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The Original Era of the Pokemon TCG ran from its release until the first Neo expansions that introduced Gen 2 Pokemon.

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1996

February 27, 1996

Nintendo releases Pokemon Red and Green for Game Boy in Japan.

FEB
October 15, 1996

CoroCoro Comic‘s November 1996 issue is published and distributes the first Pokemon cards: glossy promo Pikachu and Jigglypuff cards. 

October 20, 1996

Game Freak and Nintendo partner with Media Factory to release the Base Set of the Japanese Pocket Monsters Trading Card Game.

OCT

How to read this timeline
The left side will have Japanese events, while the right side has international ones. For most of the original era, the right side will be blank since Pokemon had not yet made it overseas!

November 30, 1996

Easily Understand How to Play Pokémon Cards published. Contains non-glossy versions of Pikachu and Jigglypuff promos previously issued in CoroCoro.

NOV
December 12, 1996

The first card set product, Pokemon 1996 Starter Gift Box Set, is released in stores.

December 1996

The first Pokemon card game event is held at the 5th Next Generation World Hobby Fair in Chiba, Japan

DEC

1997

January 15, 1997

CoroCoro Comic‘s February 1997 issue is published with a Mew promo card

JAN
March 5, 1997

Jungle expansion released in Japan

MAR
May 2, 1997

 Official Red, Green & Black TCG Playmats released through Pokémon Centers and a small number of toy shops. This came with a Slowpoke promo card.

May 15, 1997

CoroCoro Comic‘s June 1997 issue is published with a Mewtwo promo card

May 20, 1997

Pocket Monsters Fan Book is published with 2 promo cards

MAY
June 5, 1997

Fossil expansion released in Japan

June 5, 1997

Vol.1 of Pokemon Card Fan Club Magazine published

June 13, 1997

Official Card File (card binder) released with an Electabuzz promo

June 14 - 15, 1997

1st Official Pokemon TCG Tournament held

June 15, 1997

CoroCoro Comic‘s July 1997 issue is published with a jumbo promo card

JUN
August 9 - 17, 1997

Japan Rail East Pokémon Stamp Rally 

August 15, 1997

CoroCoro Comic‘s September 1997 issue is published with a 2 promo cards

AUG
September 5, 1997

Vol.2 of Pokemon Card Fan Club Magazine published

September 15, 1997

CoroCoro Comic‘s October 1997 issue is published with a a jumbo promo card

SEP
October - December, 1997

Toyota Auto Campaign begins

Toyota Auto Campaign

From October through December 1997, customers who went to Toyota Auto dealerships around Japan could receive a pamphlet with two promo cards in it. The Pikachu was a alternate art

Read More »
October 15, 1997

First Pokemon illustration contest announced in CoroCoro Comic‘s November 1997 issue. 

October 15, 1997

CoroCoro Comic‘s November 1997 issue is published with a Flying Pikachu promo card

OCT
November 8, 1997 - February 15, 1998

2nd Official Tournament ‘s regional circuit begins with the Kobe Masala Cup

November 18, 1997

Vol.3 of Pokemon Card Fan Club Magazine published with a Dark Persian promo card.

November 21, 1997

Team Rocket expansion released in Japan

NOV
December 7, 1997 - February 1, 1998

7th Next Generation World Hobby Fair takes place, with a special limited Expansion Sheet on sale with 3 promo cards.

December 10, 1997 - January 31, 1998

Nintendo 64 W Double Get Campaign launches

December 15, 1997

CoroCoro Comic‘s January 1998 issue is published with 2 promo cards

December 15, 1997

Winners of the first Pokemon illustration contest are announced in CoroCoro Comic‘s January 1998 issue. Winners each receive a copy of the famous Pokemon Illustrator card

December 19, 1997

Team Rocket Gift Pack is released

DEC

1998

February 1998

Tamamushi University Campaign begins in Shogakukan’s grade-specific magazines

February 10 - April 30, 1998

Trade Please! Campaign begins

February 15, 1998

CoroCoro Comic‘s March 1998 issue is published with 2 promo cards

February 28, 1998

Vol.4 of Pokemon Card Fan Club Magazine published

FEB
March 15, 1998

CoroCoro Comic‘s April 1998 issue is published with 3 promo cards

March 23, 1998

First vending machine series “Expansion Sheet 1” released

Vending Machine Sheet 1

Known officially as 拡張シート(Expansion Sheet), the vending machine cards were distributed in 1998 from vending machines around Japan. They all use glossy card stock instead of the standard matte card

Read More »
MAR
May 15, 1998

Second Pokemon illustration contest announced in CoroCoro Comic‘s May 1998 issue to commemorate the release of the first Pokemon Movie later in the summer. 

