This is Part 1 of a two part series on the production of 2016 Garbage Pail Kids Prime Slime Trashy TV. Part 2 can be found here.
After a very successful 30th Anniversary Garbage Pail Kids set to close out 2015, Topps dialed back production on the first set of 2016 Apple Pie. However, following the Apple Pie release, Topps has used the Garbage Pail Kids brand in many different ways. Exclusive online only sets have been popular with collectors. While Topps was also said to be very happy with the sell through on the Apple Pie set. Would the online expansion of the GPK brand lead to higher production in the final set of 2016? That’s what I’m going to try to answer in this article and another one to follow. Topps has made it easy on us by keeping the set almost identical to the Apple Pie release, and continue to number many of the parallels and inserts. There is still a lot to attempt to figure out, and its not going to be easy as Topps has started to limit the amount of information available on the sell sheet. But, let’s give it a shot anyway!
First my disclaimer! Production numbers are never an exact science, and Topps makes it tough on us. In order to attempt to solve this riddle we need to look very closely at the clues in both the odds and the sell sheets. Some things to keep in mind for this post. 1) Topps doesn’t want the public to know exactly how much of each card was made. Why? No idea really, I think its dumb, but historically Topps only provides enough information to get close. 2) We need to make some assumptions. Those assumptions will be based on the clues we have, but still some guessing has to happen. 3) The odds never quite seem to come out completely equal. However we can round and get pretty close to how much was produced. 4) Topps changes what is printed from what the sell sheet says all the time. This will throw off all our numbers. 5) Keep in mind Topps historically holds back 5% of the print run to cover missing hits, damaged cards, and their No Purchase Necessary program. These numbers would include that 5%. With all that in mind let’s get started…(Warning lots of math coming up. If you don’t want to hear about the process, skip to the bottom for the answer sheet!)
First we need to figure out how many packs were made for the entire print run. In order to do that we need to use a card type where all the odds are exactly the same in Hobby, Collector, and Retail packs. Once again there is only one card type that fits that description in this set, the Fool’s Gold borders, at 1:58. Here is what we know, there are 220 cards in the set. Fool’s Gold cards are numbered on the back to /50. Therefore, 220 cards X 50 number of golds per card = 11,000 total Fool’s Gold cards X 58 odds = 638,000 total packs made for the release. This is our first stop along the way where things could go wrong. There is only one card type shared across all pack types, so we don’t have a way to double check the numbers. Topps could have always held more Gold borders back, or the odds could be wrong. We have to use what we have available to us. I believe this is a good starting point, and gets us on the path to more information.
Now let’s try to figure out how many of each pack type was created for this release. Collector packs are always the easiest to figure out because they always contain cards that are exclusively made for the set. This time there are two types of inserts and one parallel that are exclusive to Collector boxes, and are numbered on the back.
- Artist Relics – 4 cards in set X 50 made per card = 200 total relics X 175 odds = 35,000 Collector packs made
- Patch Cards – 10 cards in set X 99 made per card = 990 total patches X 35 odds = 34,650 Collector packs made
- Bloody Red Border – 220 cards in set X 75 made per card = 16,500 total Bloody borders X 2 odds = 33,000 Collector packs made
The numbers come out pretty close across the board. Why don’t they match? Well, that’s a Topps mystery. Like I mentioned above the odds never work out exact. On the bloody borders, I’m willing to bet the odds aren’t exact, but rather some rounding on Topps part. I think this gives us a good number of Collector packs. I’m going to go with the 35,000 number for our purposes throughout the rest of the discussion.
Now lets move onto Hobby packs. This is where things get sticky, and Topps is really making it hard on us this time around. In order to figure out Hobby packs we need a card type that is shared by both Hobby and Collector packs, and we need to know how many of that card exists. Before, we could use shaped sketch cards to figure this out. However, Topps has changed the way sell sheets are done. They no longer reveal number of sketches inserted into packs. This causes some problems, and now prevents us from figuring out some numbers. The only thing we can use is the Spit borders. We know there are /99 of each. Since we know how many Collector packs there are, we should be able to figure out the number of hobby packs.
