Fresh Finds of the 80s: G.I. Joe

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Got to get tough, yo Joe!

Every generation had a toy that defined their youth. Mine was undoubtedly dominated by the world of G.I.Joes. In fact, I was the “G.I. Joe kid” on my street, with an obsessive collection that topped 130 or so action figures, including a few dozen vehicles, including some of the larger, more expensive ever to be sold.

Only if I knew how much they would be worth today, I wouldn’t have built dirt trenches in my front yard and used a hose to simulate a cobra trap. I mean, the movie was based on the mythical Cobra-La so how could a kid not totally decimate the value of all their toys?

I recently went on ebay and found out exactly what my toys would have been worth. Some range from a hundred bucks new in the package and peaks around $700 for the more rare figures. Well, I wouldn’t say rare, but the figures that people managed to not open and keep in a climate controlled place out of view of sunlight.

The same phenomenon could be said for the original Star Wars set. For anyone that has ever watched Toy Hunter with Jordan Hembrough, you know just how much those toys have skyrocketed in value.

I guess I would have a hundred grand or so in toys, but I wouldn’t trade the experience of being young with no problems during the dawn of the video game age.

We traded baseball and football cards in the late 80s.

We rode bikes.

We built forts.

Played war.

Lost all our accessories to our action figures.

And didn’t give a shit. Our parents didn’t give a shit.

In essence, we were built to not live in the past in contrast to the kids today. There are a billion special editions on toy shelves each year that the meaning is lost. Funko Pops are meant to be saved in their pristine boxes. Every TV and movie show needs a line of toys, mostly marketed toward adults of the 80s who remember collecting. The value of all the crap today will be very little in 20 to 30 years because Funko Pop armies are not being lined up in trenches in the front yard ready for war. The “pristine” supply will always be high.

The same phenomenon happened in the 1980s boom of baseball cards. All the kids of the 50s grew up and had money 30 years later and started bidding up stuff from their childhood. They wanted to get the cards they never found. They wanted the best condition. Prices shot up and companies over produced baseball cards.

The same shit is happening today. All current toys will crash in value. There is a reason why The Phantom Menace toys sell less today than they did when the movie came out. There is simply too much of it. Add in Disney over producing Star Wars each and every Christmas from her and forever and what you have is basically the end of collecting. G.I. keeps releasing different lines of toys, confusing new collectors and annoying the old faithful.

But hey! People collecting for fun, right?

Bullshit.

People like both. The same goes for car collecting and vintage comic books and fine art. People want their rare stuff to go up in value. People speculate. They commiserate with friends. They take trips to conventions around the world for the thrill of the hunt.

The prices of the original line of Star Wars and G.I. Joes will always go up in value, even as the original kids grow old and die. The franchises will continue.

I just look forward to when trenches are built in yards again.

As for me, this all started because my wife found for me a 1992 G.I. Joe still sealed in the package, purchased for $3 at a thrift shop. I guess it’s worth a couple Subway Sandwiches more, but I don’t care, I’ll keep it. Hopefully someday, I’ll be able to get the toy I never got; An original B.A.T.S sealed in the package.

In the end, I have the memory, and that’s all that counts.

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