GPK Collector’s Luck Strikes Again with Craniacs Golden Ticket

Some collectors have all the luck! As a huge fan of Joe Simko artwork, Nick Kelln had already planned on going to the Philly Non-Sports show this past May to meet Joe and add to his collection. With just a few days before the show, little did Nick know he would be going home with an original painting from Craniacs Series 0.

Like most 8 years olds in 1985, Nick became enamored with Garbage Pail Kids. Born Nicholas Edward Kelln, he just knew cards 1a/1b from Original Series 1, (Nasty Nick/Evil Eddie), were made specifically for him. Nick would trade cards with friends on the playground, hiding from the teachers. When his family didn’t share the same love for the stickers, Nick was sure to stick them everywhere where he could to rebel. As he grew into his teenage years the cards disappeared, either sold off, or the victim of a mother cleaning out her son’s room.

Just like with many of today’s GPK collectors, as Nick became an adult he would buy a pack here and there from the store, but only recently got back into the hobby when he purchased a Chrome 5 Blaster box in 2022 from Target. This is where Nick’s first bit of luck surfaced. In that Blaster box, Nick pulled the Handy Randy Superfractor! That’s all it took to get the GPK collecting bug, as Nick would say, “I was instantly hooked and collecting again.” After selling the Superfractor, Nick realized he couldn’t collect everything and decided to focus on collecting autos and sketches from his favorite artists, Joe Simko and Smokin’ Joe McWilliams.

His love of Simko art led him to research and begin to collect many of Simko’s other cards. Nick focused on amassing a thorough collection of Cardsmith’s Elon Musk card that Simko painted. Nick became a fan of the collecting platform WhatNot at this time to expand his collection. When he found Craniacs Series 0, he was hooked. Nick would bust a number of boxes looking for Simko sketches. Boxes started running dry as retailers sold out quickly. Here’s where luck would strike twice for Nick’s collection. In mid-May Nick was able to purchase a dozen of boxes from one of his favorite WhatNot sellers, Junior at Geekfuel. Sadly, as Junior busted the boxes live, no sketches were to be found. However, both Nick and Junior were shocked to pull the lone Golden Ticket for an original Simko painting from the set. “Initial response was just in shock, we knew that they advertised a special “redemption card for a painting” but didn’t know what it looked like or if someone had it locked away in cases in a warehouse. I couldn’t believe we actually found it!”

Now Nick was on a mission, it was just three days before his plane would takeoff for the Philly Non-Sports show, could he somehow find a little more luck to pickup the painting in person? Junior and the team at Geekfuel were kind enough to overnight the redemption card to Nick. With the card arriving just the day before he was to leave, Nick reached out to Simko and was able to arrange for him to bring the painting to the show. Nick was thrilled when he picked up the painting from Simko, “The painting that Simko gave me was of the character Lou. I didn’t know what to expect as to which character/painting it would be, so that part was a surprise until i met Simko in person in Philly. It is amazing, Simko’s art skills are unbelievable, and the painting is full of so much detail and lighting reflections and colors…it’s amazing!”

Craniacs seems to be finding a strong interest from collectors, “Collector reaction to the Craniacs cards has been overwhelmingly positive. While I was at the Philly Non-Sports Card show this past spring, it was amazing to see how many people not only had Craniacs cards for me to sign, but also had complete sets in binders.”, said Simko. On being able to award Nick the painting in person at the show Simko shared, “It was also wonderful to meet one of our earliest die-hard CRX (Craniacs) collectors, Nick Kelln. He showed up with the winning golden redemption ticket for an original Cranaics painting. I was able to deliver that painting to him on the spot.” After testing the waters with Series 0, the company will be launching a full Craniacs Series 1 set. The set is scheduled to launch the week of Aug 19, 2024.

The painting is currently at the framers. Nick hopes to have it back in the coming weeks. Craniacs seems to have found a fan in Nick, “I will be a fan of Craniacs for life, and I do plan on collecting and ripping packs/boxes/cases of Series 1”