thrift store finds: new kids on the block trading cards

Today we’ll be looking at (and opening up!) a sealed box of New Kids on the Block trading cards, made by Topps in 1989. I have NO idea how much a box of these originally cost, but I dickered with the guy who was selling them and got the whole thing for $5 bucks.

This is going to be an interesting TSF for me to write, as I’m not very knowledgable about either trading cards or boy bands of the 1980’s. New Kids on the Block’s inoffensive pap pretty much ruled the airways in the early Nineties and I recall both the music and all the attendant merchandise. I remember NKOTB primarily from my sister Laura’s interest; she had a couple of NKOTB dolls of the boys… each about the size of Barbie’s boyfriend Ken. I used to put them in Barbie’s pink convertible and drive them off “cliffs,” substituting the edges of mattresses and stairs for cliffs whenever possible.

With that anecdote, you probably understand my level of interest in the New Kids… but my wife Ellen? Well… look at this comic I drew six years ago.

That comic is from the second time I met Ellen… and the first time I drew her in the comic. Apparently I was SO impressed by her owning an oversized NKOTB button that I made plans to marry her that night. Suffice to say, I’ve always remembered she liked the band and I thought these cards would make a goofy/fun gift for her.

This box of New Kids trading cards offered the consumer 36 wax packs; that is to say, the wrappers for the cards are wax paper. There are two different colors of wax packs, although they’re basically the same design.

Ellen and I decided to crack the box open and see if we could put together a full set. As you can see from the box, each package of NKOTB cards comes with eight “super gloss photo cards” and one sicker. The “super gloss” doesn’t mean much although I guess it sounds nice; they’re your basic cardboard trading cards.  Here’s a typical package after it’s been opened:

All the cards have trivia or stats on the back and each package also comes with one sticker. Ellen was not happy with this one.

As an added collectable bonus, the backs of the stickers are cards themselves; you can collect all ten of a card back to create one of two mini-posters. The first, a yellow border group shot, is pretty standard, but the second one? Check it out.

I don’t know what it is, but a couple of kids using their own rat tails as mustaches makes me sort of sick. I’m not even trying to be sarcastic here; I feel completely ill every time I look at the photo above.

Here’s the part where I talk about how annoying collecting trading cards is. though I occasionally enjoyed buying a package or two in my day, I never quite understood the allure. I suppose it’s thrilling, opening up a pack of cards when you’re not sure what you’ll end up with, a thrill made even more exciting when there’s some sort of chase card included. For me then, the problem becomes what a supreme pain in the butt it is to get a complete set! Ellen and I opened up thirty-six packages of New Kids on the Block cards

…and we only put together ONE complete set! We got like, quintuples of certain cards… but the cards didn’t seem to be distributed evenly so as to give us a fair chance. To put that into perspective, each one of these packs of cards cost fifty cents in 1989. A kid would have had to drop a minimum of $18 bucks to be sure she’d be able to get every New Kid card in the 88 card set. What was even a bigger pain in the ass, even though we went through 36 packs, we weren’t able to complete either of the mini-posters.

I know that’s part of the game though, and the way Topps makes money. I get it. I won’t lie either: I don’t really give a crap about Danny, Donnie, Jordan, Joey and Jonathan, but opening up all these packs was fun! Ellen and I had a good time hunting for certain cards and joking about the lameness of the pictures and the descriptions on the card backs. Here’s my favorite one… read the back of the card first:

Ok, got that? Now look at the picture Topps chose to include on the card front:

HE’S WEARING A BOB MARLEY SHIRT? THAT MAKES NO SENSE!

In the interest of not ending this post negatively, I asked Ellen to pick out her FAVORITE cards featuring the New Kids. Please enjoy (and click to make it bigger!).

I’m detecting a Donnie bias, but I’ll let you be the judge.

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3 Responses to “thrift store finds: new kids on the block trading cards”

  1. Hello there I purchased the complete set many years ago on ebay. I noticed now after owning them that I do not have “stickers”, I also do not own 2 sets of puzzles. I do own 1 that has a red border while you have one that has a red and then one with a yellow border.

    You say it’s from Topps but why does the picture say Big Step Productions. And on the back of yours it says collect 88 cards and a 11 stickers. On mine it says collect 88 cards and 11 puzzles.

    I’m not doubting you but just find it strange. I guess Topps took over and added something extra to get people to rebuy the cards?

    Anyways let me know cause I see alot of these on ebay and I hopefully can maybe buy them off someone but i wanna make sure what i’m seeing is correct with the stickers, two sets of puzzle posters and how many cards all together cause i think you said 88 cards and a 11 stickers?

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      Tom, I think Big Step Productions is the name of the company who licensed NKOTB to Topps Trading Cards. It’s possible you have the first series of cards Topps produced; this post is about the second series of cards they produced. I’m no expert though!

  2. Hello there and thanks for the reply.

    After a very long search I come to this answer.

    First was Big Step Productions then what happened was Topps wanted in on the action so they took over and re-released everything with those stickers which from what i’m told one side is a sticker and the other side is the puzzle poster.

    Now what I also read is the SERIES 2 is Topps just adding to their own collection which is 88 cards and 11 stickers and again from what I read is one side sticker and the other side puzzle poster.

    So what you have is probably Series 1 and 2 from Topps.

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