If you were a kid or teenager during the 1980s, chances are youlovedGarbage Pail Kids cards.
If you were a parent during the 1980s, chances are you did not…
Like theMars Attackscards that Topps released during the 1960s, their Garbage Pail Kids product line was met with an equal amount of disgust from outraged parents.
So much so that many parents and even some teachers wanted them banned altogether.
But why so much fuss over these little pieces of cardboard?
Well, those pieces of cardboard contained artwork and themes that weren’t exactly the most kid-friendly or positive in nature.
In fact, they were intended to parody the incredibly popular toy line Cabbage Patch Kidsproduced by Coleco at the time that actually were positive.
By contrast, the imagery on the Garbage Pail Kids cards and accompanying messaging were/are considered too grotesque, aggressive, violent and self-destructive for children.
And you’ll see why as we run through the list of the 15 most valuable.
Let’s jump right in!
Note:Topps originally printed these cards with a matte finish but it is thought they eventually ran out of that card stock and had to switch to a glossy paper instead.
Those glossy versions are rarer and therefore carry a premium to them versus their matte counterparts.
Prices quoted in this article are estimates of the glossy versions.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #1a Nasty Nick
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $7,500
First on the list is "Nasty Nick", the very first card of the very first series released in 1985.
Because it was the first card, it was positioned in the upper left of the printing sheet which meant it was often cut in such a way that the centering would be off from left to right.
That's why finding these in top grade can be so difficult and why they're so expensive in PSA 10 condition, as a result.
The artwork features Nick, dressed as a vampire, ready to bite the neck of a female doll.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #6a Adam Bomb
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $4,000
When people think of the Garbage Pail Kids franchise, this is usually the first image that pops into their heads.
Because this was the image that was used on the original boxes and packs in which the cards were distributed for the first five series.
It's a similar effect seen with how Charizard was elevated to be one of the most expensive first edition Pokémon cards in part because it was on the cover art of one of the original video games.
With Adam Bomb's increased exposure on boxes, this card is enormously popular and collectors are willing to pay big bucks for a copy in high grade.
Adam is pictured pressing a detonator as a mushroom cloud (remember how prevalent the threat of nuclear war was during the 1980s) explodes from his head.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #1b Evil Eddie
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,200
You'll immediately notice that the artwork on the Evil Eddie card is the exact same as that on the Nasty Nick card.
This is because for the first series, there are 41 "a" and "b" cards, for a total of 82 cards where the only difference between the "a" and "b" cards is the name of the character that was portrayed.
At least that's the case concerning the fronts of the cards as there are some "a" and "b" cards that do have variations on their reverse sides where some will display a mock "award" while the others will contain a checklist.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #49b Schizo Fran
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,000
Part of the second series release, #49b Schizo Fran depicts a girl doll with two heads that appear to be fighting with each other.
The name "Schizo Fran" is a pun on schizophrenia.
The card's counterpart, #49a Double Heather, is a pun on "double header".
Obviously, the theme with these cards is poking fun at mental disorder.
But even Topps thought that using the word "schizophrenia" or at least poking fun at it would be too controversial and so they later printed this card with the name "Fran Fran" on it instead.
As a result, card #49b can actually be found with two names but the "Schizo Fran" card carries a premium.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #22a Junky Jeff
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,000
Next up we have card #22a or Junky Jeff that features a boy having his garbage-riddled head raided by a starving alley cat.
The likely messaging here is that many kids' heads can be filled with "garbage" in the form of any kind of useless information or interests.
Which is kind of funny when you think about it as this entire series of trading cards was only working to further that notion.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #5b Jay Decay
Estimated (Checklist Back) PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $900
Jay Decay is one of those cards whose back can be found with one of two variations: either a checklist or a mock award/certificate.
The checklist backs appear to get a bump in value, especially if the checklist is in its original, unchecked form.
On the front, a zombie kid is shown rising from the grave while a full moon shines brightly in the background.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #24b Nerdy Norm
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $900
Many times it's easy to associate the names on these cards with their accompanying images.
However, in this case, I am not quite sure what being a nerd has to do with smoking a plethora of cigarettes and consuming large amounts of caffeine.
I guess I can understand the finger in the nose and the stigma that surrounds it and being a "nerd".
It's a stretch, though...
But, when you consider card #24a Nervous Rex, then it becomes much more clear that the topic with these two cards is anxiety and how many people can deal with that in the form of smoking and/or drinking caffeine.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #8b Blasted Billy
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $850
Blasted Billy is Adam Bomb's cousin, as we've seen this image before much earlier in this article.
