Toy Hunt: A G.I. Joe Rummage Drama

This summer I’ve managed to find a few big G.I. Joe scores via the magic of Craigslist. My most recent find was a pretty damned good one. So good that I thought I’d brag it up!

For the last few months I looked on Craigslist about once per week in the garage sale section for the keywords “G.I. Joe” and “GI Joe”. I had gotten sick of going to rummage sale after rummage sale finding nothing but baby clothes and junk. At least by trying different keywords on Craigslist I had some hope of finding something decent. This time I came across a listing that was intriguing. Almost all the items listed were baby clothes and the toys in the pictures were all baby toys. This is never a good sign, because it gives you an idea that the kids will be far too young to have anything of interest for the serious toy collector.  “G.I. Joe” in the listing could have been anything G.I. Joe made since the 1960s, more likely something from the last couple of years. However, this image got my collector’s itch going:


Is that treasure amongst all the junk?

I’ve circled my only big lead here. The image size is the same size I was working with and unfortunately “zoom and enhance” doesn’t exist, despite my repeated attempts at ordering my computer to do so. The thing on the box looked sort of like the first G.I. Joe headquarters, but never having seen one in real life, I wasn’t sure. I consulted my copy of The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994 by Mark Bellomo and… what do you know, it looked a lot like it if one were to squint real hard.

Now came the hard decision. The item which may or may not have been the G.I. Joe headquarters was about 30 minutes away, so it could be a long gas guzzling drive for nothing. If my hunch paid out though, this could be a decent haul. I consider the earlier years of G.I. Joe to be some of the best (like any sane person), so the first Joe HQ could mean great things.

Aside from the mystery of what might or might not be there, I was also against the clock!  The rummage started at 8 am and it was already 10:00 am, that’s like half a lifetime in the rummage sale world. So many questions were dancing in my head. Was it what I thought it was? If it was, did it have most of it’s pieces or was it a pile of junk? What else could be there? And the most important question, was it already sold?!

I knew what I had to do, I had to get in my car and race to check it out. And this is what I found:


A big pile of awesome. What I found was amazing. Nearly all the vehicles were in mint condition, they all came with a vehicle driver, the blueprints (except headquarters), and I got an extra Cobra Commander and Scrap Iron (with file cards!). The prices were a tad higher than an early rummage sale find I had this year (I paid about a dollar a piece for each vehicle in that one), but the quality was much higher here. I made an offer of 20 bucks less than the total, they accepted, and I walked away with some sweet G.I. Joe action.

My only issue is that the idiots used masking tape for the prices and taping baggies to the vehicles, so now I have to purchase some Goo Gone and hope it comes off okay.

For all my toy nerd friends here’s what I got broken down individually:


  • G.I. Joe HQ Command Center
  • VAMP
  • Polar Battle Bear
  • F.A.N.G
  • FLAK Cannon
  • HAL cannon
  • Pack Rat
  • Cobra CLAW
  • Cobra ASP
  • Slugger
  • Dragonfly
  • Missile defense unit
  • Twin battle gun: Whirlwind
  • JUMP Station
  • Machine gun defense unit
  • HISS tank V1


  • HISS Driver
  • Rock ‘N Roll – V1 straight arms
  • Clutch – V1 straight arms
  • Scrap Iron
  • Cobra Commander – V1 swivel arms
  • Grand Slam
  • Thunder
  • Wild Bill
  • Steeler
  • Nice haul. Nice indeed. You don’t know how lucky you were to find that after 10 AM!

  • Lamar the Revenger

    Everytime I see it, the more jealous I get. Lucky freakin bugger.

  • ”RAVEN”

    ”WHAT!-No Cobra Terror Drome, Defiant Space Launch Complex, U.S.S. Flagg Aircraft Carrier or even the ever popular ,1986 COBRA NIGHT RAVEN S3P BLACK V.I.P.JET TRANSPORT PLANE?”