Ultimate Nostalgia Trip? What Do You Miss About Collecting?

So many of us grew up alongside Pokemon when it first came out and have some deep fond memories: That first rare card you got. The one card you traded anything to get for. The sensation you walked into the store, not knowing when the next new pack would come out, and seeing a brand new world ripped from the package. What about Pikablu? That strange new Pokemon that you and your friends rumored on and on about. Was Scizor a combination of Mewtwo and Scyther? Our minds didn’t know the limitations set yet on the Pokemon world, but we explored it with a wonder of imagination and curiosity.

Every once in a while I’ll pay the extra few bucks to return to that Nostalgia trip of opening a Base pack or a Team Rocket pack. But there was a deeper process that was involved in it for me.

Every convenience store I walked into around my town had Pokemon cards available behind this plastic sealed case. I had a madness to my method of choosing which pack to buy from my own allowance or the small chances when my mother would comply to buy it for me anyway. I would ask if they could pick out a few packs, and I would touch them all before I made my decision. It was an unusual method, but I always found myself gravitating towards one and that’s how I made my decisions.

But ultimately, there was one thing that I always looked forward to: Visiting the Newbury Comics Store. As soon as you entered, there on your right was the giant glass case that had all of the currently available Pokemon packs. Not only did they have English packs, but they also had Japanese, and oh how I fell in love with the look of antiquity of the Japanese cards. My favorites were Team Rocket as there was one day where I got both Dark Gyarados and Mewtwo from Japanese packs. I couldn’t wait to get home and open them, and sometimes I didn’t, but seeing that case, seeing that they also had special promotions available only in Japan and they brought it here? Oh how I loved it!

And that’s what I miss nowadays. You go to any store and there is a giant assortment of “playing cards” and Pokemon are mixed in with Yugioh and Magic, and baseball, and World of Warcraft, and some other game or card collection you never knew existed. It always feels cheap in comparison to those days when Pokemon was the only feature in those large cases, and now they hang raggedly on hooks as if they meant nothing anymore.

So what are your guys’ big nostalgia trips? What do you miss?


We could only buy them at the weekly market, where a toystand sold them. I have counted the days so many times! Tuesday was my favorite day of the week!

One of my friends older brother used to boast about his ability to smell holos LOL
We were so young and naive :stuck_out_tongue:


I used to purchase Pokemon cards each time I saw my grandparents (well, they purchased them on my behalf). Between comic shows, hobby shops, and even the Dollar Store, I amassed a pretty decent-sized collection of WoTC cards before losing interest in them for a good ten years.

My most fond memories are of this small hobby shop that has since been remodeled into a carpet store. They sold all sorts of comics as well as MTG and Pokemon cards. There would always be 10,000+ Pokemon singles for customers to sift through as well as a glass case just like the one you described. I was happy to purchase a Zapdos from Base for a solid $10 on one occasion. And then there was the Dollar Store down the street from my grandparents, in a local mall. Believe it or not, they also sold Pokemon packs and I was fortunate enough to open a few Shadowless ones. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I pulled a Shadowless Charizard and Venusaur out of three packs. I later sold the Charizard to a hobby shop, and kept the Venusaur until getting back into the hobby several years ago.

Good times. :sunglasses:


When I was 12_13 there was a shop in Glasgow called Neo and it sold only pokemon cards.Me and my mate went every weekend and he would end up getting to do some work behined the counter when it was busy and I would trade(and sell the odd card without getting noticed from Tony the shop owner:-) + help people at the front of the shop.I loved it when I could buy a japanese booster which was not to often as they were about £8($12) each.So for me I miss going to Neo and being able to trade/buy and watch people opening boosters.Some great memories!

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Positive Experience: I miss the Gameboy games the most, red, blue, green etc… still play them these days on plane trips, and its probably the best form of nostalgia as per the Pokemon franchise. As far as collecting goes… I just purely missed collecting, and having something nice and complete. That’s why I took it up again about 4-5years ago now. My weirdest old school experience was probably around the year 2000, I was 12 years old… and the base set was finishing up, and people we’re “losing interest” (that interest where almost every kid in the world was playing and obsessed with pokemon, its never reached that level since)…

Anyways, there were unlimited Australian base set boosters on clearance at Harvey Norman… dead, dead cheap… and my mum bought me a pack… I was weirdly sick and tired of breaking packs… I think it was the age, I was growing out of pokemon as I was coming into highschool… I actually told her… why did you get me this!.. I don’t collect anymore!..
Anyways, pulled a Charizard, and went OMG!!

lol you know what… it was sort of like Charlie and the chocolate factory… when he least expected to get the golden ticket.


Toys-R-Us Pokemon League. I used to go on Saturday mornings to trade and earn stamps to eventually get a promo card! I earned myself a Computer Error this way. Not only that, but I remember the line outside the store right before the Fossil expansion was released. It was a madhouse! I got a theme deck and 2 boosters. Looking at all the new cards I had never seen before was so awesome! That always stuck with me and Fossil has been my favorite set ever since.
I just miss the fact that all of my friends were just as in to Pokemon as I was. It was so much fun to bring my cards over to friends houses and trade with them.
Great thread btw!


Nostalgia was all wrapped up in trading for me. As a kid, trading was the ultimate adult transaction. Feigning knowledge that was arbitrary and irrelevant at best, I would do everything I could to produce a greater holo collection. This mostly happened during the Neo era, though at that time the Jungle and Fossil cards were all over as well. I don’t recall ever owning a particularly valuable card. I’m also pretty sure, being from an extremely poor family, that we never bought packs. I would get one or two for birthdays and Christmas from family members and those would hold me over, along with whatever commons I would find on the playground and whatnot. The cards I specifically recall were:

-I distinctly recall staring for what seemed like hours at a Full Heal from Base Set wondering what the hell was in the picture.

-Flipping through the Southern Islands binder. That was a Christmas gift and remains one of my most loved collection items. The cards were all holo inside (score) came with packs, came with post cards, and a sweet binder for all my cards. I wrote a note on one of the post cards to my now-deceased great grandfather. I would later find that post card when clearing out his house after my great grandmother was moved to a home. I teared up.

-I recall getting a Light Neo theme deck for a birthday gift and loving the heck out of it. I kept all the packaging and whatnot because it had Pokemon on it and that meant it was a part of my collection. No questions asked.

-I somehow obtained a holo Ditto from Fossil that someone had laminated. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing and gave it a special place on my dresser top.

Though spotty at best, my memory of collecting is a fond one. I love recalling the inexplicable wonder and the endearing smiles that would spread across my young face when some new treasure would be fated into my small hands. Though it ended in my collection being stolen and a lot of young heart break, I wouldn’t trade the positive memories for anything.


It’s awesome to hear all of your experiences.@funmonkey54, your experience was especially moving in the fact that you had a deeply personal connection with a lot of your collection. I’m terribly sorry that your collection was stolen. Were there any meaningful items you were able to keep?

Another memory of mine was during a modeling competition in New York. I grew up for a few years as a kid model who also did dancing, acting, and singing. We fund raised so I could go there. While there, I was currently fascinated with Mewtwo and loved anything and everything that was Mewtwo (this was during a time where I denied my love of Gyarados because I was still upset he wasn’t a Water/Dragon and instead Water/Flying but couldn’t use any flying moves). But a young adult who I shared a room with while we stayed at the hotel-both our moms there too-saw my love of Pokemon and gave me a special goodbye gift: A Jumbo Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos card. Not having internet at the time, I had no idea how common these things were. I only knew I had never seen anything like it and I absolutely loved it!

Buying some of the Card Collection books was also a big nostalgia trip for me.

