The controversial Garbage Pail Kids trading cards of the 80s took Cabbage Patch Kid dolls and transformed them into the goofy and grotesque. The public went wild for them, schools hastened to ban them, and to this day it is illegal to import or export them in Mexico.
Here are some of the Garbage Pail Kid cards with the highest value as vintage items.
Dead Ted – $2500
Dripping with slime and maggots, Dead Ted is pictured clawing his way out of his grave, with a yellow and green moon lighting his way. A solitary fly is circling his head – a flourish that can also be seen on Savage Stuart cards.
An eBay seller with the username “burritopoker” sold this famed card for $2,499.99 in January 2023. Delivery alone cost $83.83.
Repaired Rex – $1,300
From the original Fifth Series, Repaired Rex also appears under the name of Fred Thred. This horror-inspired figure is seen restitching himself, revealing that the Garbage Pail Kids, like their Cabbage Patch nemeses, are filled with soft stuffing.
Dating to 1986, Repaired Rex is of particular interest to nostalgic collectors. A seller based in East Haddam, Connecticut managed to make $1,295 by selling a single Repaired Rex error card in January 2023.
Electric Bill – $850
Rather than the usual onomatopoeia or alliteration, this character’s name is a simple but effective pun. Electric Bill is a prisoner in the midst of execution by electric chair, which remained the most common form of capital punishment in the USA till the mid-80s.
One sale in January 2023 saw an Electric Bill card fetch $849. The seller, eBay user juiceboxsports, was based in El Segundo, California. Postage added a further $39.78 to the cost.
Hairy Mary – $850
Hairy Mary brandishes a curling iron as she attempts to tame her wild blonde mane. But her hairstyle – stuck with a comb and large pink bow – is only the tip of the iceberg. She is bristly from head to toe. Hairy Mary shares her name with a later GBP character dating to 2018, who is more of a Gothic figure in a billowing white gown.
Described as a “beautiful gem mint card”, one Hairy Mary card sold for $850 in January 2023. This impressive sum went to a seller based in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Savage Stuart – $750
Savage Stuart races towards us on his card, shaking a well-used sword and battle axe. Despite his vivid facial scars, he nevertheless has two Band Aids over a fresh wound on his knee. He is pictured kicking aside a skull that appears far smaller than his own. It’s Conan the Barbarian: The Daycare Years.
One Savage Stuart Card, which had been assessed by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), made $750 in an online sale of February 2023.
Frigid Bridget – $600
The unlucky Frigid Bridget has a glazed expression as she shivers inside a block of ice, with an abandoned ice pick just out of reach. Like many of the Garbage Pail girls, her hair is in big bushy pigtails and secured with pink ribbons.
One PSA-10 Fridget Bridget sold for a total of $600 in February 2023. The seller noted that there are only 19 Frigid Bridget cards with a PSA 10 grade in circulation at the moment.
Wrappin’ Ruth – $600
Wrappin’ Ruth is identical to Tommy Tomb – another Egyptian mummy apparently going out for a stroll in the desert. There was a surge in so-called Pyramidology – religious and pseudoscientific theories about pyramids – around the time that this 1985 card was published.
A February 2023 sale of Wrappin’ Ruth made $599.99 in February 2023. The card in question had the highest possible quality rating – a PSA grade of 10.
Flat Pat – $550
Flat Pat is the latest victim of a steamroller hit-and-run attack. She is dressed in a bright red romper suit, but the blood she oozes has an almost pinkish hue.
One pristine, PSA-10 graded Flat Pat card managed to earn $550 in January 2023. There are just 24 Flat Pat cards of this grade, according to the seller.
Drunk Ken – $530
Drunk Ken has the oldest appearance of the Garbage Pail Kids, with a prickly chin and dressed in a tie and hat. As he teeters between a lamppost and manhole, however, you can see him clutching a baby bottle – with a label that reads, “Ol’ Gut Rot”.
A collector based in Manson, Iowa sold a Drunk Ken card in an online auction in February 2023, and the item fetched a total of $529.99.
April Showers – $500
On this 1985 card, the unfortunate April Showers is being struck by lightning. Her hair stands on end as her umbrella blows inside out, and a fish leaps from the puddle in which she’s standing. She is dressed in a yellow rubber raincoat.
The electric April Showers card remains popular with collectors today. One such card sold for $500 on eBay.com in December 2022, offered up by a seller based in Patchogue, New York.
Bad Brad – $500
Bad Brad is dressed like a high school jock, as he uses a grinder to destroy schoolbooks. More than a Garbage Pail Kid, Brad is literally a demon, with red horns, fangs and a pointed tail protruding from his tracksuit.
But Bad Brad is far from a bad find – in fact, this 1985 card fetched $499.99 after being listed on eBay in February 2023. Postage cost an additional $32.47.
Thin Lynn – $490
The skeletal Thin Lynn sports bright orange pigtails with blue bows. Traditional Cabbage Patch Kid dolls don’t bear any teeth, whereas Garbage Pail Kids often gnash their fangs – and Thin Lynn is not exception, showing a gap-toothed grin.
In February 2023, a Thin Lynn card with a PSA grade of 9 sold for $489.99 on eBay.com. The seller in question hailed from Honolulu, Hawaii.
Gooey Huey – $300
The gross Gooey Huey is among the more valuable collector’s items from the brand. One copy sold for $299.95 on eBay in January 2023.
