Matt Oldweiler, Garbage Pail Kids

Matt Oldweiler collects Garbage Pail Kids memorabilia. He shares his motivation for collecting and explains why it’s important to enjoy the collecting process.

Describe your collection.

It’s hard to quantify. I have about 10,000 Garbage Pail Kids cards but I also have a lot of merchandise, which is something I like to collect even more than the cards. The cards are neat but everyone can go on eBay to buy cards. I like obscure toys and figures from the 1980s. I have close to 1000 pieces of merchandise; it’s getting a little out of hand.

When and why did you start collecting Garbage Pail Kids memorabilia?

I started collecting cards as a kid. I was born in 1975 so I’m right in the target zone; they came out in 1985. Like a lot of kids, I collected the cards and traded them with friends during school recess. I never had the largest collection but I fell in love with them. I kept a couple of boxes of cards as I grew older. In the early 2000s I took them out again. I’m nostaglic in general so looking at the cards again was a nice timewarp back to the 1980s. 

How do you display and store your collection?

I have shelves and glass cases in my home office that are dedicated to my collection. An electrician friend of mine installed some fancy lighting for me. The stuff that isn’t on display is packed and sealed and kept in storage boxes.

My website features most of the items in my collection. I like going on forums and sharing photos with other collectors. It’s a nice community. I created my website in 2006 mostly for myself but other people expressed interest so I started adding items from others. We’re up to 15000 images now. My goal is to have every card so it’s a complete resource. 

What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of Garbage Pail Kids collectibles?

I don’t’ know, to be honest. I  have some items that are very rare, including objects that have production errors and items from lines that were cancelled before hitting the market. I love that kind of stuff. 

A piece that is particularly rare is the original artwork for the Adam Bomb card. I don’t have it but I know the collector that does. Other rarities include stickers printed with errors and certain items released by Placo Toys in the mid-1980s like the hardhat and ball gun.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a similar collection?

Have fun!

There’s an ugly underside to this and all collecting communities. Some collectors are in it for the money they think they are going to get rich when they sell their collection. It’s never been that way for me; I never sell anything. I did an interview with a men’s health magazine a while back. It was about ’80s pop culture. When the article came out, it was an “attic finds that might make you rich” piece. People ask me every day about the value of specific pieces or collections. You’re not likely to retire rich from your collection so just have fun and enjoy it!

What resources do you use to acquire knowledge about your collectibles and connect with other collectors?

I don’t have all the answers. I rely a lot on other collectors. Other people in the hobby are the best resource.


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