10 Delightfully Bad (or Laughably Great) Music Trading Card Sets

10 Delightfully Bad (or Laughably Great) Music Trading Card Sets

Pop music is a fickle beast. What's hot today is often fodder for bad jokes a week or two down the road. When we look back on the bands and beats that used to make us dance, there are often some cringes involved. Over the years there have been plenty of music trading card sets that capture those brief moments in time. And while you might not feel the urge to pull out that Menudo vinyl, the cards can be lots of fun to revisit and flip through.

10 Delightfully Bad (or Laughably Great) Music Trading Card Sets

1975 Topps Bay City Rollers

The Bay City Rollers were groomed as the second-coming of The Beatles. While things didn't quite work out that way, Rollermania led to a set of trading cards that are easy to look back and snicker at. While there's plenty of in-concert action, the real fun comes from their shopping and grooming habits.

1975 Topps Bay City Rollers trading cards aren't the easiest to find today. Either they weren't printed in huge numbers or those that have them keep them in a private stash. A full set has 66 cards.

1975 Topps Bay City Rollers Big Apple Shoes 1975 Topps Bay City Rollers Down the Hatch

1975 Topps Bay City Rollers Brushin Up 1975 Topps Bay City Rollers Big Apple

1983 Topps Menudo

At their peak, Menudo was an international sensation. The Latin American boy band, which featured a massive amount of turnover in its history, has one of the strangest and most colorful sets of trading cards ever produced. In standard fashion for the era, 1985 Topps Menudo has both a base set (66 cards) and sticker inserts (22 stickers). This isn't the last you'll see of Ricky Martin either.

1983 Topps Menudo 33 1983 Topps Menudo 25

1983 Topps Menudo 03 16

1985 Topps Cyndi Lauper

All right, Cyndi Lauper is a legitimate great of 1980s music. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" remains an anthem for a generation. "Time After Time" and "True Colors" are classics in their own rights.

That being said, 1985 Topps Cyndi Lauper trading cards are an extension of her eccentric personality. Bold colors, splatter paint and almost cartoonish photos capture Lauper's energy and style in true '80s fashion.

For those of us who grew up at the time, the look is certainly appropriate. But to those who came along a generation later, it's probably a little too extreme.

The set has an even split between cards and stickers. Wrestling card collectors can find a few WWF stars in the set like Hulk Hogan and Captain Lou Albano.

1985 Topps Cyndi Lauper 4 1985 Topps Cyndi Lauper 29

1985 Topps Cyndi Lauper Stickers 28

1985 Topps Duran Duran

Want to teach your kids about wild '80s hair styles? Look no further than 1985 Topps Duran Duran. Done in a similar format and style to Topps' Cyndi Lauper set from the same year, there are 33 cards and 33 stickers. It's not the worst set ever produced, but it's definitely a time capsule.

From a collectible standpoint, while not overly valuable, it's also not a set you come across all that frequently.

1985 Topps Duran Duran Base 1985 Topps Duran Duran Sticker 4

1985 Topps Duran Duran Sticker 3

1989 Topps New Kids on the Block

Every decade seems to have its seminal boy band. For those coming of age in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was New Kids on the Block. Like all boy bands, their shelf life wasn't expected to go much further once Joe's voice changed. So Topps joined the poster and pillow makers of the world to pump out what merch they could before their fame faded.

Topps actually managed to get a pair of sets to market, both of which are bright, fun and filled with baggy clothes and polka dot shirts.

1989 Topps New Kids on the Block Base 1989 Topps New Kids on the Block Sticker 7

1989 Topps New Kids on the Block Base B

1991 Pro Set SuperStars Musicards

This set is like a Dickens-ian "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." On the one hand, this is one of the greatest music trading card sets of all-time. It's comprehensive for its time, covering several generations of popular music. Several genres are also covered as well, giving space to acts ranging from John Lennon to B.B. King to U2. But then there's the plentiful one-hit wonders that ushered in the 1990s. There's also lots of Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer and his genie pants. The mix of dwindling hair rockers and pop rap singers makes for some fashion clashes as well that are fun to look back on.

1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards Nelson 1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards Vanilla Ice

1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards U2

1991 Pro Set Yo MTV Raps

Like their mass-music set, 1991 Pro Set Yo MTV Raps trading cards are exactly bad. After all, the product has cards of the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and even an appearance by 2Pac courtesy of his time with Digital Underground. But there's also lots of bands that had disappeared once the cards hit the market. And lots more Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer.

1991 Pro Set Yo MTV Raps Terminator X 1991 Pro Set Yo MTV Raps Ed Lover and Doctor Dre

1991 Pro Set Yo MTV Raps Beastie Boys 1991 Pro Set Yo MTV Raps Fab Five Freddy

1999 Upper Deck Ricky Martin

Told you there'd be more Ricky Martin. While he got a start in Menudo and grew up to be a handsome lad, Martin managed to get a lot of mileage out of his breakthrough solo hit "Livin' la Vida Loca." Enough so that Upper Deck entered the music trading card market to get him in the fold. While the set is of high quality and has lots of inserts, it's hard to take it seriously today.

1999 Upper Deck Ricky Martin 39 1999 Upper Deck Ricky Martin 153

1999 Upper Deck Ricky Martin 26 1999 Upper Deck Ricky Martin La Vida Loca

2000 Topps NSYNC

Topps has a long history with music trading cards. But since 2000 Topps NSYNC, they're pretty much bowed out. The set is a mix of the traditional and the modern with basic cards, stickers and foil inserts all part of the master set. With Justin Timberlake moving on to be one of the most famous celebrities in the world (and Joey Fatone finding his way as a cable TV game show host), you can still find some relevance here. There's more hair gel, though.

2000 Topps NSYNC Foil 31 2000 Topps NSYNC Rainbow Foil 9 2000 Topps NSYNC Sticker 10

2010, 2011 Panini Justin Bieber

Too soon? No way. Panini's run with Bieber was actually a good one -- if you're a Bieber fan. They managed to get a pair of sets out of him including plenty of inserts and stickers. Autographs and memorabilia cards are also part of the equation. But we're talking Justin Bieber here. Taking shots at his career trajectory is easy so we'll just leave it at that.

2011 Panini Justin Bieber 20 Base A 2011 Panini Justin Bieber 20 Sticker 2011 Panini Justin Bieber 2 Memorabilia 2010 Panini Justin Bieber Stickers

Top eBay Listings
« Previous1234

Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Comments

  1. Bought many boxes of the 1990 Pro Set MusiCards, be it Series 1 or Series 2. Good or bad, it was fun at the time! To this day, I still buy any of the 5 Paula Abdul’s available in the set if I get them in lot, for a good price. If anyone out there has any, or is willing to trade, I’m listening.

    Leave a Comment: