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The Pokémon Company has apologised after scalpers appeared to spoil a planned collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
A line of Pokémon x Van Gogh merchandise was planned to be made available this week, including a statue, a plush, a tote bag, and more, to celebrate 50 years of the Van Gogh Museum.
When the items were first made available on Thursday, social media videos showed huge crowds swarming the museum, snatching up items, with claims that many people had bragged about plans to resell the items for profit.
24 hours later, the limited edition Van Gogh merchandise went on sale via the online Pokémon store. However, moments after the items went live for sale, the most popular items immediately sold out, with auction sites quickly filling up with listings at inflated prices soon after.
The speed at which the items sold out led to many fans suggesting that the items were targeted by scalper bots, computer programs designed to find products as soon as they’re added to a website and then buy them quicker than a human can.
At the time of publication, there are currently over 2500 listings for Pokemon x Van Gogh items on eBay.
The special Pikachu promo card, “Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat”, which was given to customers for free after purchasing any item, is listed on the auction site for over $500 by dozens of users.
One seller has even had the card professionally graded and is asking for 800 Euros ($846 / £694).
According to users on Reddit, most items at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have also sold out.
Following the immediate online sellout on Friday, The Pokémon Company issued an apology on its social media channels. The company said it was “actively working” on more ways for fans to obtain the Van Gogh promo card in future.
“We apologize to all the fans eagerly awaiting our Pokémon Center x Van Gogh Museum release today,” it said.
“Due to overwhelming demand, all our products from this collection have sold out. We understand this is disappointing to many who were looking to our official email and social media channels for guidance on how and when to purchase.
“We are actively working on ways to provide more ‘Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat’ promo cards for fans shopping at Pokémon Center in the future. Details will be released at a later date. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.”
This isn’t the first time that The Pokemon Company has collaborated with a famous museum. In 2018, Pokemon collaborated with the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum between October 27 and January 20, 2019.
During this time, visitors to the museum were able to purchase one of five promotional Pokemon Trading Card Game cards that featured characters drawn in the style of Munch’s The Scream.
According to the Trading Card price index Price Charting, the card is now worth roughly $670 (£540).