General guide for Appraising, Selling, and Buying Wacky Packages

grade wackys, price guide, grading guide, value, wacky packs, wacky packages
A lot of people write me telling me they've found their old stack of wackys when they were visiting their parents house for thanksgiving (or whenever), and they generally have the following questions:
(1) Are they worth anything?
(2) How do I grade them?
(3) Where can I find out exactly what they are worth?
(4) Where can I sell them?
(5) Where can I buy more?
I figured I should put answers to these questions on this page, since they come up often.
It's important to answer (2) first. Unfortunately if your cards are borderless or have writing on them (front or back), that will devalue them dramatically, at least by 95% or more, most borderless or written on wackys are worthless, you might as well keep them for sentimental value.
I hear regularly that somebody found their cards from childhood and they're in perfect condition. I tell them that if I gave them a card graded PSA 7.0 and another graded PSA 10.0 they would not be able to tell the difference. And I tell them the PSA 7.0 will still be nicer than any of the cards they found from childhood. That turns out to be true 99% of the time. You can't even pull cards fresh from packs that will grade 10.0 and usually not even 9.0. They have to be printed perfectly, which is rare in wackys. Not one in 10,000 will grade like that. So neither will yours. If you don't believe me then send them to PSA and pay $30 each to find out. You will save yourself some disappointment if you realize that sooner rather than later.

Condition matters a lot in this hobby, cards must be fairly clean, no tears, no wrinkling, not horribly miscut, etc, otherwise the value decreases quickly. High grade cards with only the slightest flaws are called "near mint" (NM) (truly mint cards which are flawless are extremely uncommon), the next grade down is "excellent" (Ex), the next grade down from Ex is "very good" (VG). Middle ground is covered by VG+/- EX+/- and NM+/-.
Since grading can be very subjective, it's always best to try to grade conservatively, and when describing your cards, be as specific as possible, don't just use the terms NM, EX, and VG, but describe all specific flaws so your buyer knows exactly what they are getting, this will make your life much easier when you sell because keep in mind that collectors are generally very picky about condition.

The answer to (1) is: They might be. Some wackys go for thousands. But the probability that you have such a card is extremely small. Remember, they printed these things by the millions. We have recovered printing forms for the 14th series that show that some 15,000,000 packs were made for that series. Wow! Only a few are worth three digits, so let's figure out right away if you have any of those. They are: Ratz Crackers, Cracked Animals, Good and Empty, and Bandache (with camels printed on the back). Okay, so probably you don't have any of those four. Maybe you still have some worth a hundred or so. Even common wackys are not worthless, the average value of a near mint 1973-1975 wacky is about $3-$4, with none worth less than at least a dollar (if in near mint condition), so you can still probably make a few bucks regardless, if that is your goal. If you have post-1979 wackys however, the average value of those is more like a quarter, so unless you have a lot of complete sets or something, you're not going to make very much off them. To find out what you have, continue on to (3) below.