“This error is very rare,” the seller wrote. “Overall, this is in decent shape, but the most noticeable flaws include a wax stain on front, a dinged bottom, left corner, and a few light scratches on reverse.
Hot Head Harvey – $230
Hot Head Harvey was inspired by robots from Japanese anime and manga. When he was making the earliest sketches for this character, artist John Pound jotted down: “Head – chrome skin, and demonic glow eyes?” But Harvey ended up with the classic chalk-white skin and rosy cheeks seen on so many Garbage Pail figures.
A Hot Head Harvey card with the grade of PSA 10 – the highest possible ranking for card quality – sold on eBay for $229.99. Dating to 1986, the card reached this impressive price in February 2023.
Nasty Nick – $200
Little vampire Nasty Nick poses with a Barbie doll, as he feasts on her blood. This card is of interest in part because it shows the scale of Garbage Pail Kids – clearly around the same size of the Cabbage Patch Kids they satirize.
One seller in Ocean City, New Jersey, sold this card for one of the highest GPK card prices on eBay. In a December 2022 sale, user eaarms earned $199.99 from this 1985 collector’s item.
Adam Bomb – $200
While the USA was divided over Operation Grenadier, a series of high-profile nuclear tests in Nevada, the Adam Bomb card exploded onto the scene. It depicts a schoolkid with a mushroom cloud bursting from his head after he presses a big red button.
This item, riddled with Cold War history, remains a hit with collectors today. In December 2022, one such card sold on eBay for $199.99, plus $23.38 in postage.
Fat Matt – $200
Fat Matt – who was also released with the name Slobby Robbie in 1985 – is yet another card that could fetch around $200 in online sales. One eBay user sold a Fat Matt card for $199.99 in January 2023.
“This is a nice example of a Matte backed card,” the seller wrote on eBay, “graded by the most highly recognized card grading service in the world[,] MINT 9! Please look at my pictures to judge for yourself.”
Evil Eddie – $200
Evil Eddie is a variant of Nasty Nick, but he tends to draw slightly less attention in today’s collector market. He has no connection to ‘Evil Eddie’ Richards, the British DJ who also rose to fame in the 80s.
One example of this card, in pristine condition and stored in a plastic protective case, sold for $199 in February 2023. The seller was located in Plainfield, Illinois
Joltin’ Joe – $175
The final card of the original Garbage Pail Kids set, Joltin’ Joe shares his nickname with professional baseball player Joe DiMaggio. His alternatively-named counterpart, Mean Gene, shares a name with another sports figure: wrestling announcer ‘Mean Gene’ Okerlund.
But Joltin’ Joe is a G.I. Joe-inspired figure rather than a sportsman. This dynamite-toting character is popular with collectors. One online auction dating to December 2022 saw this card fetch $175.
Sicky Vicky – $144
Sicky Vicky – who also appears in the form of Virus Iris – is pictured warming herself in a bath surrounded by pill bottles, tissues and Epsom salts. The feverish figure was released in 1985 – coincidentally, it came out just before the USA’s worst influenza bout in decades.
A copy of this card, with a grade of PSA 8, sold for $144 on eBay earlier this year. “There is a hairline crack over “Garbage” and [I] have reduced the buy price because of this,” the seller noted.
Starin’ Darren – $120
The most valuable 1986 card to feature on this list, Starin’ Darren is adorned with countless eyes and surrounded by microscopes and binoculars. With no clear real-life inspiration, this bespectacled character is among the more fantastical Garbage Pail Kids.
Starin’ Darren cards haven’t fared well over the decades – one seller, who offered up a PSA-8 card, claimed there are only two other copies in existence that possess a higher grade. This seller’s copy, which was an example of a diecut error, sold for $119.94 earlier this year.
Steamed Piper – $110
Belonging to the Old Series 13, Steamed Piper is a redheaded character who has melted and melded into a radiator. Piper is also seen with the name “Meltdown Meryl”, suggesting this barely-recognisable figure is a girl.
A 1988 Steamed Piper card sold for $109.99 in January 2023. “This is a nice example of an OS13 card,” the seller wrote. “Graded by the most highly recognized card grading service in the world [as] GEM MINT 10!”
Deadly Dudley – $100
Deadly Dudley is an executioner, standing proudly over the dismembered parts of a less fortunate Garbage Pail Kid. Armed with an axe and dagger, he has a single protruding tooth and a strange tattoo or scar on his chest.
A PSA-10 copy of Deadly Dudley – whose counterpart is named Max Axe – sold for $99.99 on eBay in December 2022. Meanwhile, Max Axe was reproduced in 2021, and these more recent iterations fetch as much as $1,350 in online auctions.
Tommy Tomb – $96
The wizened Tommy Tomb is an Ancient Egyptian mummy, climbing out of his sarcophagus with an outstretched hand. He belongs to the original 1985 series, along with Junkfood John, Up Chuck and Dead Ted.
A PSA 8-graded card of Tommy Tomb earned $95.99 in an online auction of February 2023. The seller was based in Los Angeles, California.
Barnyard Barney – $96
This card portrays Barnyard Barney in the setting of Grant Wood’s 1930 painting American Gothic. In the series’ classic grotesque humour, he has speared a puppy on his pitchfork.
One example of this Garbage Pail Kid card is signed by Tom Bunk, the cartoonist behind many of the brand’s designs. It sold for $95.99 on eBay in February 2023, after being listed by a seller in Marietta, Georgia. Postage cost an additional $24.28.