Wednesday, June 4, 2008

GARBAGE PAIL KIDS TRADING CARDS

My favorite thing to collect Is Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. For those of you who have never heard of these I'll give you a quick history...
Back in good ol' 1985 when Cabbage Patch Kid dolls were a serious craze, Topps trading cards began selling the most wonderful set of new cards spoofing the dolls called "Garbage Pail Kids" or GPK's. Each amazingly illustrated card portrayed one of the "kids" doing something repulsive or strange. Most of the cards primarily dealt with some sort of gag revolving around snot, barf, decapitation, or anything disgusting. If you ask me they were way ahead of their time.
The first series of 41 different cards was released in 1985 and each card had an a and a b card with two separate names totaling 82 cards in the first set.

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At the time they came out I was in third grade and as soon as the first cards started hitting the playground we were all hooked. Across the street from the school in Cedar Falls was this little grocery store called Lewellen's Grocery and they had this big candy counter where old man Lewellen and his wife would be waiting after school got out. Our parents would always give us 50 cents and you could stand in line with the other kids and get a bag of penny candy. At that time a pack of 5 Garbage Pail Kids that came with a stick of gum cost a quarter so we all stopped buying candy and started collecting these awesome cards. The cards were also stickers which was good and bad because a lot of kids ended up sticking them all over the place or getting them confiscated by teachers. Soon how popular you were on the playground had a lot to do with how big of a stack of cards you had in your fist.

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The Garbage Pail Kids cards were so popular that additional series continued going up to series 15 in 1988. There were a total of 1240 cards to collect in the 1-15 series.
As the series progressed Topps got sued by the creators of Cabbage Patch Kids a few times but made slight changes in the logo or character models so they could continue.

A lot of 80's kids lost our old cards or stuck them on our bedposts and closet doors over the years or may not have continued collecting or even being able to find the cards eventually. I remember our school principal had a drawer in his office loaded with cards confiscated at school and at one point they had to send a note home to parents warning them about nasty trading cards.

About ten years ago I started building up a collection of cards from scratch when I was in High School and it was so much fun seeing those familiar images. I started out by just asking people if they kept any of them around and surprisingly enough boys and girls had shoeboxes full of them they had saved as a kid and were kind enough to donate or sell them to me. Now I'm old enough not only to get a real kick out of the humor, but also appreciate the artwork.

So over time I built up my collection of the original cards as a hobby, and then something really neat happened. In 2003 Topps released a new series of Garbage Pail Kids for all of us big kids and a new generation of children to corrupt. So now we can collect the new ones while going back and filling in our old collections. Fun, fun, fun. The new cards referred to as "ANS" cards are currently on the seventh series and are sold at stores like Target or Walmart with the rest of the trading cards. The original cards have gained quite a bit of value over the years and are highly collectible.

Garbage Pail Kids cards will most definitely a topic of future blogging but that's all for now.

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