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If you’re an 80s kid, then you almost certainly know about Garbage Pail Kids…
It was one of the coolest card sets at the time. In many ways, this card set is similar to Mars Attacks cards: strongly opposed by parents and teachers but loved by kids that owned them.
You might be surprised, but they’re still popular today. Many card collectors are flocking to these as they want to satisfy the nostalgia; others just want to appreciate the impressive art style and the undeniably witty character of the cards.
Whatever your reason for buying these cards, these are the best Garbage Pail Kids cards that you should be looking at.
21 Best Garbage Pail Kids Cards
These GPK cards should be on your list if you’re an avid card collector. We’ve sorted these cards from the most popular and most valuable to slightly less valuable but still popular cards. Most of them will be from Series 1 but there are also some cards here included from Series 2 from 1985 and other, later sets (none from the 2021 Food Fight set, as of yet).
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #8a Adam Bomb
Adam Bomb might be one of the first Garbage Pail Kids cards you’ll think about when you think about this card series. That’s perhaps because it was the card featured on the cover of these packs that you bought them.
This card could be the equivalent to what Charizard stands for in Pokemon…
Anyways, it’s full of character and almost bizarre in its own right. It would fit right in with the time era – as you might remember, the 80s was one of the most intense periods of the “nuclear war” – or so we were told.
It’s fair to say this card gathered a lot of controversy but also interest. It depicts what seems like one of the Cabbage Patch Kids characters with a detonator in its hand and a mushroom cloud exploding right out of its head. It was created and crafted by the legendary John Pound.
How much is it worth? If you’re able to find it in a GEM MINT condition, it’s likely that it’s going to cost several thousand dollars. However, the majority of the lower graded Adam Bomb cards will cost less than that.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #1a Nasty Nick
As you may have noticed, these GPK cards have a special character because of their appearance, but also because of their names.
Most of the time, their names were made through word play and they often contained the same initial letters so they were easier to remember. This led to some pretty exceptional names that became almost legendary, including Nasty Nick.
Now, Nasty Nick here on this card is the first card of the first series, which is denoted by the #1a marking in the top right corner.
This meant that the card was positioned in the first spot on the printing sheet, so when these card series were printed, it meant that this card was often not centered correctly because they were not cut very precisely.
The consequence of that was that Nasty Nick cards were pretty rare in the PSA 10 grade and still are!
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #1b Evil Eddie
Evil Eddie was the identical and slightly less valuable twin brother of Nasty Nick. As you may see, the art style and the artwork on the card is exactly the same as with Nasty Nick.
So, what’s the catch?
Basically, there were “a” and “b” series for each card, and the cards from those two sets were largely the same. The main difference was that they were named differently, and they also contained a different theme on the back of the card; some contained a checklist, while others had a write-up.
So Evil Eddie here was often confused with Nasty Nick, so this meant it was also one of the most expensive cards you could own.
If you’re on a budget and you simply can’t afford Nasty Nick, then Evil Eddie should do just fine.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #49b Schizo Fran
Schizo Fran was one of the most controversial cards from the Garbage Pail Kids series. It was hotly discussed among teachers, parents, but also mental health professionals who argued that the card made a mockery out of schizophrenia.
Topps quickly realized this and then changed the name of this card to “Fran Fran”.
This means that there was a limited run of Schizo Fran cards, which puts a premium price tag on its head. You might have to pay north of $1000 to get Schizo Fran, while Fran Fran is much more affordable for the average collector.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #7b April Showers
April Showers was also a bit controversial once it was released. It features an image of a girl being struck by lightning during an April shower.
Perhaps an even more popular card was Stormy Heather, which was the #7a card from this set. Both can be pretty expensive, though: they will cost you several hundred dollars to get and perhaps even more than $800.
Here’s how Stormy Heather looks:
As is the case with all GPK cards, they look exactly the same except for the name and the back of the card.
Stormy Heather is also quite expensive and maybe more than April Showers, as it will cost several hundred dollars in a PSA 10 condition.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #24b Nerdy Norm
Nerdy Norm is one of the more iconic cards from the GPK world.
