Wacky Packages FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do some Wackys have one asterisk and others have two? (see picture here) The full uncut sheet has an A side and a B side. You rarely ever see them connected but here's a picture. Each side is 7 rows of 11 stickers. The ones on the left (the A sheet) have one asterisk. The ones on the right (the B sheet) have two asterisks. They did that so if they needed to fix an error they'd know which one to fix exactly. Neither is more rare than the other. There are a few hard-core collectors who try to get both.
- What are those stains on my cards? Residue on stickers and stains on checklists are common. These are generally mistaken for gum stains but they're usually wax. Sometimes they are gum but that's only if the pack was left sealed for a period of years. The good news is, if it's wax and it's on the font of a sticker or checklist then they can easily be wiped off.
- What does "borderless" mean?. A Wacky has three parts. A backing, a sticker, and a frame. The frame is the front border part around the sticker, the part where the copyright is. You were supposed to peel the sticker and have fun with it, the frame and backing were to be thrown away after you peeled the sticker off. But many found it irresistable to peel the borders and leave the sticker intact. Unfortunately, this basically renders them worthless, unless you have a very special one like Band-Ache. People contact me all the time saying they have a special variation without a copyright. 90 times out of 100 they have a borderless card. 9 times out of 100 it's miscut. One time in 100 it's a legitimate variation - they do in fact exist but are rare.
- Why are some checklists rarer than others? On vertical puzzles the three pieces on the right side are rarer. And on horizontal puzzles it's the three pieces in the bottom row. Go here for the explanation.
- Did Topps intentionally shortprint Band-Ache and others to sell more packs? Believe it or not, the answer is no. The short printing of Band-Ache in the 1st series was entirely happenstance. Same for Mutt's, Paul Maul and Lavirus. Similarly the long printing of Maddie-Boy and others was not intentional. It happened because when a company complained and a title needed to be replaced, they would replace with one that had the most similar die-cut. Since the 1st series sheet was a direct descendent of the die-cut sheet and went through many versions, strange things happened. No other series was like that. Read about the full history of the 1st series sheet and short prints here.
- I have an uncut sheet from 1979, what's it worth? It's probably not worth as much as you think. Read about why here.
- What is a "back variation"? Most wackys from 1973 to 1976 had blank backs. Some were tan, some were white. They switched from white to tan during the 1st through 3rd, then back to white during the 13th and 14th. Consequently 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 13th and 14th come both ways. That's why they're called "back variations". In 1st series tans are rare. In 2nd series it's about 50/50. In 3rd series whites are rare. In 13th series white are rare and in 14th tans are tougher than whites.
- What is a Ludlow? There's another type of back variation called a "Ludlow". During the 1st and 2nd series they were short on paper so they resorted to whatever leftover paper they could scrounge up. One of these batches had black camels on the back and the other had red camels. These are called "Black Ludlows" and "Red Ludlows". These are highly sought after. Reds are tougher than blacks. 1st series are tougher than 2nd.
- Why are there camels on the back of my stickers? You found a "Ludlow" a type of back variation. If that's from the 1970's then lucky you because they are rare.
- Was Topps ever sued over Wackys? Yes, notably by Tetley Tea and Cabbage Patch Kids. But Topps never lost a lawsuit on Wackys. Parody is protected as free speech.
- What are "3rd row" titles and why are they rarer?
Take a look at the full uncut sheet, it has 154 stickers. There are two sides each with 77. Each side has 7 rows of 11.
Notice the 7th row on the left side is a repeat of the 1st row
And the 7th row on the right side is a repeat of the 2nd row
Therefore titles on the 1st and 2nd row are more common than those on the 3rd row.
The ones in the 3rd row are the ones you're always looking for to complete sets.
- My cards are mint aren't they? 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.
- What is a "Lost Wacky"? Lost Wackys are titles that Topps had created, but did not make it to final production, for one reason or another. Perhaps the most famous is the original GPK. Many were nixed at the rough/concept stage. But many made it to final painting before being shelved. The underground community has rescued many of these and had them printed, they are a popular niche for the serious collector.