Feature: What's Hot? Boomers GI Joe - Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals


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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Collectibles > Feature: What's Hot? Boomers GI Joe


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 What are this year's "hot" collectibles? We're not fortune-tellers by any means, but we are always interested in tracking trends. And the trend that we expect to continue is the demand for 'boomerabilia'.

What's that? Well, it's a term that's applied to everything from classic toys, like erector sets, to classic cars, like those old Thunderbirds with the great big fins. It's amazing that these relics from childhood have become such coveted collectibles.

For instance, young girls treasured their collection of Barbie dolls. Their brothers though, played with G.I. Joes. Their "America's Movable Fighting Men" would wreak havoc in our playroom.

1964 talking G.I. Joe

Not too long ago, a rare G.I. Joe collector's edition created to celebrate the doll's 30th anniversary came up at auction at Christie's in New York. It was an exact replica of the first G.I. Joe made. There was a lot of buzz about how much he would fetch. After all, an original sold new for $4. Today they're selling on eBay for hundreds of dollars.

Because of boys like my brothers, the G.I. Joe craze started almost immediately after the first four dolls were introduced in early 1964, one each representing the four branches of the military.

Of course, you couldn't really call them dolls.

Search ToyRus below for GI Joe:


G.I. Joe was so popular among the latter-half of the boomer generation because it was a first.

Prior to G.I. Joe there wasn't any real 'action figure' for boys that's how new it was.

These 12-inch-tall Army, Marine, Navy, and Air Force men came complete in perfectly scaled down fatigues, dog tags, jump boots, and insignia chevrons. There was even a Field Training Manual. By the end of that first year the G.I. Joe fan club not only started, but had 150,000 members. (They're probably all collectors today!)

G.I. Joe collecting, like lots of hobbies, is a mania, complete with international conventions, thick guides to pricing, and scads of web sites.

You'd think that there'd be enough to go around, with more than 250 million G.I. Joes in existence.

But collectors prize G.I. Joes that have been kept in their original packaging, with their perfectly designed versions of military uniforms and hardware untainted, the colors on the box unfaded by sunlight, the cellophane untorn, and all of G.I. Joe's 21 movable parts still moving perfectly.

And that's the problem. Most originals were bought with playing in mind and not collecting. Generations of boys (and some girls, too) fought the good fight with their G.I. Joes in mud, puddles, and grass in the backyard. Like soldiers everywhere, most G.I. Joes are scuffed, banged up, and a little worse for wear. It turns out that even 250 million G.I. Joes aren't enough.

Remember that 30th anniversary collector's G.I. Joe? Well, it must have been pretty perfect. It sold for $5,570.

Now that's a boom!  Search ToyRus below for GI Joe:




The new official identification guide to GI Joe and accessories, 1964-1978
by James DeSimone

The Complete Encyclopedia to GI Joe
by Vincent Santelmo

GI Joe: Official Identification and Price Guide 1964-1999
by Vincent Santelmo

GI Joe: The Complete Story of America's Favorite Man of Action
by John Michlig, Don Levine

Search ToysRus for:
GI Joe

The Official 30th Anniversary Salute to GI Joe 1964-1994
by Vincent Santelmo

Balsamic Dreams: A Short But Self-important History of the Baby Boomer Generation
by Joe Queenan

Longevity Revolution: As Boomers Become Elders
by Theodore Roszak

Baby-Boomer Dolls: Plastic Playthings of the 1950's and 1960's a Reference and Price Guide by Michele Karl

Boys' Toys of the Fifties and Sixties: Memorable Catalog Pages from the Legendary Sears Christmas Wishbooks 1950-1969 by Thomas W. Holland (Editor), Roebuck and compa Sears

Marx Toys Sampler: A History & Price Guide by Michelle Smith

Toys & Prices 2002 (Toys and Prices, 2002) by Sharon Korbeck (Editor), Elizabeth A. Stephan (Editor)

Toys!: Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions by Don Wulffson, Laurie Keller (Illustrator)




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