You might think that there’s nothing nerdy about this Norm guy who smokes hundreds of cigarettes per day, drinks wayyy too much coffee and Coca Cola…
Perhaps it’s all the anxiety that builds up when you study or do too much work. Who knows what Art Spiegelman was thinking (by the way, Art Spiegelman was one of the leading designers for Garbage Pail Kids cards, along with other artists, of course that worked for Topps).
In comparison with most other Garbage Pail Kids cards, this one was not as clear-cut as some others were in terms of their names. This all made for a slightly mysterious and even legendary character that stayed in many people’s hearts and minds long after the cards came out.
Anyhow, no matter the slightly ambiguous character of Nerdy Norm, it will still be one of the more expensive cards from the GPK first series. In its prime, it will collect thousands of dollars although you can still find some decently preserved copies for slightly less.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #22a Junky Jeff
Junky Jeff was the #22a card in the GPK series, and it carried an important message (perhaps slightly subtle, too): the kids’ brains were filled with so much garbage that a stray cat would be able to enjoy a right meal with them.
Or perhaps it was just a bizarre depiction of a character that looks like something out of the Cabbage Patch Kids universe.
Again, there’s potential with this card for arguments. It’s highly likely that the artists for this card had something a bit deeper in mind, though.
This all made Junky Jeff one of the more memorable cards from the set that many collectors wanted to own. It’s not particularly rare but because it’s so iconic, it can carry quite a high price tag with it.
You might be able to get a PSA 10 for around $1000 if you’re lucky, although some cards might cost less or more depending on the grading but also on the market. The 22b equivalent of this card is called “Stinky Stan”.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids Series 2 #58b Soft Boiled Sam
The Series 2 cards from 1985 included some gems like the Soft Boiled Sam card, which was #58b from the set.
On this card, you’ll find a character that looks like he’s been boiled, although he takes the form of an egg that’s falling apart and a small chick if coming out of it. Perhaps this is one of the more frightening scenes from the set that kids used to love because of its slightly controversial character, again.
Soft Boiled Sam was one of the more prominent figures from Series 2. It was and still is one of the most popular GPK cards, because it’s quite rare to get and it also has a unique look to it.
Garbage Pail Kids #5b Jay Decay
Jay Decay was one of the most popular cards from the first edition of GPK cards from 1985. I mean, just look at it: it looks like a zombie crawling out of a grave waiting to get you. It featured a zombie before zombies were really cool.
And if you can get this card with a checklist on its back, then you’re looking at around $900 of value. The checklist cards tend to be a bit more expensive and valuable since those cards are rarer and not preserved as well as the other cards.
Again, this card was a disturbing figure for many parents. They didn’t like the look of this card because they believed it would haunt their kids.
If you owned one of these though, you’d know just how popular it was and it still is today.
1987 Garbage Pail Kids Series 9 #355a Semi Colin
I know I said that we’ll only feature cards from Series 1 and 2, but I just couldn’t leave this one out.
Semi Colin is one of the most famous cards from the Series 9 cards of GPK that came out in 1987. Why?
Because it was printed wrongly so that the number of the card was left out of the printing.
This means that this card is a bit unique and will often command higher prices because of this small defect. And if you look at the card, it’s also a bit disturbing perhaps and it has an interesting name that’s a word play of the word semicolon.
It looks like a mutation growing out of Colin and it’s perhaps a bit scary to look at for kids. Again, even though these cards were running for two years straight, some parents just couldn’t accept the freakish looks on these cards and thus often banned cards like Semi Colin for their kids.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #8b Blasted Billy
Now, Blasted Billy is essentially the same as Adam Bomb, just with a different name. Yet it’s much less expensive than its equivalent. Why is that?
It’s hard to explain, really. Perhaps it’s the name, because Adam Bomb just sounds a bit more catchy. Or perhaps it’s because Adam Bomb tends to just be more popular and thus not as common on the marketplace.
The reasons for the lower prices of Blasted Billy are not clear. But if you’re not in the market for an expensive card like Adam Bomb, which might cost several thousand dollars, you can get this much more affordable alternative which will only cost several hundred dollars.
