh those topps cards really hit right in the childhood. before the tcg cards REALLY made a big boom in sweden (where i live) those were the kind of cards we all collected furiously right when the anime started airing in the early spring '00. i don’t think the third set ever hit the market here though, because i never ever saw someone with a card after seadra! cool to see a topps gyarados.

super cool collections, i love collections that focus on favourite pokémons. everything just automatically matches nicely!

Beautiful collection :wink:

It seems that there is sometimes twice the same card : are they identical or error cards ?

Oh, that would be an awesome collection, Gyarados ftw!! I loved him in my parties, in pokemon red / blue. So epic.

I can’t believe someone found a pokemon snap… x.x and Its 8.5grand… wow

Thanks Guppy! I loved the Topps cards too. I had a non-holographic Gyarados as a kid but lost it, but then came across the Holo and Chrome ones after. Was so happy to get them! And yeah, I have smaller collections centering around Mewtwo, Scyther, Scizor, Alakazam, Volcarona, and Nidoking, but they’re nothing like this and I’ve been actually looking to see if I can trade/sell some of those for the purpose of gaining more Gyarados. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi Linkdu! I’m glad you like the collection. I do have a lot of identical ones which are the two Chocolate Meiji cards, the two Topsun VS cards (featuring Slowbro), the two Bandai Sticker Card, the two Tomy Scratch Cards (though one is scratched while the other one isn’t), two Japanese Giovani’s Gyarados and English 1st Edition, two Japanese Misty’s Gyarados, two Unlimited Base (English and Japanese), and the two Shining Gyarados. The reason for this is because they’re in different conditions or because they were gifts or cheap buys (I got the second Shining Gyarados for 10 bucks and it was in Near Mint condition!).

The only error card I have is the Topsun Blue Back Card that has the missing “130” number in the second card. I wish I had more, but they’re hard to come by, you know?

All the others are from different expansions or different versions of holo/reverse holo/non holo/etc.

Hello kkthxbai, thanks so much! I always had Gyarados in my party in every game I had and he was always the most reliable Pokemon I had (granted, Mewtwo was the powerhouse but I don’t like using legendary pokemon too much). I loved him ever since my original Red version!

If someone had a Pokemon Snap card and it was in the worst condition ever, I’d still get it. I hear there’s only like 10 in the world currently. I so badly want one!!!

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Hi Reina!

Good to see another Gyarados collector. I have an “accidental” collection of Magikarp cards that mostly stem from lot items that I’ve received where both Gyarados and Magikarp were part of it. :stuck_out_tongue: Thanks so much for the compliment too. I remember getting the TOPPS cards as a kid and thinking I didn’t want to stop just at the TCG ones and bam, there you have it.

And THAT is one of my prized possessions! It’s a Dragonite and Gyarados Hanafuda Card and one of my latest additions to my collection. They come from the Nintendo Pokemon Hanafuda Collection and are really beautiful cards. Here’s the official site:

I think it’ll be useful to create a list of all the cards in my collection and I’ll try to do that soon and update my first post. :blush:

As for the Snap. One day… One day!

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I just have to say, magikarp is one of the dumbest pokemon and yet I just can’t help but like the silly thing. I’ve yet to find a magikarp card that I don’t really like the artwork on. :blush:

Great goodness this is one of my favorite collections to look at. I love how you sorted the Gyarados cards by release date and have such a huge variety of cards. It really showcases the Pokemon quite nicely. Have you thought about nabbing Neo 3 Awakening Legends Shining Gyarados? It is almost identical to the English one, but it has a very nice holo effect that mimics Shining Mew from the CoroCoro comics. Easily one of the most beautiful effects to see in person.

Reina, I’ve considered taking it seriously but for now will just keep collecting whatever Magikarps are added in. I kind of like the idea of not expecting certain things and many of the Magikarps I’ve received were surprises. :grin:

Timewaster, I agree. So many of the cards have a lot of effort and detail put into them. It is a silly pokemon but I think that just makes the legend of Chinese Dragons and the Dragon Gate such an interesting concept!

Soulwind, thank you so much! It makes me so happy that people enjoy this collection (I’ll have to redo pictures so they’re less blurry). For years I thought at times I was wasting my time by collecting these but ever since I’ve started sharing it here at these forums, I’ve been really happy to do so.

Edit: The japanese one? Ya! I so badly want that one! More than I want a 1st Edition of the English!!! But they’re always so expensive. :slightly_frowning_face:

That’s what’s so great about this forum. It’s like a community really of collectors who can appreciate each other’s collections and help each other out. :blush:

Agreed! I didn’t think I’d get this much of a response and I haven’t even been here for a week! Wish I came across this site earlier! It never dawned on me in all these years to seek out a site. Hahaha.