April 26, 1998

CoroCoro Comic‘s April 1998 issue is published with a jumbo promo card

April 26, 1998

First “Leaders’ Stadium” preconstructed decks are released: Nivi City Gym Deck (Brock’s) and Hanada City Gym Deck (Misty’s).

These decks would build up to the release of the Leaders’ Stadium set, known internationally as Gym Heroes.

April 26, 1998

Charizard Mega Battle Best in Japan national championships held in Chiba, Japan.

APR
May 1998 - December 1998

Shogakukan’s Celadon University Campaign begins by offering elementary schoolers the “Entrance Exam”. A new exam would be administered each subsequent month.

May 15, 1998

Third Pokemon illustration contest announced in CoroCoro Comic‘s June 1998 issue to commemorate the release of the short film attached to the first Pokemon Movie.

May 15, 1998

CoroCoro Comic‘s June 1998 issue is published with a jumbo promo card

MAY
June 17, 1998

Second vending machine series “Expansion Sheet 2” released

Vending Machine Sheet 2

Known officially as 拡張シート(Expansion Sheet), the vending machine cards were distributed in 1998 from vending machines around Japan. They all use glossy card stock instead of the standard matte card

Read More »
June 10, 1998

Final volume (Vol.5) of Pokemon Card Fan Club Magazine published with 2 Touch Change! promos.

JUN
July 15, 1998

CoroCoro Comic‘s August 1998 issue is published with 2 promo cards

July 18, 1998

First Pokemon Movie “Mewtwo Strike Back” premieres in Japan 

July 19 - August 23, 1998

2nd Official Tournament Series “Kamex (Blastoise) Mega Battle” starts its regional tournament circuit.

July 25, 1998

Second pair of Leaders’ Stadium preconstructed decks released: Kuchiba City Gym Deck (Lt. Surge’s) and Tamamushi City Gym Deck (Erika’s).

JUL
August 1, 1998

CoroCoro Comic‘s September 1998 issue holds a photo contest for the Pokemon Clay Master toys

AUG
August 27, 1998

Nintendo launches Pokemon in the United States. Topeka, Kansas to renames itself “Topikachu” for a day to celebrate. They hold a Pokemon party that includes a helicopter airdrop of plush Pokemon dolls.

September 12, 1998

Pokemon Yellow version is released in Japan.

September 15, 1998

CoroCoro Comic‘s October 1998 issue is published with a jumbo promo card

SEP
September 8, 1998

Pokemon anime has its western premiere on Kids WB, quickly becoming the channel’s top cartoon show.

September 28, 1998

Nintendo releases Pokemon Red and Blue for Game Boy in America.

October, 1998

Japan’s Official Gym series begins, kicking off the TCG’s local organized play tournaments

October 24, 1998

Leaders’ Stadium (Gym Heroes) expansion released in Japan

OCT
October 1998

KFC runs the first fast food promotion with Pokemon. In addition to the Kids’ Meals toys, four plush “beanies” were available: Dratini, Zubat, Seel, and Vulpix.

November 1, 1998 - January 31, 1999

All Nippon Airways “Get in a Jet! Double Chance Campaign” begins

November 5, 1998

2nd Anniversary Calendar released with the original Birthday Pikachu promo.

November 13, 1998

Easily Understand How to Play Pokémon Cards: Latest Edition published with 2 promo cards.

November 15, 1998

CoroCoro Comic‘s December 1998 issue is published with 4 promo cards

November 23, 1998

Third and final vending machine series “Expansion Sheet 3” released

Vending Machine Sheet 3

Known officially as 拡張シート(Expansion Sheet), the vending machine cards were distributed in 1998 from vending machines around Japan. They all use glossy card stock instead of the standard matte card

Read More »
November 23, 1998 - April 30, 1999

Communication Evolution “Masaki” Campaign begins

NOV
December 4, 1998

1000 Elementary schoolers who complete the Tamamushi University Hyper Professor exam are given a special Magikarp promo, commonly known as “University Magikarp”. 

