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What are Garbage Pail Kids®?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

In 1985, the Topps Chewing Gum Company began producing trading cards called the Garbage Pail Kids® that parodied the Cabbage Patch Kids®. Rather than the 1930s baby book names such as Fritz and Anne that were used for the Cabbage Patch Kids®, the Garbage Pail Kids® trading cards have names like Up Chuck and Ray Decay.

Art Spiegelman and Mark Newgarden are the original creators of the Garbage Pail Kids® trading cards. The series of cards that began in 1985 ran through 1988 and were not just a hit in the United States, but all over the world. The creators of the Cabbage Patch Kids® launched a lawsuit against Topps in 1986, but the Garbage Pail Kids® products were allowed to continue.

Two young boys
Two young boys

After the success of the first sets of cards in 1985, Topps brought out new Garbage Pail Kids® sets of gross trading cards in 2003. Some even had a "scratch n' stink" feature. The second series of the 2003 silver and gold cards have special identification numbers on them that allow those with the numbers to go to a website and add their own Garbage Pail Kids® ideas.

In June of 2007, a new line of trading cards was released called the Hollywood Zombies. These cards feature a "back from hell" theme and parodies celebrities and tabloids. For example, the "walking dead Paris Hilton" notes on her card that Hell is "hot." The Hollywood Zombies trading cards series also has some "Glow-in-the-dark Morbid Mug Shots" that include extra material not seen until the lights are out.

The immediate success of the Garbage Pail Kids® inspired both a movie and a television series. The Garbage Pail Kids® movie was released in 1987. As could be expected, the movie was all about gross bodily functions and featured revolting props such as those that are barf-like and snot-like. The Garbage Pail Kids® television series first aired in 1989 and featured characters such as "Clogged Duane" and "Terri Cloth." The television series mostly parodied movies such as King Kong and and also parodied commercials.

Discussion Comments


@boathugger: The current value of a Garbage Pail Kid card is based on which card it is and the condition of the card. Certain cards are professionally graded and can sell for much more than non-graded cards.

Some of the PSA 10 United States Garbage Pail Kids Series 1 cards have been sold for almost $200 per card. Most collectors are only interested in the professionally graded cards and that are graded with high marks. Having a high marked card essentially means it is essentially flawless and in mint condition.


Does anyone know the value of the Garbage Pail cards now?

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      Two young boys