It sat on a clean, white tablecloth, on a large, 6′ table in the middle of the dealer’s showroom of 2012’s Joelanta. Yet fans walked quickly past it all day as if it was invisible. Few even glanced down at it. Little did they know they had just walked past probably the rarest of all GIjOE packages.
When YOU think of the “rarest” of GIjOE boxes or packages, what typically comes to your mind? Forget the toys, we’re just talking about boxes and packaging now. Is it the Big Trapper? That’s a tough box to find. Or the exotic, Desert Patrol Jeep? Maybe the GIjane Nurse window box? Now that’s a rare one! Where would you find one of those today?
But the rarest of all GIjOE boxes has to be one that was never meant to be seen by the public. Something only used to store and stack products in a large warehouse setting for a short period, before being thrown out and destroyed, all out of sight of the public eye. Indeed, such packages were long ago consigned to a community landfill, where they’re now buried deep beneath tons of garbage, never again to see the light of day.
You may not realize it, but the rarest of all GIjOE packaging is the simple, unassuming, cardboard “carrier box” you see above. It’s lackluster appearance and “below-the radar” purpose are the exact reasons for its rarity today. Originally, this simple box was used to support a set of four Masterpiece Edition GIjOE book and figure sets. It enabled store employees to stack up the sets, carry them securely and prevent them from falling over. That’s <yawn!> what they did.
After use, all of these bases were destroyed. They were never meant to be kept—EVER—by anyone. If not for dedicated GIjOE fan and collector, Dennis Widner, we probably wouldn’t even know they ever existed. (Editor’s note: Widner was a subject of a previous post on The Joe Report.) Thankfully, Widner rescued this one example from its fate with a crusher. According to Dennis…
“When I went to Sam’s Club many years ago, there were stacks of Masterpiece Joes. I noticed they were packed in the cardboard carriers you see in the picture. I just thought it was a necessity, as part of my collection, to have every service branch of GIjOE held in this nice, tidy, stenciled cardboard carrier. I know it’s nothing special to many people, but I think it’s really cool to have!”
So do we, Dennis. Although it’s easy to understand why many GIjOE collectors won’t give this simple cardboard box a second thought. “C’mon, it’s just a piece of cardboard, dude!” That’s true. But in reality, there are a lot of fans who would literally jump at the chance to own this item. To die-hard Joheads, it’s one more intriguing piece of the fascinating history of GIjOE.