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Errors Everywhere! — Exploring Infamous Errors From Pokemon’s Early History

Hey everyone! Welcome back to my collecting series here on ChannelFireball. I hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend, even if it was just a nice relaxing time for you – I think we all really needed it. As for today’s article, I am going to dive into the world of error Pokemon cards! This is a very broad subject, so let me narrow it down for you…

I want to avoid stuff like miscuts, factory errors, unique oddities like “as for position only” and things of that nature. While those cards are cool and are definitely sought after, they are just not what I am going for today. Today I am looking to get a nice variety of true error cards, and the list I have compiled for you all should do just that. Time to kick off the article with a look at a fan favorite in Blastoise!

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“No Stage” Blastoise

Starting off with a fan favorite seems like a good idea, even if the error is one of the less exciting ones. The error here is simple and is in the top right corner of the card. Upon comparison, you will notice that the error copy is lacking the word “Stage” in the Evolution instructions up there. It seems like there was an issue with the printing of that card, leading very few copies to end up like this. It is found very rarely in the standard Unlimited Base Set pack, so we know how it got into circulation, but that doesn’t help the pitiful odds of opening this beast. In fact, despite the simplicity of this error, even one in terrible condition will sell for about $300, which is certainly nothing to ignore. This turtle has always been a popular one, but this error card goes the extra mile!

Blaine’s Charizard

A well-known fact about Blaine’s Charizard is that the unlimited versions have an error version, as well as the corrected version. Some of them were mistakenly printed with a Fighting symbol in the text of the first attack. The corrected version has this mistake fixed, and the Fighting symbol is a Fire symbol as it was intended to be. The corrected version is rarer, as most of the cards have the error. This may come as a surprise to you all because errors tend to be rarer, but in this case, the print runs containing each copy were drastically different, leaving the error version with far more copies. All 1st Edition copies have the error, so there is no variation amongst them. This is certainly one of the more popular errors on this list, as Charizard does tend to be in the spotlight! That is part of the reason why I decided to start off with this one, as it tends to be one of the more interesting ones for people.

“D” Butterfree

This is an error where you must know to look for, otherwise you will likely pass over it without noticing. The key here is the 1st Edition symbol. As you can see, the error copy has a “d” as opposed to a “1” inside the 1st Edition symbol, which is what the nickname for this error is referencing. It is an uncommon error, but not nearly as valuable or rare as the cards we have already discussed. In fact, despite Butterfree being named after this error, there have been other Jungle commons that have had the same error on them. It is just the most common on Butterfree and I believe Butterfree was discovered first, making it the poster child of this one.

Dark Dragonite

Even after looking at the images above, you may catch yourself thinking they are the same picture if you are not already familiar with this error. The difference is very subtle but makes all the difference in the world. In Team Rocket, two Dragonite were released. The holo version numbered 5/82 and the non-holo version numbered 22/82. The error comes in when the non-holo version is incorrectly numbered 5/82 as if it were the holo version. Thanks to TCA Gaming doing a video on his uncut Team Rocket sheets a few years back, it is now known that the holo version of Dark Dragonite somehow made its way onto some of the uncommon sheets. This means that when the cards were printed, it was printed as a non-holo, and thus the error was born. It is estimated that 5,000 of these made their way into circulation, and even the worst condition of those sell for a few hundred dollars.

“No Damage” Ninetales

This is a rare case where something is just missing from a card, and I have to say that I am a fan of this one. Ninetales would love to deal damage with its attack, but the error version is missing the damage output! The eighty damage that its attack is supposed to do can be seen on the normal copy above and is clearly missing on the error copy. This is about the Shadowless Ninetales from Base Set, as neither the Unlimited nor the 1st Edition copies have an error form. This is likely because it can only be found in some of the Shadowless Brushfire theme decks, meaning the error never really had a chance to get printed onto a different variation of the card or make it into circulation any other way. In this case, the error card is worth substantially more than the regular version due to the rarity of the error.

“Ink Smear” Haunter

I know I said I was going to stay away from printing defects and things of the like, and while this one is encroaching on that territory, Gengar is my favorite Pokemon line, and I think this error is sweet.

This Haunter has something that no other card really has, as this is sort of a print defect, but it has made its way onto enough of the Haunters where it wasn’t just a printer acting up for a day or something. It was not on a lot of the Haunters and was only found rarely in Unlimited Fossil packs. This means no 1st Edition copies are out there and means your chances of pulling it are not great. This along with the demand for the error does make it demand a premium over its normal counterpart, with used copies going for around $200.