It will still have that iconic look to it that decorated the card sets and packs and made it one of the most iconic cards to own in the 1980s. Every kid wanted to have this one and it’s still hugely popular, especially because it’s often used for political propaganda and for adapting this card to recent events.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #55b Brutal Brad
Now, Brutal Brad is one of those cards that would almost certainly be banned today. With this card, Topps tried to address the issue of domestic violence, although some people might interpret this card wrongly.
In essence, the purpose of the card is not harmful because it tried to warn the public against domestic violence. However, one of the main issues was how it was portrayed – it might seem as though it is promoting violence instead of opposing it.
The #55a card, Harry Gary, also carries the same imagery although it was not quite as iconic as Brutal Brad – perhaps it’s the name that makes it so popular.
This card might sell for up to $800 if in the PSA 10 condition. It’s still one of the most popular GPK cards that you can get, although it might be a bit tough to find it selling today.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #26a Slobby Robbie
Next up, we have Slobby Robbie who also tried to address the issue of the 1980s – which seems to be even more relevant today than it was back then – obesity in children.
If the imagery and the messages that were sent out by some cards were quite controversial, it’s fair to say that this one has a legit message – don’t feed your kids so much candy and garbage, or else they’ll become just like Slobby Robbie.
Perhaps this image even tried to play it humorously, as you may see from the scale exploding underneath Slobby Robbie’s weight.
This card carries a similar value as Brutal Brad and like that card, you will probably have a tough time finding it in top conditions.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #41a Mean Gene
Mean Gene is the last card of the first set, which was a 41-card set. There were two sets: a and b, and this one was both the last card of the a and b set. This means that there will be some conditioning issues with this card.
Like with the first card of the set, Nasty Nick, this card was sometimes faced with problems of cutting the cards wrongly, so some cards might not be centered properly.
Wrong centering led to many cards being less desirable and valuable, while properly centered cards became instantly more valuable than most other cards.
If you can get your hands on a perfect card of this type, then you might be in luck. Alternatively, if you own one of these, it might be a good idea to get it graded if you think it’s in good shape – they can pay out handsomely.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #23b Leaky Lou
Leaky Lou is just one of those cards where you don’t really know what’s going on…
Was the purpose of the card to shock its viewers by showing an image of a body of a baby full of holes? Or is the purpose of the card to tell its viewers that drinking too much liquid is not good for your body?
And some of those holes are plugged by corks but it’s not nearly enough to prevent all the water leaking from Lou’s body. And why is he even wearing a diaper? It’s a really peculiar image that is still capturing the imaginations of its owners.
Who knows what it represents. But it’s this ambiguous nature and somewhat controversial imagery that brought fame to this card.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #4b Electric Bill
This card sure “sparked” a heated debate between those who support death penalty and those who don’t. Besides the disturbing imagery of a prisoner getting fried to death by electricity, it’s also the name that’s a bit interesting.
Electric Bill is an interesting name for a card, especially considering how close it comes to the words “electricity bill”, so it can have a double meaning. But if you’re looking for the #4a alternative, it’s equally as witty – the name of that particular card is Fryin’ Brian.
Again, this is one of those cards that caused a lot of outrage and disgust with parents who were clearly against this imagery being shown to their kids.
But it’s what makes these cards so iconic and remembered.
And if you’re looking to get one of the more controversial cards from the Series 1, then there might not be many better cards than Electric Bill.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids Series 2 #83b Sumo Sid
Sumo Sid is one of the most well-liked cards from Series 2, because it was the last card from that set.
And whenever you have a card that’s first or last from the set, you’re always looking at a bump in value in popularity. And one of the major concerns of this card was the condition of the card; many of them were not printed or cut correctly, so it’s harder to find a mint condition card.
When you look at this card, it might not appear as controversial or shocking as some other cards we’ve just seen.
However, if you’re a regular card collector, then you know how condition and scarcity impact the values of the card, so this card can sell for a relatively high price, especially considering that it doesn’t carry a lot of weight on its shoulders in terms of what it represents.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids #70a Bad Breath Seth
Bad Breath Seth might be similar in some ways to Nerdy Norm or Junky Jeff that we spoke about earlier.
However, this #70a card addresses different issues from those two cards. Namely, it addresses the increasing concerns of pollution, which were becoming more and more popular and increasingly big in the 1980s.
