Saturday, December 29, 2007

Top 10 Rarest Joe Figures

Most new collectors start in the hobby with the same questions. The one that is most often asked is, "what figure is the rarest?". There is no easy answer and just about every collector will respond differently. However, most seasoned veterans will be able to give at least a few common figures, if they are allowed some leeway. I put together this list based on the figures I have had the most trouble finding, listening to what other collectors are after, and how often I see a particular figure for sale. The results are unscientific at best. Of important note, though, is that I do not necessarily equate price to rarity. There are many, many figures that are expensive, but are very easy to find. There are also some figures that are nearly impossible to track down, but, when you find them, they are very cheap. G.I. Joe is not like other toy lines in that there is some "Holy Grail".

This list ranks mint and complete figures. As such, you might see some items that seem easy to find, but they have a hard to find accessory or are impossible to find in mint condition. This list incorporates both foreign and unreleased Joe figures that have been publically discussed. I'll be frank: there are several Joe figures that are rarer than just about anything on this list but they are not listed because those who own them have not yet made their findings public. If the owners give the rare figure a "coming-out" party, then they will make this list. Until then, they will not appear here.

I'm sure many will disagree with what is listed here and there really isn't any definitive list of the rarest figures. For all I know, tomorrow, someone will find a warehouse of 1000 blue Hawks from India. So, the list is fluid based on what's happening in the collecting world at the time. So, here it is. Feel free to argue away.

No. Year Figure Comments
1. 1986(est.) Venezuelan Exclusives This list includes the white Cobra Mortal and the other Venezuelan exclusive versions of his Argentine contemporaries. The white Mortal is the most distinctive Venezuelan figure and is the one that gets the most press. At this time, though, the White Mortal is also the most common of the figures. But, they are all lumped together here since there are only a few of each figure known in the US at this time.
2. 1998 Unproduced Desert HQ Figures These three figures: Outback, Dial Tone and Pathfinder were intended for release in 1998. There are less than half a dozen sets known to exist and Dial Tone is the rarest of the 3. These figures rarely appear for sale in even the highest markets.
3. 1992 (est.) Blue Hawk This Funskool figure is incredibly rare and only a few are currently known to exist. The Hawk was only available with a vehicle and few made it out of India.
4. 1995 Unproduced Battle Corps Rangers These figures only exist as resin prototypes, though a few are handpainted. This series includes: Baroness, Dr. Mindbender, Flint and Footloose. Around a half dozen of each are known to exist at this time.
5. 1992 (est.) 1st Series Funskool Repaints The first series of Funskool figures featured some unique repaints. Among them are the blue Major Bludd, blue Short Fuse, Red Stalker, Clutch and Emerald Zap. These figures are easier to find than the blue Hawk, but still appear very rarely. Some are easier to find than others and most of these have been found carded.
6. 1986 (est.) 2nd Series Argentine Figures This is the most well known rare figure subset. It includes: Cobra Mortal, Glenda, Manleh, Shimik, Topson and Redmack. A few years ago, these were pretty much impossible to find. But, a few Argentine collectors managed to bring several dozen of each of these figures to the US. Today, they are still pricey, but not as rare as they once were. Don't get fooled by the "Argen 7" nonsense that's out there. There are 6 figures in this series. Some are easier to find than others (Manleh is probably the toughest to find.) but they all get a special denotation as they are so intertwined.
8. 1995 Ninja Commandos There are 2 ways to get Ninja Commandos: either as resin prototypes or as full production figures. There are very few of each. As these are ninjas, they aren't as popular as some other unproduced concepts. But, they are very hard to find in either form.
9. 2004(est.) Unproduced Alternate Asian Figures In 2004, a slew of unproduced alternate color scheme figures started appearing out of Asia. Some of these (alternate white pants Night Force) are very easy to find. Others (Tiger Force Steel Brigade) are very difficult. This group that is rare includes the dark blue Anti-Venom figures, the aforementioned Steel Brigade, the alternate Desert Patrol figures, removable helmet Cobra Infanty, the Alternate Convention Dreadnoks, alternate Convention Gung Ho and Dragonsky and a few other new sculpt figures. Each of these has unique rarity, but the harder ones all tend to exist in about the same quantities.
10. 1997 Pimp Daddy Destro The most over-hyped figure of all time actually isn't that hard to find. Several dozen PDD's are known to exist in the collecting community and it is believed there are hundreds more still in Asia just waiting to be discovered.

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