On Saturday, January 29, 2022, famous Pokémon YouTuber Leonhart gave fans a once-in-a-lifetime chance: to step back in time to the 1990s! As part of Leonhart’s 90s Pop Up Shop, guests who purchased a limited VIP ticket to the event were invited to a 90s-themed retro card shop to purchase rare, expensive Pokémon card packs for their original retail price of $3.99! The event took place at The Factory in the entertainment district known as Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas, and all packs sold at the event came directly from Leonhart’s personal collection (valued at approximately $500,000 in total).
PSA participated as a sponsor in the event and offered an on-site submission center for those wishing to grade the pulls from their packs. No cards were graded onsite; submissions were brought back to Santa Ana, Calif., and are being graded depending on the service level requested. Notable submissions from the event included four Base Set Charizards, a Dark Blastoise from Team Rocket, among other nostalgic favorites. The PSA booth also included an interactive “Price That Pokémon” game and exclusive promo cards.
Upon entering the venue, guests were transported into the world of the original Pokémon Game Boy games. In theme park fashion, areas of the event were given names based on key regions from the Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow video games. For example, PSA’s area was nicknamed “Celadon City Market,” while a showcase of Leonhart’s rare Pokémon collectibles was dubbed the “Pewter Museum of Science,” and so on. But the main attraction was the “Pokémon Stadium,” where guests (who weren’t afraid of the spotlight) were welcome to step on stage and open their vintage packs in front of the thousands of attendees and countless viewers on Leonhart’s YouTube livestream. The event hosts, Pokémon influencers SuperDuperDani and RealBreakingNate, kept things lively as they commentated the pack openings, which included Base Set, Jungle, Base Set 2, Team Rocket, Gym Heroes, and Gym Challenge.
Additionally, there was a whole host of Instagram friendly photo backdrops, Pokémon card vendors, and even a meet-and-greet station for Veronica Taylor, the original voice actor for the Pokémon TV series main character, Ash Ketchum.
PSA staff had a blast speaking to attendees, accepting submissions, and enjoying the retro atmosphere. Attendees left the event in a glow of 90s nostalgia and PSA was grateful to participate in this one-of-a-kind Pokémon celebration.