The finding of the Wacky Packages 1981 Irish Test Series

Nobody knew this series existed until August of 2004. There had been some clues because Topps Vault had sold some proofs, including a wrapper proof, on eBay in the year and a half prior to the find. However nobody put together that there was actually a whole test series printed up, we all thought we were seeing proofs of the actual Irish stickers from 1985.

Then on August 25th, 2004, I got the following email:
Hi, First I would like to say that I really enjoyed your wacky pack web page. It has so much information. I looked all over your site but could not find the wrappers that I have. The wrapper that I have is white with yellow label with two cards in it. One card is Long Line Beer and the other is Brittle soap pads. The wrapper has one piece of gum that is yellow. On the bottom of the cards it reads ** c in a circle and 1981. On the right hand bottom of the Brittle it reads no, 26 of 33. On the Long Line it reads no.15 of 33. The wrapper has a white sicker which says made and printed in u.s.a. by topps chewing Inc. for Trebor Sharps LTD Maidstone. Can you tell me what I have and if it is worth anything .Thank You , I'm sending a photo of the wrapper.

When I looked at the picture my brain had a hard time processing what it was seeing, I had never expected that there was a series that had been released but that no collector had ever reported seeing before. Until this point the three titles Porkie, Pig Lips, and Kill were known as "lost wackys", but this raised their status to published.

It turned out that the owner had a full box of 48 packs, plus 11 packs extra. To date (12/04) the 59 packs (118 stickers) are the only ones ever found. No other finished stickers have ever been found, however Topps did auction some unfinished proofs on eBay. The person who contacted me had inhereted them from her father who had recently passed away. He was a pack rat who saved all sorts of odds and ends. He lived in Brooklyn in 1981 and never visited the UK. He also had no official association with Topps. The daughter is sure that he did not obtain them overseas, but must have found them somewhere in Brooklyn. So it is not sure if they ever actually were tested in the UK market. Nobody knows if they were even sold in stores in the U.S., no other stickers have ever surfaced.

28 of the packs were opened and one complete set was put together plus a handful of singles. Another 25 packs and the box are in one private collection, and the rest of the packs and the wrappers have been dispersed into pack and wrapper collections around the hobby.

Update May 9th, 2009: Apparently the remaining 37 packs from the second box were found and also hit the market. Almost all packs have been opened by people trying to build sets. There are three full sets and a fourth missing one title (Kill I believe). There are probably less than 10 unopened packs remaining intact.

Greg Grant