One more thing about this Haunter. This error is not to be confused with the “cigar stain” errors that feature stains due to additional yellow ink being included in the printing process, though those are similar in nature to this one. See below for an image of this sort of error.

Dark Persian

Somehow this card has just eluded me my entire Pokemon career, as it is the single card spoken of in this article that I have not owned for at least a short period of time. I do not go out of my way to obtain these cards, but I have found good deals on some of them, and others have stumbled into my life when buying collections. Persian, however, is not one of those cards. It is one of the coolest errors in my opinion, as it is a unique error, and something about a Pokemon with no HP printed on it just appeals to me. I think the card looks nice to begin with, and the error boosts that even further for me.

It is not a common error due to how it came into existence. It was included as a promotional card in a Nintendo Power magazine in 2000, but only for a short period of time, as it was recalled soon after its release. This clearly did not stop some people from hanging onto the error copy, as they remain in circulation to this day.

“Red Cheeks” Pikachu

The correct version of this Pikachu card has yellow cheeks, as shown above. This is a situation like the Blaine’s Charizard in terms of how this happened, as the error was printed until they realized the mistake and corrected it. This time, though, the error version did remain rarer and holds a higher value. This card has always been in demand, error or not, though I have to say it felt like the red cheeks error was highly talked about for as long as I can remember. With the recent price increase in 1st Edition Base Set, all versions of this Pikachu have reached ridiculous prices, and I do not see that changing anytime soon.

There is also another error that can occur with 1st Edition Base Set Pikachu, where the 1st Edition stamp only shows up a little bit, and that error card is referred to as a ghost stamp Pikachu. This is entirely different than a grey stamp, as you can see down below.

Wartortle

This has got to be one of the lesser-known errors and one of the harder ones to spot. If you do not know to look for it, it seems unlikely that you would happen to check out the evolution box and realize the issue here unless you were really studying the card. The error here is that, believe it or not, Wartortle does not evolve from itself. It evolves from Squirtle, which is what should be shown in the Evolution box in the top left corner of the card. However, on the error version, Wartortle is shown in its own Evolution box.

This error is quite rare as it was released in an exceptionally low number of Unlimited Base Set packs (like how the error Dark Dragonite was released). We do not have the same level of knowledge on the specifics of this one, though.

“No Symbol” Jungle Holos

The error here is that the Snorlax on the right is missing its Jungle set symbol, which should have been printed on every card in the set. In the Unlimited print run of Jungle, every holo in the set had some amount sneak by with no set symbol. While errors tend to confuse people new to the hobby, or simply go unnoticed until they gain more experience, this error is especially confusing because it messes with card identification. This often leads to people unfamiliar with the error thinking they have a card from Base Set, as those are the only cards in the game that lack an identifier of some kind. It is unknown how many of these exist, but they are not nearly as uncommon as the previous error we discussed. They were only printed in the early stages of the unlimited print run, meaning none can be found in 1st Edition, but that was apparently enough to supply the community with a healthy amount. If you want to obtain a complete set of these, it is not going to break the bank, but it will command a decent premium over the regular versions of the cards. This is great if you are on the hunt for them, and the cards are very cool, but it does not make for as great of a payday if you happen to find some laying around.

“Ivy Jungle” Pikachu

This has got to be one of the weirdest errors in the game, as its existence is truly an anomaly, and it is the weirdest one from today. So, you may have noticed that neither of the Pikachu shown above are from the Jungle set, both are forms of the first ever black star promo card. However, only one of them was distributed as a promo, and that is the version on the left that lacks the 1st Edition stamp. Unfortunately for anyone holding a copy of that one and drooling at its inclusion in this article, the regular version is worth less than $10, even in near mint condition. However, that is not the case for the error version whatsoever, which lead to its inclusion in this article. It is not exactly known how this Pikachu made its way into the 1st Edition print run of Jungle, skipping out on the Unlimited print run, because it was not intended to be included in the set in any form. This is a case of the first ever Nintendo Black Star Promo somehow sneaking into a set printed at a similar time. It is unknown how many of these exist, but they are not a common thing to find, and command a price of over $400 for ones in the worst condition. From there it only goes up, with a PSA 9 Mint copy selling for over $1500 dollars in September of 2020.

That is going to be it for this one, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a review of some of the coolest error cards in the game and I am sorry if I happened to miss one of your favorites. There were a lot to choose from, but I think I did a solid job of having a large variety here. It is possible I revisit this topic in the future, especially if this seems well received, as there more error cards to cover and different errors to go over. If I missed one you were hoping to read about, leave a comment down below! I always love to here from you guys, so even if you just have a question or a comment, I always try to get back to you. I will be back next week with another article for you all, so stay tuned for that! Peace.

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