Man, those Saturday mornings going to Toysrus were magic. I remember getting the ivy pikachu promo, and thinking it was so cool. There were so many cool cards there that people were trading. What I enjoyed the most about that experience, especially looking back, is that every type of person enjoyed pokemon. However you want to term people, they were all there. I noticed this same pattern at worlds this year more than ever.

There is definitely something about discovering new cards first hand as @raichuforyou & @darkrai mentioned. I vividly remember when Fossil dropped, and my neighbor, who was an only child and had every video game system, got a booster box of cards. Back then, anyone getting a booster box was balling out of control. That was my first time seeing any of these cards. Not being able to look up every card before they dropped allowed kids/collectors to develop their impression directly with the cards.

And Charlie, if this were reddit, that post deserves gold. It was nice seeing how the southern island was a big set for you. That set was my first purchase that got me back into the hobby over a decade ago.

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Best memory is probably all the trading I did with my friends at school etc. when Pokemon tcg was on everyone’s lips. Still can’t get over how awesome both Gym expansions were back then and even now, Kanto gym leaders ftw.

And the smell of freshly opened booster packs… can’t beat that! :-*

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VERY well done everybody. Loved the stories and all were very articulate.

Regarding Pokemon, I experienced it all through my sons eyes and the stories are many.
Personally, the same emotions for me were raised during the silver age comic era which ran from 1956-1970. Waiting for the next issue of Amazing Fantasy was nearly unbearable…but always worth it:)

Never forget these feelings. Even the new ones your experiencing today. Thirty years from now you’ll remember them as happening during the best of times:)


I miss the old days in terms of the excitement and wonder of buying a new pack and expecting the world, but I don’t miss stores jacking up the prices because everyone wanted Pokemon cards at the time, or kids breaking into fights over their Pokemon cards lol. My first card was a Charmeleon that came free with an issue of Nintendo Power. Pokemon is one of those things that just sort of came out of nowhere so I didn’t pay it much mind until it was all the kids at school were talking about. I sold away Charmeleon for some snack money because ice cream sounded like a better deal than a Pokemon card.

A few months later I bought the Zap! deck and started building my collection. When my mom found that we could order booster packs straight from Wizards of the Coast’s web site for a reasonable price, we started doing that instead of buying from physical stores that were charging $8-10+ for one pack. One of these purchases got me my Base Set Charizard. :heart_eyes: And I was way too amused to get ANY new cards, because I remember that I noted down the day I got a Base Set Poliwhirl in my school planner too. It was kind of nice having other kids to trade with, but I wasn’t able to trade that often because none of us knew how to make fair trades (or actually play the card game either for that matter), or I had nothing that I was willing to trade that anybody else wanted.

I was always into having a card of every single Pokemon, so when I went to see the first movie, I was hoping for Dragonite or Electabuzz, because I already had Pikachu and Mewtwo cards, but I was sad when I got Mewtwo instead. Upstairs at the same mall was a small kiosk where a guy was selling Pokemon cards out of a binder and I flipped the hell out when I saw he had the Fossil Mew promo and dropped $10 for it because I thought it was my only chance ever in life to own a Mew card. A lot of stores somehow had Japanese cards too. I remember finding Japanese Gym cards at the Palisades Mall in late 1999 and picking out the few that looked cute or interesting to me.

For those first few years, every new expansion was a whole experience in itself. When Jungle came out I was on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, and it just so happened to be hurricane season. So I remember running around the boardwalk, getting blasted by sand, so I could get to the store that sold Jungle cards. Fossil was exciting because it meant that every Pokemon now had a card, and Base 2 I liked at the time because I wasn’t able to get very many Base booster packs and I didn’t have a lot of Base holos, so I bought a ton of those too. Team Rocket were also my favorite characters in the anime, and it provided more chances to get cards of Pokemon I lacked, so I loved the Rocket set.