You can see a dead bird falling from the sky and some smog coming out of Seth’s mouth. There’s also a dead flower right in front of Seth, which is all imagery that made this card unforgettable and perhaps more suited to the times it was made in. It might even still be relevant today.
It was not as controversial as Nerdy Norm or Junky Jeff, but still quite important from that set. And because it carries the message about the dangers of pollution, it can still be relevant today.
1985 Garbage Pail Kids Series 2 #57b Dead Fred
Dead Fred is one of the most well-remembered cards from the Series 2 of GPK cards. It has a “Mafia” feel to it, where Fred is getting penetrated by a series of bullets that have shred right through his body.
It looks like a scene out of The Godfather (or any mafia movie), which is why this card gathered quite a lot of publicity when it was released.
Death is a controversial theme to depict, especially considering that these were cards for kids, so again, many parents wanted this card to get out of production.
But the card still exists and there are some of them on the marketplace that might carry a decent amount of value still.
1986 Garbage Pail Kids Series 3 #87a Hot Head Harvey
Here’s a cool GPK card from 1986 that I thought would be worth a mention. Hot Head Harvey was meant as a Transformers parody card, so it gathered quite a lot of popularity and maybe even controversy.
And it does look bizarre, doesn’t it? It has the body of a robot and a head of a doll, which has a gun sticking out of it, shooting bullets. It makes for an interesting and a bit peculiar scene.
Bonus: 2013 Garbage Pail Kids Chrome Series 1 #19a Corroded Carl
In 2013, Topps released the Chrome series, which was a limited set of cards for kids that instantly gathered a lot of popularity. Some of these cards were very hard to get and are still rare today, which is the case for Corroded Carl here.
Here are some most commonly asked questions and answers to them so that you know more about GPK.
How Much are Garbage Pail Kids Cards Worth?
Some of the rarest and most expensive GPK cards can be worth up to $8000, which is the case for the rarest cards like Nasty Nick or Corroded Carl. Others that were quite popular and perhaps not as rare as those two might be worth a bit less – some will carry prices of around a few thousand dollars, while most of the GPK cards will be worth under $1000.
But a lot of the value, as always in the card collecting world, depends on the condition on the card and its rarity. It’s the two main factors that drive the prices of the cards up or down. So for Nasty Nick, for example, the main issue for these cards was the centering so if you are able to get a decently centered card, you’re going to be able to sell it for more than a poorly centered one.
What are the Most Valuable Garbage Pail Kids Cards?
Nasty Nick, which is #1a from the first series of GPK cards from 1985, is perhaps the most valuable card at around $8000 for a PSA 10 card. This card is followed by Adam Bomb (#6a), Corroded Carl (2013), Evil Eddie (#1b), and Schizo Fran (or Fran Fran, as it was known later).
Note: These values are based on the PSA 10-rated cards, so the prices of the lower graded cards might vary significantly, and will almost always be lower. If you don’t have a big budget, then it’s worth looking at lower graded cards if you’re not fussy about getting the best graded cards.
Where Can You Buy Garbage Pail Kids Cards?
You can still buy some of these cards, especially the newer series, at the largest retailers like Walmart. However, the older GPK cards are not available to be bought in those retailers, so you might need to look at online marketplaces. eBay is always one of the best places to buy your cards from, especially if you can buy a reliable seller.
Alternatively, you can buy straight from Topps although it’s unlikely you’ll find any of these cards available. I’d recommend buying from eBay though if you’re a beginner and you don’t know where to get started or if you just want a particular card from the sets.
What Garbage Pail Kids Cards are Worth Money?
Almost all of them are worth money, especially the cards from the 1985 Series 1 set. Some might be worth more than others, although many of those cards from Series 1 will be worth at least several hundred dollars. Series 2 cards also carry a lot of value, although they might not be as valuable as Series 1 cards.
Garbage Pail Kids still remains one of the most loved card series in history. For many people, these cards invoke nostalgia and make them wander back to their childhood from the 1980s. For others, they might be a good opportunity to collect one of the more iconic cards ever released.
Whatever your motivation might be for buying them, it’s always great to own some of the best GPK cards out there!