But 21-year-old Lisa Courtney – who claims the toys helped her cope with years of taunts about her disabled arm at school – officially has the world’s largest collection.
She celebrated the Guinness World Record award and her 21st birthday in Japan, the birthplace of Pokémon. ‘I fell in love with them straight away and my collection started growing,’ said Ms Courtney, from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
‘I was severely bullied at senior school, both verbally and physically. The bullying was quite bad and I was tearful most days. Coming home from school, the Pokémon really helped me through the hard times.’
Her collection boasts more than 13,000 different pieces of Pokémon merchandise – including her favourite character, Absol. Ms Courtney said she was delighted to enter the Gamers Edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.
‘It has just made everything I’ve done so worthwhile – I was so proud and I’m so thrilled,’ she added.