Gym Heroes and Gym Challenge were the first sets I skipped out on. I didn’t like the artwork because so much of it was just the Generation I Ken Sugimori stock art, which I thought was ugly even back then. I came back in with Neo Genesis because my mom got me some 1st edition packs for Christmas 2000. But that was around the time Pokemon was losing favor as a fad so that was around the time I started phasing out of the card game (I still loved the video games though). My online friend sent me a pack or two of Neo Revelation for Christmas 2001 and those were the last cards I obtained for years.

For Christmas 2008 my grandma sent me some Christmas money and I didn’t have any immediate wants to spend it on. I had just spent most of that summer ranking all 493 Pokemon at the time to do a rankings list on my forum and was basically more obsessed with Pokemon than ever. I thought, “Hey, maybe I should buy some Pokemon cards for a goof” and ordered some packs of DP sets from online. Being obsessed with something AND being an adult with disposable income meant that all of my savings suddenly evaporated as I bought card after card after lot after lot and my parents thought I had lost my mind. I also spent my 21st birthday not drinking or socializing but signing up for PayPal to buy more cards on eBay, and transcribing several years’ worth of Pokemon cards to add to the card index on my web site.

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That is quite the tale! And @frost, want to know something funny about my experience with the Movie Promos? After me and a few friends saw the movie, the person handing out the cards called us over and said, “Hey, my boss wants me to get rid of these since it’s the last day, want to take a handful?” It was an amazing day. I had like 6 of the Ancient Mew and so many different versions of the promos that it was ridiculous. Too bad I sold those long ago in my youth for a stupidly cheap price.

I’m liking the connections that a lot of people are having with their favorite sets and how it seems determined by their experiences. :stuck_out_tongue:

When I bought my packs down in the indoor market. Used to walk down there with my friend and ‘weigh’ packs by holding one in each hand to find holos.

I remember two charizard stories.

  1. I opened a booster pack right there in front of the market stall. Got a charizard. The guy behind the counter bought it from me for £80. I bought a lot of packs that day.

  2. I had another charizard. I swapped it on the playground for 24 holos. He tried to take the swap back after school but I refused. That was a great day. I remember how scarce that card was - along with the other two starters, and at my school, pidgeot.

I remember visiting my cousins in another county. For whatever reason (probably just coincidence) what was rare at my school was apparently common at theirs. I swapped lots of cards and ended up with some pidgeot and blastoises.

I returned to school a hero! Haha great times.

I also recall linked battles and there was always that one kid who yanked the cable out if he was going to lose.

Remember when Mew was available? And i worked out how to clone by removing the cable. Ruined the market haha

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I recall I used to make crazy deals for cards I needed.
I used to have a carddex and wanted one of each card.
My friend had a Sun Castform and I desperately needed it. I offered him $5.00 cash, and any 40 of my cards from my trade binder LOL Though back in the day my trade binder was all spares.

Side question to this since a lot of people brought it up. What were your guys’ favorite pulls or trades back in that day? I’ll give mine:

Alakazam – A friend had an Alakazam, one of the few cards I desperately wanted from the Base editions, he simply wanted Arcanine since it was his favorite Pokemon. I couldn’t find ANYONE who had Arcanine, an Uncommon, and was left sad. Finally, one day I opened a new pack and got one, traded it for his scratched up Alakazam.

Dragonair – It was the first rare card I got from a pack. I opened it up and traded it for a Magmar after someone on the bus told me Stars were Uncommon and Diamonds were Rare, I believed him being the gullible child I was. A friend told me of my mistake but made the other kid trade my Dragonair back. Still have it!

Gyarados – A friend from my neighborhood had it and it was one of his favorite cards. I traded a BUNCH of things for it, including my original Alakazam, and it started my love interest in Gyarados.

Mewtwo – I had so many lucky pulls from all of the first few packs that featured Mewtwo. Pulled a Base Mewtwo from a Pack as well as a Japanese Dark Mewtwo from Team Rocket. Also one of my favorite Pokemon.

