Past GI Joe Articles

Here is a collection of past GI Joe related articles I have written for this website.


I Love Price Stickers

I love seeing a price sticker on a vintage carded GI Joe figure or boxed vehicle. The price sticker is most likely the first thing to catch my eye. These little rectangular gems add nostalgia and authenticity. What store sold the figure? What was the price? Was the price reduced? I even imagine, 25 years ago, a store employee quickly and carelessly slapping the cardboard with a price gun. C'mon, who's with me? Give me a small crease, a little fading, a torn tab. Did an 8 year old kid accidentally rip the toy off the peg back in the 80's? Show me that minor plastic bubble crack, bubble dent or bubble lifting. It sure will save you a ton of money when collecting. It's even possible to buy certain figures in damaged, unopened packaging for little more than a counterpart that is mint, loose and complete.

Okay, maybe I'm going a little too far here. But won't every carded 1984 Storm Shadow eventually yellow? Won't every carded figure eventually have a broken O-ring? Will the plastic bubbles not eventually become brittle and the card colors eventually fade? Yeah, it may take a while. But I prefer to enjoy some interesting signs of aging and the huge price cut that comes with them. I have nothing against GI Joe toys in mint condition. They're awesome. And I have nothing against AFA graded figures and vehicles. Yet these items fetch enormous prices which can lead the dishonest to alter and fabricate. I've seen some amazingly realistic-looking GI Joe figures on fake cards. So just remember to be careful when purchasing any vintage GI Joe collectible. And remember that you may be able to buy your favorite figures on damaged cards for a fraction of the mint card price.

- Brian


Why I Made This Guide

As a child in the 1980's, I loved the small 3 3/4" GI Joe toys. The only other toy line that I might have enjoyed as much would be the first generation of Transformers. A few years ago, my wife picked up a boxed 1984 Optimus Prime at a yard sale for $1 as a joke. My son had taken my original beloved Optimus into battle and the fearless Autobot leader had perished. My eyes lit up as she brought the box in the door. I wanted no other toy more growing up. In my innocence I had even promised God that I would never do anything wrong again if I got an Optimus Prime for my 8th birthday. I did get him that day and now I had him again. I could have sold him for a nice profit, but on that day I decided that collecting the toys of my youth would be a fun hobby.

Although I still casually collect Transformers, I eventually focused on collecting GI Joe figures. They did not take up a great deal of space and most of them seemed reasonably priced on Ebay. But how much were they actually worth? What was the going rate? Which figures were rare? I searched for a current online guide but could not find one. So I decided to further enjoy my hobby by making a guide myself back in 2006. It has taken me countless hours of researching, surfing Ebay, and typing words and code. It is a project that will never end as I try to continually add content and update prices. To all my fellow collectors out there, please contact me if you have price suggestions or error corrections. Your input is invaluable. Hopefully this guide provides what I wish I had when I started collecting. If you want an actual printed GI Joe guide, I recommend Mark Bellomo's Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994.

- Brian


Why collect G.I. Joe toys?

Being a toy collector is not only a fun hobby for thousands of people, it can also be a great investment. Keeping in mind that the value of anything is totally dependant on what someone is willing to pay, and that any investment involves risk, toys have always been popular collectors' items and usually increase in value over time. They remind us of pleasant childhood memories, or the memories of a son or daughter's early years. A few things that add special value to Hasbro's G.I. Joe line are: a following which sometimes nears cult status, respectable quality, and a longevity that spans over 40 years.

If the joy of collecting is the only motivation, the 3 and 3/4 inch GI Joe and Cobra forces provide plenty of things to do. There are a wide variety of fascinating figures and vehicles to collect. There is the thrill of the search for rare variations and sets. A simple joy is displaying the highly poseable collectibles; and if figures and vehicles are broken or incomplete, they can usually be fixed or completed. There are also sub-hobbies to explore such as custom figure creation and diorama displays. And finally, a toy collection is one that can be shared with one's children or friends, and eventually passed on for generations.

- Brian