Rescued from the depths of a warehouse on Topps property, a historic piece of art from the 1960’s is available this week on eBay for a buy now/best offer price of $1 million. It’s not a long-forgotten 1952 Mickey Mantle. It is, however, expected to be one of the highest selling pop culture items in recent history.
Originally created in 1967 by legendary Topps artist Norm Saunders, this Wacky Packages design titled “Band-Ache,” standing 5” x 7” inches in size, was a coming of age piece that aided in the anti-establishment front that was so prevalent during that time period. It was a spoof of Johnson & Johnson’s “Band-Aid Strips” and their slogan “Keeps Skin Fresh”.
If you’re too young to remember, Wacky Packages are a series of trading card stickers featuring parodies of North American consumer products that allowed children their own little anti-establishment revolt . The cards were produced by The Topps Company beginning in 1967, usually in sticker format. The original series sold for two years, and the concept proved popular enough that it has been revived every few years since.
Band-Ache was common in Topps’ 1967 die-cut set and uncommon in the 1973 original series set and rumored to have been removed from production in 1973 making it the hardest to find. The 1967 die-cut series of 44 stickers was the original Topps Wacky Packages series, predating the more widespread and well-known 1973-76 Wacky Packs.
“Wacky Packages defined an entire generation,” said Mike Jaspersen, Industry Specialist for Topps. “The Wacky brand slogan was ‘Stick Em’ Anyplace!’ And kids sure did. Norm Saunders’ alluring style is on par with any pop culture artist we will ever see. His portfolio of work is stunning.”
“As a kid growing up in 1973, I wasn’t very lucky, at least when it came to Wacky Packages,” said collector Neil Camera. “Nope, after countless packs, I never did find a Bandaches, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I soon discovered the playground trade circuit and learned what Bandaches would cost me: Two Mutts, a Lavirus, a Paul Maul and about a dozen commons, plus a good scolding from my mom for sweetening the deal with my lunch money that week. But that’s one trade I’ve never regretted.”
As a working artist, Camera also has an appreciation for Sauders’ work. “Anyone who grew up in the ’60s or 70’s grew up with Norm Saunders. They just don’t know it. Why he isn’t a household name is one of the great unsolved mysteries of our day.”
The auction launched Thursday morning. Thus far, 16 offers have been made but there’s no word how serious any of them were. You can see the listing here.