Shining Gyarados – This was the 5th Gyarados card I had. I had pulled 3 different kinds previously but never expected to get this gem. Bought three Neo packs, got a few rare cards, but the last pack held my beloved and I shouted with joy while in my mother’s van. It was what made me begin my true collection. The base Gyarados started the interest and the Shining Gyarados began the journey. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Great thread!! And love to read all the stories.

Back in the days my brother asked for a game for the GameBoy called Pokémon for Sinterklaas (a Dutch kind of Christmas holiday).
I bought it for him just before the store was sold out and learned a lot about the game reading the Walkthrough book that was included and watched the Pokémon Weekend marathon on TV.
That’s when I got addicted to Pokémon.

We played the game together and trained our Charmeleon to Charizard so we could beat Misty 
Later on we learned about the Pokémon cards and all our money disappeared. We went to our local shop every week in the hope new Boosters arrived, because back then the shop was sold out the same day new Boosters arrived, sometimes within a few hours. Good old crazy times.
One day me and my brother had 100 Gulden (45 Euros) to spend on cards. My brother went to the shop and bought the last 2 Boosters + 1 Hitmonchan. The Hitmonchan for 50 Gulden!
Opened the 2 packs at home and got… another Hitmonchan lol.

Every day we played the Pokémon games and sorted out our cards.
All the Boosters we opened we opened together and had a competition who pulled the best card(s). Great memories.

Now I’m the only one who collects the cards, but still we both play the games and open the Boosters together.

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This thread is wonderful, but I hope I’m not necroposting!
Anyway, I have lots of nice stories about the beginning of my pokemon obsession. It was summer and I was just a kid in the fourth grade when my dad bought me two decks for my name-day. They were ZAP! and the classic Base set: I was super happy, I already liked pokemon a lot, but cards were still quite scarce in southern Italy: you could easily find theme decks, but booster packs were rarer.
I learned quickly how to play the game with my cousin and we loved playing with those decks, even if they were always made by the same cards.
When I went back to school I discovered a lot of other base set cards, I remember that even commons like Doduo were a special thing if you pulled them before the majority of the other kids. Internet was still really slow to use and we discovered the cards as we found them. My first real booster packs were given to me as a gift after an eye examination: the doctor used those damned drops that expand the pupils and make you see everything blurred. They were two base set packs and a Jungle one: in the first I pulled a fire-type holo card, and even if I had not seen that card IRL and even if I couldn’t see well, I recognised the infamous Charizard. My real collection started here, in the years I developed a deep affection for that card, it’s a card I would never part with, EVER. The other rares were Item finder and a not-holo Kangaskhan.
There was a nice situation at school: only a boy had Charizard (me), only one had Venusaur and only a girl had Blastoise. We felt special in some way, like some kind of chosen ones, it was REALLY exciting at the time.
Then it was awesome to discover new expansions, like fossil or the mysterious Gym series (that never came out in italian) or to receive the Southern Island binder as a present for my birthday, I LOVED it (and I still think it was one of the coolest gift sets ever made by the brand).
I slowly stopped collecting with Neo Destiny and E-series, the first four EX series consolidated my farewell to the world of pokemon cards, but I kept all my cards, unlike my friends, who were selling them to follow the new Yu-gi-oh powerful trend.
I came back to collecting another summer, when EX Hidden Legends came out: Ex cards hit me like a blast, I pulled Ninetales EX in my first booster pack, and the excitement of collecting came back. I did never really stop to collect since then, even if there were some month of pause here and there, I think pauses are always a healthy way to hold the compulsive shopping.
I still have LOTS of vivid moments of that age. I miss the times when you could find booster packs in every toy shop, and even in lots and lots of kiosks! A time when a Misty’s Goldeen could become a real treasure for some little kids and when cunning comic store owners sold base set Charizards for 100.000 Lire (the old italian currency, they equal to 75 dollars).


Nice story prince and well written.
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