UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2014
WHY THIS WEBSITE WAS CREATED
As a collector of vintage GIJoe I was always frustrated by the lack of information on HOW to collect vintage GIJoe. I felt that the vintage GIJoe books written were more focused on the history of GIJoe and not as helpful to the actual collector of GIJoe. After almost 20 years of collecting this is still true. I created this website a long time ago on AOL and have carried the information over now to my own domain name. I call this website an "INFOSITE", my own term, because it is mainly a place to get information that vintage GIJoe collectors need. With this INFOSITE, I will list as completely as possible all of the known information of all the vintage GIJoe sets known. This website has been a work in progress for a very long time. Most of the needed information has now been found and it is time to update the whole website. This website will be specifically helpful to the vintage GIJoe collector and hopefully will serve as a guide to all existing and future collectors.
There have been many attempts over the years at referencing everything ever created by Hasbro for the GIJoe product line from 1964 through 1969. More than a dozen books and guides available have errors or omissions of critical information. The only books that have proved very useful were the oldest and the most recent books published. James DeSimone's 1994 book which is nothing more than photographs of all of the vintage uniforms and GIJoe's he found is still probably the best place to get the basic information. Derryl DePriest's book "The Collectable GIJoe" is also extremely helpful, especially for people who collect the Adventure Team Fuzz Head Joes. Still, these and all other books leave me wanting more guidance on HOW to collect vintage GIJoe.
Part of the confusion that exists in the vintage GIJoe hobby today has been the vague references in the existing books as to what items came in each set. More specifically, the details on the specific pieces included in each set has been almost completely ignored by most "collecting guides". I personally believe that almost all GIJoe books are misleading on purpose. This is especially true with Vincent Santelmo Krause Publishing books which contain dozens of misleading facts, distorted events, fabrications, reproductions and downright lies. One can only speculate why these books were written this way; the underlying ulterior motives will only be known by their respective authors. I used to know Vincent very well but his overall philosophy on collecting keeps me from being his friend. I spent dozens of hours on the phone with Vincent explaining the facts about vintage GIJoe that I have learned. I showed him photographic evidence and laid out the truth in hopes that he would publish the truth. Unfortunately he wrote the exact opposite of the truth, hoping to keep the pile of misinformation as high as possible. The 2 books that have been published since I worked with him in 1998 have kept the vintage GIJoe hobby in turmoil ever since.
WHY AM I QUALIFIED TO CREATE THIS WEBSITE?
The information contained in this INFOSITE is a compilation of almost 50 years of my hands-on experience playing with and now collecting vintage GIJoes. I have also done countless hours of book research, online research, shopping online, shopping at conventions, specialty shows and shops. I have also spent thousands of hours talking in person, on the phone or online with fellow GIJoe enthusiasts and collectors. I have been collecting vintage GIJoe since 1966 and I still have my original childhood collection separated out from my regular collection. I have handled dozens of collections and literally hundreds of vintage GIJoe figures and uniforms. I have personally seen and handled hundred of sealed vintage packages as well. I have always had a particular affinity for first issue pieces and have been lucky enough to find a larger variety of examples than almost anyone in the world. All of this time has helped me develop a keen understanding of the whole painted hair era of vintage GIJoe.
As this INFOSITE takes shape I will attempt to expand the whole information database and making everything available to all collectors. All of the information will be presented on this INFOSITE including the colors, markings, tags and specific details of each piece produced from 1964 through 1969. The set descriptions will also include references to the errors, assumptions and myths in other guides and an attempt to clear up much of the misinformation surrounding vintage GIJoe. There also will be information for ALL GIJoe collectors including answers to some of the who, how, where, why and what questions so many people ask in this hobby. Since there is such a demand for quality early pieces, this website will focus mostly on the items produced between 1964 and 1969.
WHY ONLY 1964 THROUGH 1969?
This website is being published because most of the identification problems come when dealing with 1964 through 1969 pieces. There have been many people in the GIJoe hobby, including Hasbro themselves, who have reproduced hard to find items from all eras. When it comes to knock-off versus Hasbro I am specifically referring to the knock-offs MADE during the same 1964 through 1969 era. You could more properly describe these items as VINTAGE Knock Offs! Products like Fighting Yank, My Buddy, Bill Champ, Buddy Charlie and MANY others came in MASS quantities during the heyday of GIJoe. Many of these companies were sued out of business but not before all of their junk was spread across the world. There are many interesting knock off items so there will even be a complete section on these. Reproduction items will also be discussed along the way as they too have added a degree of difficulty in collecting vintage GIJoe items. Most of the knock off items ceased to be produced after 1970 for several reasons but mainly because the popularity of Military toys wained so much during the Vietnam war.