December 4, 1998

Pokemon Card Game Quick Starter Gift Set is released

December 12, 1998 - January 24, 1999

9th Next Generation World Hobby Fair begins. 3 Pokemon TCG tournaments are held across the venue locations.

At least one of the venues (Tokyo’s) holds a Parent-child tournament that distributes the coveted Trophy Kangaskhan.

December 18, 1998

Pokémon Trading Card Game for Game Boy Color is released in Japan

DEC
December 1998

Wizards of the Coast obtains the license to publish and distribute the Pokemon TCG internationally.

December 1998

Wizards distributes a “Demo Pack” to select retailers and at Magic: The Gathering (MTG) trading card shows as a limited production run.

The remaining Pokémon Demo Game packs were given to guests and vendors at the annual E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) event which was held from May 13–15 in 1999.

1999

January 1, 1999

Pokemon Song Best Collection music CD is released

January 1 - June 1, 1999

Pokémon Fan Club sends members a Tropical Present Jumbo card if they earn 100 GET points.

January 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s February 1999 issue is published with a promo card

January 29, 1999

Pokémon Card GB Official Guidebook is published in Japan by Media Factory

JAN
January 9, 1999

Wizards of the Coast releases the Pokemon Trading Card Game’s Base Set.

January 1999

Brian Brokaw launches the Brokamon Center Website which quickly morphs into the Psylum PokeGym, the first incarnation of PokeGym.net

Wizards took over the PokeGym forums after Psylum Network was shut down, and used it as a foundation for their message boards, renaming it to “The Wizards’ PokeGym”.

February 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s March 1999 issue is published with 2 promo cards

February 26, 1999

Third pair of preconstructed Gym preconstructed released: Yamabuki City Gym Deck (Sabrina’s) and Guren Town Gym Deck (Blaine’s) 

FEB
March 1, 1999

Hyper CoroCoro Comic‘s Spring 1999 issue is published with 2 promo cards

MAR
March 1999

Wizards of the Coast launches Prototype Leagues for the Pokemon TCG to test out what would become America’s organized play system.

March 1999

Wizards and Nintendo launch the first mall tours on the East Coast to drum up interest in the Pokemon TCG. Attendance wildly exceeded estimates, with many attendees being turned away due to capacity.

March 1999

A shadowless Base Set Charmeleon is included in the March 1999 issue of Nintendo Power (Vol. 118)

May 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s June 1999 issue announces the Pokemon Snap Best Photo Contest, which would run concurrently with the 64 Mario Stadium.

May 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s June 1999 issue is published with a promo card

May 22, 1999

How I Became a Pokémon Card (commonly known as “Natta Wake”) manga’s first issue is published with a promo card.

May 28, 1999

The successor to the Pokemon Fan Club Magazine, Pokemon Card Trainers Magazine Vol.1 is released with a promo card.

MAY
May 13 - 15, 1999

A shadowless Base Set Pikachu with red cheeks is stamped with a golden “E3” symbol and given out to attendees of the 1999 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

June 1 - July 31, 1999

All Nippon Airways “Everyone’s Happy Campaign” first half begins

June 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s July 1999 issue is published with a promo card

June 25, 1999

Challenge from the Darkness (Gym Challenge internationally) expansion is released in Japan

June 30, 1999

Bessatsu CoroCoro Comic Special‘s August 1999 issue is published with a jumbo promo card

JUN
June 1999

Wizards of the Coast begins Year 1 of the Pokemon League at stores nationwide.

June 1999

Wizards releases the Base Set in Europe.

June 16, 1999

Jungle Expansion is released in America. Prereleases are held through Pokemon Leagues and participants received a prerelease-stamped Clefable.

June 16, 1999

1st Edition Pikachus from the Wizards Black Star promo set are accidentally included in some 1st Edition Jungle packs, making them the first English promos distributed.

July 1999

Pokemon Card Trainers Magazine Vol.2 released

July 11 - August 10, 1999

Challenge Road 1999 Summer begins at Osaka

July 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s August 1999 issue is published with 2 promo cards and a jumbo promo card

July 17, 1999

Southern Islands set released in Japan

July 17, 1999

Second Pokemon Movie, Revelation Lugia (known as Pokemon the Movie 2000: The Power of One overseas) is released in Japan with a promo card for attendees.