Although it carries the same exact image of Adam Bomb along with the boxes and wax packs themselves, it just seems to sell for less.
It could be simply because the name "Blasted Billy" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Adam Bomb"...
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #55b Brutal Brad
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $750
Apparently domestic violence or at the very least abusive partners were also on the table in series two with the release of #55b Brutal Brad.
You can see where they were going with card #55a Harry Gary as this is obviously an image of a hairy caveman but Brutal Brad is much more directed towards the violence occurring on this card.
Here we see a caveman who likely has just struck a cavewoman over the head with his club and is dragging her away by her hair.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #26a Slobby Robbie
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $750
Slobby Robbie shows a morbidly obese boy eating ice cream and candy while the scale he sits on explodes beneath him.
If there's any helpful or positive messaging to be found with these cards, then this is at least one good example: don't eat a lot of junk food.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #23b Leaky Lou
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $700
This next card is just flat out weird.
Leaky Lou shows a young boy drinking a glass of water flowing right through the numerous holes that cover his body and he couldn't care less.
Some of the holes have corks in them but not nearly enough to prevent the disaster that's occurring here.
And there's no need for a diaper if all that liquid is bypassing your bladder anyway, Leaky Lou.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #41a Mean Gene
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $700
When I look at this card, I instantly think of movies like "Rambo" and "Commando" that were huge hits during the 1980s and portrayed these types of one man armies dishing out mass destruction.
This kid has everything: a machine gun, loads of dynamite, a grenade, arrows, and even spiked boots.
The sunglasses are a nice touch, too.
Along with its counterpart, #41b Joltin' Joe, this card is the last in the first series and is therefore also highly condition sensitive.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #4b Electric Bill
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $700
#4b Electric Bill and #4a Fryin'Brian are arguably two of the most cringe-worthy and disturbing cards in the first series.
A young boy is shown in prisoner attire being shocked in an electric chair.
Somehow this card is even more violent in appearance than the Adam Bomb / Blasting Billy cards and the nuclear explosion, one of the most violent acts of all, that occurs on them.
Perhaps its the image of extreme agony on the boy's face.
Whatever the case, if by now you cannot understand why parents wanted these cards to be banned then I'd say these cards are pretty good examples.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #83b Sumo Sid
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $650
Card #83b Sumo Sid is the very last card issued for the second series and therefore gets a bump in value because of how hard it can be to find them in top grade.
The image of a sumo wrestler with the ground cracking beneath him is nowhere near as controversial as some of the others we've seen.
But, condition is everything in this hobby and because they're usually found in rough shape or off-center because of how they were cut, collectors will pay up for them.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #70a Bad Breath Seth
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $600
Last on our list is card #70a Bad Breath Seth.
Seth has some serious dental and bad breath issues as we see smog pouring from his mouth while a bird falls from the sky, a plant wilts, and another child keels over in a gas mask behind him.
He even has a plug over his own nose.
Hygiene issues may not be as controversial as the violence and self-destruction that we see on other cards in this list so this card is a bit lighter and funnier in a way.
Maybe not to collectors named Seth, though...
Garbage Pail Kids Cards In Review
Whether Garbage Pail Kids cards make you uncomfortable or not, there's no debating how popular they once were and how they've made a comeback in recent years.
Back in the 80s, these cards were so hot that many other spin-off products like t-shirts, lunchboxes, school gear, and even a cartoon on television were produced to capitalize on the hype.
These days, many young kids who had, or couldn't have, them back in the 80s have now become stricken by the nostalgia bug as adults and will pay large amounts of money for them in top grade as you can see.
Full, unsearched, original boxes can even sell for thousands of dollars.
And the five-card wax packs marked with the $0.25 cents price tag on them can sell for hundreds of dollars.
Say what you will about these cards, they definitely had their time and place.
And when people think of the 1980s, they'll likely think of the Garbage Pail Kids right alongside big hair bands, arcades, cheesy action movies, and all the other pop culture icons of that magical decade.
Are there any rare Garbage Pail Kid cards? ›
Nasty Nick (Series 1, 1985)
This bloodsucking character is technically the first-ever Garbage Pail Kid, with a designation of #1a in the first series. He can command around $1500 on the secondary market.
