an old collector struggling with the new
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April 27th, 2013 (8:23 PM).
They introduced the alternate foil prints back in 2002 with the Legendary Collection.
However, technically, the 1st Edition prints were alternate prints in the early sets, too (every set released before Legendary Collection except for Base Set 2 had a first edition print run). And the first set (known as Base Set) had multiple "alternate" prints simply because Wizards was experimenting with appearances during the initial print runs.
Regarding events in the UK, I'm not as familiar with conventions and the like in the UK. That'd be something to the users Drakow or Renpuu, since they're actually in the UK. Use the league locator to find a Pokemon league near you:
But other than providing you a means to find a local league, I'm afraid I personally can't help you with locating any unofficial Pokemon conventions in your area. I'm stuck way across the pond in America and am really not all that familiar with anything going on in the UK other than that big comic expo in London that happens every year.
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