Spend Your Holiday Cash On These Not-So-Mint-In-Box ’80s G.I. Joe Toys!


For years I ran a collectibles store on eBay. We sold props, replicas, comics, and the bread and butter were always toys. When the G.I. Joe 3.75″ toy line had a resurgence around 2003, our entire stock of ’80s Hasbro A Real American Hero vehicles got bought out at lightning speed. The G.I. Joe brand has seen a few brief spikes in the following years but never truly regained the glory it possessed nearly forty years prior.
After our collection was sold, we stopped paying attention to the brand and focused on the thriving Star Wars and, to my surprise, Playmates Simpsons toylines. So today, I was checking out the collectors’ scene to see what was fetching high prices, and the Joes did not disappoint.
If you were a kid of the ’80s, you’ll probably remember boxes of Joe and Cobra vehicles not always being in the best condition when you’d pick them up at the toy store. Maybe it was because they were “army toys” or stores didn’t appreciate the budding collectors market, but finding a perfect box of the Dragonfly or Snow Cat was like tracking down a unicorn.
The only way you could almost guarantee getting something that had not been tossed around in the back room was to order through the trusty Sears and J.C. Penney Christmas catalogs. The preservation efforts of collectors or kids with foresight have led to a healthy amount of classic G.I. Joe toys returning to the market, and the Big Bad Toy Store has quite a few for you to blow your holiday money on.
I’ve picked out a few whose prices stunned me. Let us know your thoughts on these prices in the comments section below.
Now, if the Night Striker WHALE is going for $2,499, what would the original olive drab version go for?!

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The WHALE was a beast of a vehicle. You could practically shove all your Joes and Cobras into it to take to a friend’s house. Although, if I remember right, it wasn’t too buoyant. The vehicle had wheels on the bottom to simulate the whole hovercraft effect.
This AFA Grade 85 Cobra C.L.A.W. is going for $799. Cobra’s one-man jetpack isn’t very big. The front wheels never stayed on correctly. Is nearly a grand worth it?
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Here’s another small item that commands a big price. Serpentor and his Air Chariot! OK, I loved the Serpentor toy. The dude had a giant cobra head as his helmet! The Chariot itself was OK. It was made for showin’, not so much for goin’. $699.99, though?
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Jumping up past the thousand dollar mark, Cobra’s Water Moccasin is going for $1,199. I’m a Florida Man, so an airboat with a turret is right up my alley! Brazil got a red variant which looked badass. Today, the vehicle itself is still typical to see both boxed and open in very good condition. So the price doesn’t make a lot of sense.
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Back to the Land of Affordability, the L.C.V. Recon Sled is Grade 85 and is going for $399.99. If I needed something blown up when we played G.I. Joe, it would be the sled. Unfortunately, the dang thing never stayed together. The windshield would always come loose, or the front wheels fell apart. Blah.
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Now the real oddity is this one—$ 2,249 for the Attack Glider with Falcon. The gliders were styrofoam and pretty similar to all the other gliders you can buy even today. They’re fragile, really fragile. However, due to the rarity of these things in the wild still in the box, these possibly very brittle styrofoam pieces are worth a pretty penny.
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[Source: Big Bad Toy Store]

Mike Phalin

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