This is Part 1 of a 2 part series on the production of 2023 Series 1 (2021S2) Garbage Pail Kids GPK Goes on Vacation. Part 2 will be posting soon.
After a 17 month delay, 2023S1 (2021S2) GPK Vacation finally was released. There were a number of reasons why the set was delayed so long. Regardless of the reason, collectors became frustrated having to wait. It became even more of a problem when the set was passed over for the release of GPK Book Worms last year. Production on Book Works was tremendously high. Collectors have been waiting to see if GPK Vacation would surpass that set, or come back to earth. The slightly good news is, while there is a lot of this set, it did not surpass Book Worms. Read on to find out where this set ranks!
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 up to 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 read about the process, skip to the bottom for the answer sheet!)
As always we need to figure out the entire print run. Usually, we would use a card type that is numbered and has the same odds in all pack types. In the past Gold parallels would work for this. This time Golds or Asphalt won’t work because the odds are different across the board. We can still figure out total pack production, we will just have to go pack type by pack type. First a quick note on odds. Believe it or not, the printed pack odds actually seem to be correct! This is very rare, I mean very rare. For years now most retail sets either had the parallel odds doubled, or like the case with Chrome 5, just random nonsense numbers chosen for odds. It’s great that Topps got it right this time. It’s not hard, and hopefully this is a new trend.
Let’s start by looking at Collector packs. Both the Red parallel and State Quarter Relics are exclusive to collector packs. We can look at the odds to determine how many collector packs were made.
- Quarter Relics – 50 cards in set * 99 made per card = 4,950 total quarters * 36 odds = 178,200 Collector packs made
- Red borders – 200 cards in set * 75 made per card = 15,000 total Red borders * 12 odds = 180,000 Collector packs made
Both those numbers are very close. We are safe to use the 180,000 number for Collector packs. The surprise here is the sharp decrease from Book Worms. Less than half of the collector packs from Boom Worms, and even down from Food Fight. It’s clear the demand from a collector pack standpoint was not there for this release. Now let’s look at Retail Display boxes. We can use the Blue parallels exclusive to Retail Display boxes to get the pack amounts.
- Blue borders – 200 cards in set * 99 made per card = 19,800 total Blue borders * 15 odds = 297,000 Retail Display packs made
Case break examples have shown the odds on the Blues have been right on. Therefore, again we can go with 297,000 as the pack number for Retail Display boxes. Another huge surprise, as again the production of Retail Display boxes is about half of Book Worms. Now don’t get overly excited yet, production isn’t down this much as we will see with Blasters. Blaster packs sadly don’t have a numbered exclusive parallel or insert card. So to figure out the Blaster pack number we are going to have to go backward so to speak using Gold and Asphalt parallels. If we figure how how many golds and asphalts are in Collector and Retail
Display packs, then we know what’s left to be in Blasters. We can then use the Blaster odds to get total Blaster packs.
- Gold borders
- 200 cards in set * 50 of each gold = 10,000 total Golds
- Collector – 180,000 packs / 57 odds = 3,157 Golds in Collector packs
- Retail Display – 297,000 packs / 95 odds = 3,126 Golds in RD packs
- 10,000 total golds – 3,157 collector golds – 3,126 RD golds = 3,718 Golds in Blaster packs
- Blaster – 3,178 Golds in Blasters * 338 odds = 1,256,684 total Blaster packs
- Asphalt borders
- 200 cards in set * 66 of each Asphalt = 13,200 total Asphalt
- Collector – 180,000 packs / 45 odds = 4,000 Asphalt in Collector packs
- Retail Display – 297,000 packs / 72 odds = 4,125 Asphalt in RD packs
- 13,200 total Asphalt – 4,000 collector Asphalt – 4,125 RD Asphalt = 5,075 Asphalts in Blaster packs
- Blaster – 5,075 Asphalt in Blasters * 250 odds = 1,268,750 total Blaster packs
Looking at the numbers from Gold and Asphalts borders are pretty close to each other. To make the math easier let’s go with a number about in the middle, 1,260,000 for total Blaster packs. And there we go, that’s where Topps produced a lot of the product. That’s a large number for Blasters, in fact only Chrome 5 has a higher Blaster count. (Book Worms didn’t have Blasters.) This puts the retail production very close to the Food Fight set, but again nothing close to Book Worms.
Here’s what I believe the total production numbers to be for GPK Vacation:
- Total Production – 1,737,000 Packs
- Collector – 180,000 Collector Packs or about 7,500 Collector Boxes or about 937 Collector Cases
- Retail Display – 297,000 Retail Display Packs or about 12,375 RD Boxes or about 1,546 RD Cases
- Blaster Box – 1,260,000 Blaster packs or 126,000 Blaster boxes or about 3,150 Blaster cases
Production is down significantly from Book Worms. Vacation production is in fact down slightly from Food Fight, it‘s very similar overall. Let’s take a look how this set compares to recent retail releases.
- Total Pack Production
- 35th Anniversary – 1,113,000
- Food Fight – 1,790,000
- Book Worms – 3,635,000
- Vacation – 1,737,000 (52.2% decrease in production vs. Book Worms)
- Collector Pack Production
- 35th Anniversary – 130,000
- Food Fight – 225,000
- Book Worms – 405,000
- Vacation – 180,000 (55.5% decrease in production vs. Book Worms)
- Retail Pack Production
- 35th Anniversary – 983,000
- Food Fight – 1,565,000
- Book Worms – 3,245,000
- Vacation – 1,557,000 (52.0% decrease in production vs. Book Worms)
As much as I was surprised by the increases in production recently, I’m almost just as surprised by the huge decrease in production in GPK Vacation. Production decreases were more than half across the board compared Book Worms. Production was also down when compared to Food Fight. Don’t get me wrong however, there is still a lot of this set, especially when it comes to Blaster tins. The set is the fourth highest produced in the modern GPK era behind Book Worms, Chrome 5, and Food Fight. What might be the most surprising number is this is the first decrease in production in years. Why is that? Is demand less for GPK? Has Topps realized the crazy production for Boom Worms and Chrome 5 didn’t make sense? It’s probably a combination of things. The set’s delay may have had more to do with decreases than anything. A lot of collectors cancelled their preorders due to the long delay. This could help explain the decreases in Collector and Retail Display production. Topps is now caught up from their delayed releases. They currently have planned one more retail and one more Chrome release for 2023. What will be very interesting to see is if production numbers for those sets more closely resemble GPK Vacation or GPK Boom Worms.
This is Part 1 of a 2 part series on the production of 2023 Series 1 (2021S2) Garbage Pail Kids GPK Goes on Vacation. In Part 2 we will look at production numbers for all parallel and insert sets. Part 2 will be posted soon.