Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Puzzling Wacky Packages Ape For Grapes

If I post this on a Wednesday, which looks very likely*, I should call it Wacky Wednesday. The subject of course is the parody stickers that Topps originally produced in the early 1970s that they called Wacky Packages. The WPs are off-the wall sometimes very very off-the wall and often leaning toward gross-out parodies of actual products. Topps was not opposed to parodying themselves which they did with this rare semi-hard to find Sticker:

1974 Topps Wacky Packages: Series 11: Planet of the Grapes
(Front and Back)
(pardon the thread/hair on the back scan image)

Topps Produced a set of cards for the Television series of Planet of the Apes the wrapper image of which this WP Parodies.
 1974 (75?) Topps Planet of The Apes cards Wrapper
Even though the TV show cards have a copyright of 1967 on them they were produced around the time of the show 1974/75. Oddly enough the Apes cards have puzzle piece backs.
Getting back to the WP stickers the sticker backs were blank. The brown/tan back is most common. If I recall correctly sometimes there were white backs with a slightly thicker paper/card stock. I got that sticker by its lonesome from Ebay in February of this year for five bucks ($4.99 + $2.22 shipping). Due to its rarity it often goes for much more. Since getting it I've shown it off on a couple of the card trading forums but never got around to officially blogging it. That is one of my problems not blogging something I've posted on a card board (ugh Pun not totally intended). I don't really care if it is the other way around not everything I blog about I need to post on a trading card board, but if I've mentioned a card elsewhere I like to mention it here. Preferably before mentioning it elsewhere.

For each series of  Wacky Packages stickers they would choose one of the mock products to use as a 9 card puzzle with the series checklist on the flip-side. For Series 11 Planet of the Grapes was the chosen for the series puzzle.
1974 Topps Wacky Packages Series 11 Puzzle: Planet of The Grapes 
(9 card complete puzzle)

Some of the puzzles are hard to find while others are super easy. For some reason this one is one of the rarer and very often overinflated overpriced on Ebay starting at $50 or $60 but more often starting for $100 or more for the full puzzle, individual pieces usually start between $5 - $10 and very often beyond. Plus they charge outrageous amounts for shipping. Back in late April this year I manged to get this sweet NM practically perfectly aligned full puzzle for only $29.49 + $2.50 shipping ($31.99 Total). Notice that is aprox. only $3.50 per card and each piece is in excellent to near mint condition with NO marks on the backside checklist. Often you find lesser quality conditioned cards with checks and marks on the checklist going for many times that.

The puzzle backs are the checklists for the series. Each puzzle piece has the same checklist back:
1974 Topps Wacky Packages: Series 11: Checklist Unmarked
 [I saw a checklist online of the UK checklist and the backs are green, not orange and it actually shows the Planet of the Grapes sticker in the image. The fronts with the pieces should be very similar if not the exact same. I'd like to get that puzzle sometime but not for the overinflated price of an arm and a leg.]

When I was a kid I had a ton of Wacky Packages, unfortunately many of them were lost to time. Some of them were attached to notebooks and scrap books through the ages. Some just plain lost. I do recall one time a classmate (while I was in 3rd grade) had purchased a full box of whatever series was the current one. The box yielded 2 or 3 full sets of the stickers he sold me one of his sets for five bucks, ten maybe twenty I don't recall. I forget if the puzzle was included or not. Unfortunately by the end of that day I have very few of the stickers left because the rest of the class had learned I had them and regrettably one by one I sold most of them for a quarter or 50 cents or maybe some I might have just given away. I was an easy to persuade kid. At the time it was the only full Wacky Packages Set I had although for a very brief period of time.

I often would get several packs and of course get duplicates of the puzzle piece which was one per pack (I forget how many stickers came in the pack). Of course being a kid I would also mark up the checklists often in ink, ball point pen or magic marker with the cards I had. Also with the cards I needed, sometimes I would just mark up all the check boxes on a checklist. I don't know why other than I was just a kid that didn't realize that later in life I would prefer to have them unmarked.

*OK so I barely made the posting on Wednesday thing.


  1. I had a big collection of Wackys in third grade. I had the complete sets of series 5-10 and several stickers from 11th and 12th series. Unfortunately they were stolen from my desk one day.

    Topps always parodied at least one of its products in each series in an effort to avoid lawsuits.

    I'm pretty sure series 4-10 are the most common with the later (11-16) and earlier (1-3) series being harder to find.

  2. I've still never owned a single Wacky card.

  3. funny how they used more colors in the parody than the original!!