- Spit Borders 220 cards in set X 99 made per card = 21,780 total spit borders X 4 odds = 87,120 total Hobby/Collector packs
- 87,120 total Hobby/Collector packs – 35,000 Collector packs = 52,120 total Hobby packs
Let’s round down to 52,000 for Hobby packs. I have a couple of problems with this number. First off, I am confident of the 87,120 number for total Hobby/Collector packs being correct. However, 52,000 Hobby packs? That seems like a lot to me. That is a lot of hobby packs, especially compared to the Apple Pie release. How can that high of a number be explained? One theory I have could have to do with pre-order price. Before orders were due from distributors, the large online sellers; Blowout Cards, Steel City, DA Cards, etc. all had Collector boxes/cases for sale at very high prices. Higher than any previous set. The price didn’t make sense as the wholesale price from Topps didn’t increase set over set. It wasn’t until closer to release did the online retailers lower their prices back to “normal” levels for Collector products. Hobby boxes/cases however were selling for the usual amount. I’m starting to think collectors who usually order from online dealers put their money into Hobby rather than pay a premium for Collector boxes this time around. Another thing that could slightly be throwing the Hobby number off is actual pull rates of Spit and Bloody parallels. Some collectors have reported varying levels of pull rates not equal to the odds on Bloody parallels. Could this mean there are a few more Collector packs, and therefore less Hobby packs? Maybe, but then we have the Relic and Patch numbers that say otherwise.
Once again, its always a guessing game with Topps. We can only go by the information we have. So for our discussion going forward we will use 35,000 Collector packs, and 52,000 Hobby packs. Now let’s focus on retail. We determined above that there were 638,000 total packs produced. We could simply go 638,000 – 35,000 Collector packs – 52,000 Hobby packs = 550,880 retail packs. We can check our math by using another card type that is in both Hobby/Collector and Retail packs, the Artist Autographs. How many autos are in the set? 110 cards (1 per artwork) X 25 autos per card = 2750 total autos. Let’s look at the odds and see how that breaks down per pack type.
- 35,000 Collector packs / 96 Odds = 365 autos in Collector packs
- 52,000 Hobby packs / 245 Odds = 212 autos in Hobby packs
- 2750 total autos – 365 Collector autos – 212 Hobby autos = 2173 autos in Retail packs
- 2173 Retail autos X 245 odds = 532,385 Total retail packs.
532,385 and 550,880 are pretty close considering the large number of packs. This is one of the reasons why I’m confident we are on the right track with the production numbers for the set. I’m going to go with 550,000 total Retail packs as the number we use going forward.
With the Apple pie set I was able to go even further and figure out how many Jumbo Retail, and Blaster boxes were created. However, like I mentioned above, because Topps no longer reveals how many sketches of each type are inserted, I have no way of breaking down the information further. Sure I could try to figure out how many Loaded and Panoramic sketches there are. There were 34 sketch artists, but did all artists really submit 9 Loaded sketches? And were they all approved by Topps, and inserted into the product? Only Topps knows that information, and they aren’t talking.
So we end up with 550,000 total retail packs. This includes Jumbo retail, Gravity feeds, Blaster boxes, Blister packs, and regular retail boxes. You will want to note that Jumbo Retail packs count as 2 regular packs on the odds for Topps. So you will want to take that into account.
Here’s the bottom line. I’m pretty confident that these numbers are close. Here is what I believe to be the production for each type of pack:
- Total Production – 638,000 Packs
- Hobby – 52,000 Hobby Packs or 2167 Hobby boxes or 270 Hobby Cases
- Collector – 35,000 Collector Packs or 1458 Hobby Boxes or 182 Collector Cases
- Retail – 550,000 Retail Packs
(Once again my numbers could be off. We had to make some assumptions and trust the sell sheets and odds. But I’m confident these numbers are really close.)
So what does this all mean? What stands out to me right away is production is up, BIG, compared to the Apple Pie release. In fact the production numbers look very similar to the 30th Anniversary set from 2015. Take a look at the last three sets and the production numbers:
- Total Pack Production
- 30th – 669,000
- Apple Pie – 484,000
- Trashy TV – 638,000 (25% increase in production over Apple Pie)
- Hobby Pack Production
- 30th – 51,000
- Apple Pie – 39,000
- Trashy TV – 52,000 (25% increase in production over Apple Pie)
- Collector Pack Production
- 30th – 41,000
- Apple Pie 36,500
- Trashy TV – 35,000 (5% decrease in production over Apple Pie)
- Retail Pack Production
- 30th – 577,000
- Apple Pie – 408,500
- Trashy TV – 550,000 (26% increase in production over Apple Pie)
Topps prints to order their product. Which means based on distributor pre-orders, Topps decides how much product to produce. It would appear Excell really increased retail orders for this set, and customers bought a lot more hobby boxes than before. As the odds point out all inserts will be a lot harder to find when busting packs. The one thing Topps did increase was the number of sketch artists and number of sketches inserted. However, because of the large production increase sketches are also slight tougher to pull.
All fun stuff to think about as you bust into those new packs! Let me know your thoughts on the numbers in the comments!
This is Part 1 of a two part series on the production of 2016 Garbage Pail Kids Prime Slime Trashy TV. In Part 2 we will look at production numbers for all parallel and insert sets. Part 2 can be found here.