In light of the record sale and loss of the PSA 10 Topsun charizard, a lot of people have been discussing the origin of Topsun cards. The selling point has always been, “first pokemon cards”. However, there isn’t any documentation proving they were the first release. And when you start to dig into patent information, the 1995 date isn’t verifiable. For example, here is the actual Topsun website (Top Seika in Japanese) with the Pokemon patent registered in 1997.
Here is another source (nintnedo japan) stating the first release of any pokemon product was in 1996. The supposed 1995 date would have to contradict both the official Nintendo website and actual Topsun website & patents.
I am curious for topsun collectors, do you have any definitive proof this was released before the 1996 tcg? Otherwise I think this is one of the longest running incorrect rumors in the hobby.
Thank you. It needed to be said loud and clear. I am tired of the “well maybe this maybe that”. I think Topsun is a cool set and fun to collect but I’m tired of the misinformation spreading even when it is accidental and just from a lack of knowledge because it can do real harm to buyers.
Three other points:
Why would Pokémon, notoriously strict with their IP, somehow allow these cards to circulate the year before the video game release? For one it ruins the entire market launch if the Pokémon are all known ahead of time and not a fun surprise to discover while playing. For another, why are there zero primary or anecdotal sources of “I got this weird electric mouse picture in my pack of gum, not sure what it is?”
-The later prints of this set refer to the website URL on the gum pack. Said website domain was not created until 1999. Would Topsun have been so widely successful as to be in print for five years (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999)?
-Some of these trademarks such as Creatures Inc didn’t even have the paperwork filed until the end of 1995, let alone be working with manufacturers.
To be fair, you can say the same thing about the 1997 Bandai Carddass set. Those cards weren’t part of the TCG, but they are still renowned by many collectors. That being said, I think just about everyone would agree that the artwork on the Carddass cards is far superior to that of Topsun.
Good analysis in the video! Although my hot take is, the reason that the card sold for so much less wasn’t even the debate about whether it was “the first”, it was just a general lack of interest in the Topsun cards (which I still consider niche). Rather, the previous sale was most likely hype-driven and in hopes that the market in general would just go up and up and up, so someone only bought back then because they were confident in making a quick buck.
Maybe also quite interesting and worth to mention that this specific illustration done by Ken Sugimori was intended to be potrayed in the First Base Set, as seen on the early prototype graphics. As we know, it turned out to be the fire blazing charizard by Arita