Jens Ishøy Prehn and Per Ishøy Nielsen have officially assembled the largest collection of Pokémon cards in the world, consisting of 32,809 different cards.
The brothers, now in their thirties, began collecting the cards back in 1999 when they first became available in their home country of Denmark.
“We were quickly immersed in the rich world of Pokémon and decided to start a collection as brothers,” said Jens.
"The motto of Pokémon is 'Gotta catch 'em all' and we took that to heart, trying to get one of each card."
For Jens and Per, the initial appeal of Pokémon lied in the novel designs of the creatures, introduced into a media landscape previously dominated by “warlike or robotic” characters.
Additionally, the cards proved to be particularly collectable. "The way Pokémon presented the 151 original Pokémon and especially the trading card sets, in which no card was so rare as to it being practically impossible to get, really spoke to this ‘collector's gene’," Jens explained.
The first Pokémon card they captured was a Venusaur from the Base set. The pack they bought came with 10 other cards, but seeing that iconic Venusaur for the first time is imprinted in the brothers’ memories as a watershed moment in their lives.
As Jens and Per grew up, they became acquainted with the “strong collectors community in Denmark,” which enabled them to build up their collection to its current record-breaking status.
“Meeting other collectors and seeing how they’ve decided to collect has kept the hobby interesting, and has helped us delve deeper into the many layers of Pokémon cards that might have otherwise eluded us,” Jens said.
The brothers have a particular fondness for the Gym sets, with Sabrina's Alakazam from Gym Challenge #16/132 being their favourite card in the collection.
However, the item that means the most to them is a first edition Vaporeon from the Jungle set, which was gifted to Per by Jens when he graduated high school. Despite being one of the most valuable cards in their collection, worth around $7,500 (£6,237), the brothers would never consider selling it.
Ever since they were children, the brothers have loved the Pokémon franchise, and they’ve now passed their passion on to their families too: Jens’ wife and daughters are big fans of the animé and enjoy watching it with him.
Jens and Per also enjoy playing Pokémon Go, in addition to every new Pokémon video game that’s released. However, they admitted that “none of it has enchanted us like collecting has."
Despite their impressive collection, there is one card that has evaded the brothers – the rare Pikachu cards awarded to the winning trainers at the Pokémon World Championships.
"These cards are very rare and are often sold off at the event, so we have never managed to get our hands on one," said Jens. "It would be a dream come true to add one of these cards to our collection."
With new sets of Pokémon cards being released each year, we’ve no doubt that Jens and Per will continue to catch ‘em all!
Although the brothers' collection boasts the most unique cards, it isn’t the most valuable Pokémon card collection; that record belongs to Gary Haase (USA), whose cards are worth an estimated $10 million (£8.3 million).