The answer to (3) is: You can use the Wacky Packs price guide, but first, you have to figure out what you have and if you have any of the tougher ones. Below is a guide to help you figure out if you have valuable cards, or less valuable commons, it is not a thorough price guide however. There isn't really a very good price guide out there for wackys, since prices change all the time, but we're getting ahead of ourselves here. First you have to determine what you have, more or less. So let's get started going through your find. It starts with figuring out which series you have, wackys break down into several categories:
(i) 1967-68 die-cuts
(ii) 1969 wacky ads
(iii) 1973 cloth stickers
(iv) 1973-76 peelable stickers (series 1-16)
(v) 1973-4 OPC (Canadian issue)
(vi) post 1976 The die-cuts were punch-outs that you had to lick. There were no checklists, but they were numbered on the backs. The Wacky Ads were also punch-outs, but were larger and had art also on the part you don't punch out. The 1973 and later series were peel-off stickers. The OPC stickers are the canadian versions of wackys, and often the only way to tell the difference is the copyright (opc instead of topps).
First, let's discuss the die-cuts. If in very nice condition, most of these are worth about $10. The rest break down into two categories: number variations, and non-repeated titles. Click on the link to see the specific titles and approximate values. (Don't be fooled by the die-cut bandache, it goes for a bit more than the commons, maybe $20 or $25, but it was not short-printed as it was in the 1973 whiteback series that most people remember.)
Now the Wacky Ads. Most of these are worth about $10 each. The only exception is #25, Good and Empty. That card has been fetching over $1000 lately on ebay.
The cloth stickers were a short rerun of the 1973 1st series. They are made of a different material than the regular stickers, kind of stiff and cloth-like. The stickers are hard to keep in good condition, they tend to brown and fall apart. However, if reasonably intact, they still fetch $10 or so each on ebay, with a bandache going for $40 or more. (Again, don't be fooled by the cloth bandache, it was not shortprinted and is not harder to find than any other cloth sticker.) What is perhaps better to find than cloth stickers themselves, are the checklists. The checklists that came with the cloth stickers had a unique back, the tag line at the bottom only says "Collect the entire hilarious series!" while the regular 1973 1st series checklists back had an extra line of text: "complete the puzzle on the back of checklist cards!". A complete cloth checklist puzzle can fetch $200. The piece in the center, and the piece in the bottom right corner, are the toughest to get, you might get $30-$50 for it, if it's in nice shape.
Now for the regular 1973-1976 issues of series 1-16 stickers. This is most likely what you found in your old closet at your parents house (either that, or the 1979-80 reprints, if they have pictures on the backs and are numbered on the front, then they are reprints, which are worth very little...). First check if you have any of the shortprinted "commons." The list is given in the following table, together with about what they go for on ebay lately, in near mint condition.
Bandache (white back)
Paul Maul (white back)
Lavirus (white back)
Mutts (white back)
Run Tony
Spit and Spill (with Spic and Span written on the top lid)   
Choke Wagon
Bum Chex
Grime (with "heavy chunks" written above the title)
Scoot (with no copyright) $100-$150
If you have the Spit and Spill, Grime, or Scoot, make sure you have the rare variation, each come in also a common variation.
The next variety of rare cards from the 1-16 series are the ones with the so-called "back variations." That covers all rare cards from the 1-16 series. There are no particularly rare puzzles from the 1-16, however a nice 16th puzzle will fetch you $50 or more. A 1st series puzzle only about $20. There are a couple of weird puzzles you may happen to have that are not really part of the 1-16 puzzles, these are the 1st funpack and 2nd funpack puzzles. A complete 1st funpack puzzle is worth about $40, a complete 2nd funpack puzzle is worth about $200 if it's really in nice shape.
Now for the OPC stuff. OPC released series 1-4 in 1973-74. Like the topps versions, there were also back variations. The situation is reversed for OPC than it is for topps, the 1st tans and 3rd whites are more common. 1st whites are not that uncommon however, and don't fetch much more than 1st tans, each getting about $10 per sticker (if in good shape). As opposed to topps, 1st mutts, lavirus, and paul maul do not seem to be shortprinted and so are not more valuable. The 3rd tans however, are extremely tough. As far as I know, only two 3rd OPC tan sledges have ever been found (I'm still looking for one). The 4th OPC are the easiest.
As opposed to topps, however, the puzzles can be worth something. The puzzles for series 1 and 3 come in two varieties, light and dark (click here to compare side-by-side). Light puzzles from series 1 or 3 are tough to come by, and any 2nd series puzzle pieces are also hard to come by. These can be worth $25 or more dollars per piece, but the market fluctuates a lot because not that many people collect OPC.
That finishes the OPC.
As for post 1976 stuff, not much of it is worth anything. One noteworthy exception is the stickers with "1977" in the copyright. Those are extremely rare and came as promos with Shedd's peanut butter. They can get $100 each, or more, if you find one of the tougher ones (please write me if you find a 1977 sticker).
Probably you reached this point and didn't have any of the stuff above, or if you did, it was just a mutts or something. That's okay, common wackys are not worthless. A nice second series full set can get $100, a nice 14th or 15th series can get $150-$200. See below (4) for ways to find out how much common stuff is going for in this period.
There is a lot of other weird and wonderful wacky pack related stuff. For example there were posters, of which three are valuable, cheapios, weakies, and toadal (worth about $200 each if in nice shape). There is too much of this kind of stuff to list here, if you have anything else besides stickers, things like unopened packs, boxes, wrappers, sheets, mail-in posters, wall placks, beach towels, etc... then your best bet is to write me and I'll tell you what they are worth. I will give honest advice to anybody that asks.
This brings us to question (4). Where can you sell them? The best place, probably, is eBay (www.ebay.com). If you go to ebay and do a search on "wack* pack*", you will find hundreds of wacky pack auctions. Doing a search on completed auctions is a good way to find out exactly what the ones you have to sell have been selling for lately (completed auctions go back about a month). Be sure to describe your item well, in particular, don't overgrade, or you will just cause yourself more headaches later than it was worth. A nice clear scan always helps. If you need some guidance on grading, see this page, or you can try this grading system, it's not bad.
Now, the answer to question (5). Ebay can be a good way to buy wackys, but only with several huge caveats. For a rundown, see this page of helpful rules for eBay buyer's.
What about off ebay buying? There aren't a huge number of options. There are a few dealers, but I've had bad luck with most of them, they name their prices very high to newbies, usually. Again, before spending, if you have doubts, feel free to ask me, I stake my reputation on giving honest advice. There really aren't that many shows to go to. In Philadelphia and New Jersey there are a few annual non-sports shows, but good wackys really don't show up at places like this anymore. Your other option is to appeal to the collectors on the forum. There are a lot of cool people there that will help you out, trade with you, point you in the right direction.
Good luck, and happy collecting!  -Greg
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