July 30, 1999

“Intro Pack” with VHS tape and 2 half decks is released

JUL
July 1999

The first Wizards promo is “officially” distributed through Pokemon Leagues. The version lacks the 1st edition stamp that was previously accidentally issued in Jungle boosters.

July 10 - 11, 1999

Over 44,0000 attendees participate in the combined Pokemon Game Boy and Pokemon TCG Mall Tour stop at Mall of America.

August 1 - September 30, 1999

All Nippon Airways “Everyone’s Happy Campaign” second half begins

August 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s September 1999 issue is published with a promo card

August 21, 1999

Riding on Lapras CD single album is released with a promo card.

August 22, 1999

First Secret Super Battle held in a secret location in Tokyo, Japan to determine a seniors division Japanese national champion.

August 24 - 27, 1999

First Tropical Mega Battle held in Hawaii, USA to determine a juniors division Japanese national champion.

First International Tropical Mega Battle also held at the same event to crown the first international champion.

July 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s August 1999 issue is published with 2 promo cards and a jumbo promo card

July 17, 1999

Southern Islands set released in Japan

July 17, 1999

Second Pokemon Movie, Revelation Lugia (known as Pokemon the Movie 2000: The Power of One overseas) is released in Japan with a promo card for attendees.

July 30, 1999

“Intro Pack” with VHS tape and 2 half decks is released

AUG
September 12 - November 28, 1999

Battle Road 1999 Autumn begins in Kanazawa.

September 22, 1999

How I Became a Pokémon Card Vol.2 (commonly known as “Natta Wake”) is published with a promo card.

SEP
September 1999

A yellow cheeks version of Base Set Pikachu with a golden E3 stamp is released in Nintendo Power‘s September 1999 (Vol. 124) issue. This is similar to the one distributed earlier at E3, but has yellow cheeks and is not shadowless.

September 1999

A Wizards-stamped 1st Edition Pikachu from the Jungle expansion is released in The Duelist Magazine‘s September 1999 issue.

September 18 - October 7, 1999

PokeTour 1999 begins in Australia and distributes a stamped Base Set Pikachu.

October 1, 1999

Pokemon Card Trainers Magazine Vol.3 is released with a promo card. This was a glossy version of the one given to participants during the 1999 international Tropical Mega Battle.

October 27, 1999

Meowth’s Party music CD is released with a promo card.

OCT
October 5, 1999

Pokemon Red and Blue versions are released in Europe.

October 8, 1999

Fossil Expansion released in America. Prereleases are held at Pokemon Leagues and distribute a prerelease-stamped Aerodactyl. The European version has a cosmos holofoil, while the American ones have the standard starlight holofoil.

October 19, 1999

Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition is released in America.

November 21, 1999

Pokemon Gold and Silver versions are released in Japan, kicking off the beginning of Gen 2.

NOV
November 8 - December 31, 1999

Burger King begins a massive promotion with Pokemon, featuring 57 different toys, 6 23-carat gold plated Pokemon cards, and 151 collectible cards.

November 9, 1999

Pokemon the First Movie soundtrack is released ahead of the film in America. Buyers of the album could mail in a proof of purchase to receive a Jigglypuff promo card.

November 12, 1999

Pokemon the First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back is released in America. Theatergoers receive one of four stamped promo cards for attending.

December 1, 1999

Pokemon Card Trainers Magazine Vol.4 is released with 2 promo cards.

December 10, 1999

“Pokemon Gold and Silver” Release Commemorative Premium File (Neo Premium File 1) is released in Japan. These were available for advance purchase at select tournament venues before the official release.

December 15, 1999

CoroCoro Comic‘s January 2000 issue is published with a promo card

DEC
December 1999

Top Deck Magazine‘s December 1999 issue is released with a W-stamped Kabuto from the Fossil expansion.

December 1999

Fruit by the Foot (an American candy snack) includes a gold-bordered Jungle Meowth in some packages.

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  • Card Name

  • Language

  • Card Type

  • Owner's or Modifier

  • Suffix (EX, GX, SP, etc)

  • Promo Set

  • Holofoil treatment

  • Artist

  • Release Year

  • Promo release type

  • Release Event

  • Additional attributes