As a child of the 80’s, I recall toy stores with entire isles dedicated to singular lines like GIJoe or Transformers being common. Clearly just-in-time inventory systems were not widespread, and larger toy stores like Toys-R-Us and Children’s Palace often stocked like they were hoarders, preparing for a toypocalyse. It made finding new toys easier, as well as making older ones less scarce if you were saving up to buy something special.
I once had grand plans to recreate that 80’s toy store atmosphere in my own collection. In fact I did, collecting every single carded GIJoe figure from ’82-87 along with a lot of vehicles and foreign carded figures, all in one glorious sprawling wall-mounted display. But once I did, practical realities set in, and I decided to liquidate. The money and space I had tied up in these Joes was tremendous. And then the elephant in the room was the dreaded “O-ring Dilemma”.
Spending countless hours over many many years amassing this collection, I learned how easily an expensive investment in vintage unopened Joes could turn to dust when a rubber o-ring decides to give up the ghost, rendering the untouched figure worth pennies on the dollar. And the reality is that all of those O-rings will give up, sooner or later. And rather than watch my collection slowly disintegrate, I sold the vast majority, simply holding on to the memories and photos of the awesome setup I had recreated.
This is that collection. Bear in mind, I was not collecting for monetary value but primarily for nostalgia’s sake. I was not concerned with pristine examples or AFA graded figures. My figures had bent corners and little blemishes everywhere, and I was fine with that. They made me smile every time I walked by, and that was the point.
I’ll be putting up a series of posts, each with a gallery of pics of the Joes I collected. This gallery is from the first series of 1982 characters… gone but not forgotten.
Before anyone corrects me, I do know that the carded version of Cobra Commander didn’t come out until 1983, but the figure was available in 1982 as a mail-away. As such, I still count him among the class of ’82.
Aaaaaaand, just for nostalgia’s sake, here’s a typical 1982 cardback. Gotta love those 🙂