Click These Links to See Individual GI Joe Pages (1982-1994)
A History of GI Joe (Part 3 – Modern Era)
You have achieved iconic level success when your name becomes synonymous with something in our society, such as Coca-Cola or Levi’s. GI Joe has achieved exactly that and then some. In 1964, Hasbro first released the GI Joe toy line to capture the male toy market and try to duplicate the massive success of Mattel’s female driven Barbie toy line. This was the first time that any company had issued a wide scale toy line based on one singular theme, which are now of course known as action figure lines. The toy line evolved through the years, depending on what time period we were in, but eventually faded away in 1978. Hasbro decided to bring GI Joe back in 1982 but made the bold decision to change the scale of the figures from the classic 12 inch to a much more cost friendly 3.75 inch (thanks to the success of another little toy line called Star Wars). Hasbro wanted to retain that GI Joe magic by still giving each character a classic Army profession but tweaked it a little bit to now give each character code names as well, to add a little personality. Each figure also came with a “File Card” that laid out the entire back story of each character which really allowed you to get into the characters and add that extra playability factor. All of this led to the magic of the GI Joe revival from 1982 to 1994.
The smaller sized figures really caught on with a brand new market audience and sold extremely well. Hasbro sold more than $51 million in 1982, and almost doubled that during the next year. What began with a relatively modest line of 11 figures and 4 vehicles in 1982, grew to more than 500 total figures and nearly 250 vehicles and playsets before it was all said and done in 1994. The demise of the GI Joe line was due to a number of different reasons, including decreasing sales numbers, increased competition from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Ranger lines, but perhaps the biggest factor for GI Joe being canceled had to do with the Hasbro and Kenner merger in 1994. Hasbro now had control of the Star Wars line and decided to re-launch the series in a big way for the following year, so Joe was not renewed for 1995.
Hasbro cranked out a ton of product for the GI Joe line from 1982 to 1994, and just like every toy line, the values of certain items can greatly fluctuate over time. This is based on several factors, including the item’s time period, scarcity, consumer demand and overall condition. The good news for GI Joe collectors is there always a demand for Joe items from this era, as Hasbro created some truly iconic pieces. The individual figures are readily available in most secondary markets but the early years figures from 1982 – 1984 are becoming harder to find in good MOC condition. The great display pieces from the GI Joe line are definitely the amazing vehicles and playsets. All toy lines create vehicles and accessories for their figures but Hasbro took it an entirely different level for GI Joe. Items such as the MOBAT, Skystriker, Defiant Shuttle and the USS Flagg (pictured above) are truly defining pieces of any GI Joe collection. Values on Joe items remain steady and have even seen a slight uptick in prices lately with younger generations getting their fill of 80’s and 90’s nostalgia. Hasbro has already cranked out a couple of GI Joe movies and have have plans to produce more in the upcoming years which can only increase toy prices. This, coupled with the current comic book series bodes very well for the future value and investment outlook for the GI Joe toy line moving forward.
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