15 Most Valuable Garbage Pail Kids Cards

Original Box of 1985 Series 1 Garbage Pail Kids CardsIf you were a kid or teenager during the 1980s, chances are you loved Garbage Pail Kids cards.

If you were a parent during the 1980s, chances are you did not…

Like the Mars Attacks cards 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 Kids produced 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!

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Ross Uitts

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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 Card #1a Nasty Nick

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.

Why?

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.

For that reason alone, 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 Card #8a Adam Bomb

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 Card #1b Evil Eddie

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 Card #49b Schizo Fran
1985 Garbage Pail Kids Card #49b Fran Fran

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 Card #22a Junky Jeff

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 Card #5b Jay Decay

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 Card #24b Nerdy Norm

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 Card #8b Blasted Billy

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 Card #55b Brutal Brad

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 Card #26a Slobby Robbie

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 Card #23b 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 Card #41a Mean Gene

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 Card #4b Electric Bill
1985 Garbage Pail Kids Card #4a Fryin' Brian

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 Card #83b Sumo Sid

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...

1985 Garbage Pail Kids Card #70a Bad Breath Seth

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.

Original Wax Pack of 1985 Series 1 Garbage Pail Kids Cards

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.

Ross Uitts
 

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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