I am also focusing this website on the 1964 through 1969 GIJoe line because it is where the greatest need for a guide is. Collecting the 1970 and later vintage GIJoe is much easier and much less expensive. Other than a slew of color variations and a few very hard to find pieces, collecting AT Joes is a pretty straightforward venture. I had one Fuzzy haired Joe as a kid but I was getting too old to play with GIJoe by then. There was just always something very special about the Military line of vintage GIJoe and that is what has held my interest for almost 20 years as a collector. I have even joked around with slightly younger collectors and told them "REAL GIJoe's don't have fuzzy hair". If you want the truth about 1970 and later vintage GIJoe then I will refer you to Derryl DePriest's book "THE COLLECTABLE GIJOE". It is an AWESOME book and has every single detail you would ever want to know about AT GIJoe.
HOW THIS WEBSITE WILL HELP YOU
The most commonly asked question of me and one of the biggest battles facing all vintage GIJoe collectors is how to tell if an item is genuine authentic GIJoe made by Hasbro. This INFOSITE will help establish basic collecting guidelines for collecting most pieces and sets. Many of the available GIJoe collecting guides are very light on details but this website will focus on the details. This INFOSITE will keep it as simple as possible here online without sacrificing the important details and without the restrictions of the cost of publishing a book. There may be a book to be written or even an E-Book but that will have to wait until I can organize all of the information here online.
After all of the GIJoe books that have been made there is no database of everything ever made. There are no checklists for collectors to use to see how close or far away they are from having a complete collection. There is no concise grading guide for anything vintage either. This has always been a frustration for me and I have spent many hours making my own lists and figuring out how to tell if something was mint or not. I have collected a great many things besides old GIJoes. I started collecting coins and stamps at an early age. Those hobbies are very nice and neat with very inexpensive books and guides to show you every single item ever made and how much each is worth. It is about time someone developed the same tools for collectors of vintage GIJoe. The database, checklists and grading guidelines I present on this website will help organize your collection and hopefully make your hobby time more enjoyable.
Many vintage GIJoe collecting problems come from being able to know if a particular piece is a genuine GIJoe item or one of the millions of knock-offs made at the same time. Sure, these knock offs are vintage and it is also true they are accessories made for GIJoe. BUT, to a purist collector these items are NOT made by Hasbro in 1964 through 1969 and therefore NOT real vintage GIJoe accessories. Many of the old brochures had a slogan on them which said "Insist on Authentic GIJoe equipment". Hopefully you will continue to do the same with your vintage GIJoe collection today. The quality of true GIJoe by Hasbro items are far superior to the inexpensive knock off brands. The molding is crisper, the painting is cleaner, the material is heavier, the elastic is useable and stretchy, the plastics lenses are see through, the plastic is much stronger; everything made by Hasbro was better. 50 year old elastic holding the arms together still works and 45 year old talker mechanisms still belt out clear crisp commands. Collecting only true vintage GIJoe by Hasbro will keep you collecting much longer than if you were just an Action figure collector.
HOW THIS WEBSITE WORKS
Every page on this website was designed simply so it will be quick and easy to load in your browser. If you drew a diagram of the whole website it would look like a bicycle wheel. The main page is the center hub. At the bottom of every page of the site you will find a link back to this first page or center hub of the website to help keep you from getting stranded several layers inside the site. Each link on the main and subsequent pages will be like traveling down the spoke out to the rim and tire of this wheel. Some of these spokes/linked pages will have links directly to other important spokes/linked pages. As these links cross over each other you will always have a choice if you want to follow that side path or go back to the main page to start over. Linked pages are highlighted in RED on every page. Each visited link should turn green so you will know if you have already been to that page. Click on these highlighted RED words to go to the listed/linked section. Some sections are listed but not active yet. This site will be updated as often as possible so please put the main page in your favorite places list and come back often!
BACK TO THE FIRST PAGE OF THE GIJOE INFOSITE
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2014