Cards are not the only thing that can be collected nowadays, plushes and figurines also being items of interest for collectors. However depending on where you live, the process of building up a collection can be either quite easy, or more of a challenge. When it comes to collecting Pokemon plushes, I have a few pieces of advice to give, which will hopefully make collecting a little easier.
Probably one of the most important things to try and do is to buy plushes in store if at all possible. While online stores can provide a much wider variety of plushes to choose from, the shipping cost of the plush in question can become rather expensive, especially when the store is outside the country. If you do decide to buy online, always be aware of what it will cost to ship it. Another benefit to buying in person is the ability to check for authenticity. While Hardrock Pokemon always stocks authentic plushes, there are a number of online stores which carry cheaper rip-offs. Not to say that there are retail stores that never carry fakes, but it’s easier to spot them if you’re actually looking at the item in person.
Of course, the ability to purchase plushes in person depends on where you live. From what I have seen, the practice is easier to do in the United States and Japan, since both have Pokemon Center retail stores scattered in both countries, as well as UFO catchers and other forms of ‘dispensers’. Stores such as Walmart and Target rarely stock the actual plushes, but some of the toys include a miniature plush (in particular, ‘Pokemon Throw Poke Ball’, which is produced by Jakks, includes a miniature plush). Jakks also produces mini plushies, which can be purchased in stores like Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Walgreens, and so forth.
In Canada, Pokemon plushes can also be purchased most Zellers stores, which is where I get most of mine (to find them, you need to locate the specific area of the Toys section that’s stuffed full of different plushes).
If you do choose to buy online rather than in a store, make sure you’re buying from a reputable source. While it seems unfair to condemn all Hong-Kong or China-based stores on eBay, they are the source of the majority of all ‘fake plushes’ on the website. Before you do make a purchase, make sure to see whether or not the image of the plush being sold is an actual picture or it, or a stock photo. If it’s the actual picture, you can do an online search to find a picture of the authentic item, and compare the photos side by side. Normally what makes a fake stand out is how certain decals are applied onto the plush. For example, here is the image of a Pokemon Center Pachirisu Plush that I found posted by a Hong Kong seller:
Compare this to an image of a known legit Pokemon Center plush:
As you can see when comparing the pictures, the Pokemon’s yellow cheeks in the first image look like patches, compared to the second plush which has a much cleaner appearance. The same can be noticed on the blue spikes coming off of the ears. The hands and feet of Pachirisu in the first picture also show individual fingers and toes, compared to the true PC plush where neither of those things is visible. It is small differences like this that can reveal the legitimacy of a Pokemon plush. When buying online as well, don’t be fooled by a visible tag in the photo. Even fake Pokemon plushes can have tags attached onto them, so rely on the quality of the shown plush instead.