“I’m so excited to get started! My sister recently gave me 10 boxes of my childhood toys that were in storage and I thought long gone. They were full of my 1960s and ’70s GIjOEs and plastic army men! What a treat and a blast from the past!” —Tim Hubbell
The “Holy Grail” for GIjOE Collectors
For GIjOE fans and collectors, the most elusive and highly prized “Holy Grail” of our hobby is being reunited with one’s own childhood GIjOEs. Long ago, when we were children, they were our most valued possessions. But as we became teenagers, most of us shortsightedly sold, or simply threw them away. Now, as adults, we accept the fact that our long-lost “originals” are gone for good and hold little hope of ever seeing them again. But wait just a minute…
Lightning CAN Strike Again
It’s a sad reality that most “original” GIjOE collections are buried and decaying in landfills across the country as we speak. Despite that dismal fact, collections ARE still being found. And surprisingly, the owners of those original collections can often still be identified, thanks in large part to the names they wrote (as children) on footlocker lids and the inside pages of field equipment manuals.
Rarely, almost like folklore, fans will hear tell of one lucky individual to whom the unthinkable has just happened; his original GIjOEs have been found—and returned to him intact! Today, we celebrate the good fortune of one such fan, Tim Hubbell, a former Ohio State Highway Patrol Staff Lieutenant, who is now the Administrative Pastor at Crossroads Church in Lima, Ohio. We asked Tim to tell us about his history with GIjOE and how he managed to be reunited with his childhood “originals.” According to Tim’s Testament:
“I was born in 1961, just prior to GIjOE. I got my first couple of Joes when I was 5 or 6. I collected GIjOEs for the next 6 or 7 years until the girls started to catch my eye. Just prior to girls however, I traded all of my Matchbox cars and Johnny West figures for GIjOEs with all of the neighborhood boys.
At some point and time, my Joes got boxed up by my mother and stored away. Then she moved away and apparently the Joes went with her and got stored in her attic.
After her passing, my sister was sorting through some boxes marked ‘basement’ and found the Joes and all of my green plastic army men and trucks. There were 7 large boxes of Joes and 3 large boxes of Marx and Processed Plastic army men, trucks, tanks etc. What a rush! It has been so much fun and brought back many great memories.
I have enclosed photos of the Joes in all of their “glory” and I am so excited to be reunited with them. Since their discovery, I have been cleaning, repairing, sorting, and ordering missing parts for them. There is still so much to sort through (see the large bins at the rear of the photo). I am interested in trading (or giving away) some of the extra gear. I will also need help identifying some of it.“
The Most Exclusive Joe Club of All
Of course, the chances of this sort of thing happening again are like lightning striking twice in the same place: extremely rare and unlikely. But as Tim’s story proves, it can and DOES still happen. Like lottery winners, the total number of collectors on the roster of this most exclusive “Original GIjOEs Owners Club” (OGOC), is probably only between 100 to 200 worldwide (if that many). They know they’re lucky, and they count their lucky stars for their many Joe-blessings!
Bottom Line: As GIjOE approaches his 50th Anniversary (Hello, Hasbro?), it’s uplifting to know that such discoveries of long-hidden vintage figures can still occur. Fortunately for Tim, there are quite a number of GIjOE fans and collectors living in or near Ohio who can help with any of his vintage identification questions. And if not, the DFW and Joelanta GIjOE shows are both coming up soon. Those would be great places for him to find help as well.
Congratulations again, Tim. And welcome to the ultra-exclusive OGOC!