The Garbage Pail Kids Cards from the original sets are now considered collectibles; some are sold for thousands of dollars in auctions.Who is the most famous garbage pail kid? ›
1. Adam Bomb/Blasted Billy. Adam Bomb is undoubtedly in the top spot for the best Garbage Pail Kids, as his iconic character was most frequently used to market the series.How many original Garbage Pail Kid cards are there? ›
15 original series (OS) of regular trading cards were released in the United States, with various sets released in other countries. Two large-format card editions were also released, as well as a set of fold-out posters.What is the rarest collectible card? ›
1. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps SGC 9.5 ($12,600,000) Pictured above is the first trading card to sell for eight figures. Mickey Mantle's 1952 Topps rookie card has cemented itself as a pivotal piece of Americana.What is the rarest game card? ›
The Shichifukujin Dragon, created to celebrate the opening of the DCI Tournament Center in Tokyo, Japan, is also the only one of its kind in existence. In Japanese mythology, 'Shichifukujin' is the name given to the Seven Deities of Good Fortune.How many different Garbage Pail Kids are there? ›
Congratulations your cards are part of the Original Series (OS) release of Garbage Pail Kids. Topps released a total of 15 series from 1985-1988.What cards are worth collecting? ›
- Mickey Mantle cards. Chart tracking price of assets similar to SGC 7 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card. ...
- Honus Wagner cards. Chart tracking price of assets similar to Authentic Honus Wagner T206 card. ...
- Luka Dončić rookie cards. ...
- Mike Trout cards. ...
- Ronald Acuna Jr.
Head to PSAcard.com/auctionprices and search for your card. The more refined the query, the more accurate the results. It is best to include the year, manufacturer and subject of your card in your search. If you include the card number, expect All-Star results.What is Nasty Nick's garbage pail kid worth? ›
|Sale Date||Title||▲ ▼ Price|
|2023-01-11||Garbage Pail Kids Nasty Nick 1a Series 1 Card Topps 1985 Usa [eBay]||$45.00|
|2023-01-11||1985 Garbage Pail Kids Series 1 - 1a Nasty NICK EX/MT j1a #1a [eBay]||$127.50|
|2023-01-10||Garbage Pail Kids Nasty Nick 1a Series 1 Card Topps 1985 Usa [eBay]||$100.00|
What was the first ever Garbage Pail Kid card? ›
Topps introduced the first Garbage Pail Kids trading card series in 1985, created as a hilariously inverted take on the popular Cabbage Patch Kids. These punny, sometimes mean-spirited, and all around totally 80s cards were a huge hit. Garbage Pail Kids cards were to the 80s what Pokemon was to the 90s and 00s.How many 1985 Garbage Pail Kid cards are there? ›
1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 1 Set Details
The complete set of Garbage Pail Kids OS1 consists of 88 stickers: 44 A cards and 44 B cards.
Can you explain how the stickers are numbered? The original United States Garbage Pail Kids from the 1980s were numbered 1 to 620. There were "a" cards and "b" cards, so for a numerical set of series 1 to 15 there would be 1240 cards.How long did Garbage Pail Kids last? ›
Fifteen different series of Garbage Pail Kids were produced between 1985 and 1988.How do I know if my GPK is glossy? ›
Cards will have either a Matte or Glossy finish on the back. Glossy backs are more rare, and will fetch more money. Most OS 1 cards in nice condition will go for between $5 – $8 each. Except 1a/1b and 8a/8b, you will get much more for those, I encourage you to check eBay for a good idea on those.What trading cards from the 90s are worth money? ›
- 1993 SP #279 Derek Jeter.
- 1997 Ultra #518 David Arias. ...
- 1994 SP #15 Alex Rodriguez. ...
- 1992 Bowman #302 Mariano Rivera. ...
- 1997 Bowman Chrome #182 Adrian Beltre. ...
- 1992 Fleer Update #U-92 Mike Piazza. ...
- 7. 1995 Bowman's Best #2 Vladimir Guerrero. ...
The '494' within the wrapper code (0-494-21-01-5) and UPC number identifies this product as Garbage Pail Kids, and most specifically, as the 1st Series; the '-5' in the code for the year 1985.What was the first Garbage Pail Kid card? ›
First on the list is "Nasty Nick", the very first card of the very first series released in 1985. Because it was the first card, it was positioned in the upper left of the printing sheet which meant it was often cut in such a way that the centering would be off from left to right.When was the last garbage pail kid card made? ›
Kids were outgrowing the fad and Topps made the decision to put an end to the Garbage Pail Kids line of stickers. Original Series 15, released in December of 1988, was the last of the Original Series releases.