It Happened Again! Relative Finds and Returns 7 Boxes of Childhood G.I. Joes to Original Owner

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Not just one, mind you, but FOUR minty, 1960s 5-Star Jeeps were recently returned to their original owner, Tim Hubbell of Ohio, after being stored in an attic for over 40 years. (Photo: Tim Hubbell)

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Administrative Pastor Tim Hubbell (OH), was recently reunited with his original childhood collection of 1960s-70s GIjOEs. (Photo: Tim Hubbell)

“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…

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This closeup of some of Tim’s “originals” reveals one minty ATV, complete with winch, crank and hook, two yellow AT Copters and some sort of “flat-pontooned” Capture Copter. (Photo: Tim Hubbell)

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Imagine digging through a childhood treasure trove of FOUR footlockers full of old gear and uniforms. What FUN! (Photo: Tim Hubbell)

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:

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Four more tubs full of gear wait to identified.
(Photo: Tim Hubbell)

“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.

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Tim’s “Dirty Dozen” original figures are all vintage, and include at least one bearded Adventure Team member. Imagine being reunited with your 12 original GIjOEs. WOW! (Photo: Tim Hubbell)

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This closeup of one of Tim’s four 5-Star Jeeps, shows that it has already been customized into a medic Jeep. Superb! (Photo: Tim Hubbell)

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!

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7 thoughts on “It Happened Again! Relative Finds and Returns 7 Boxes of Childhood G.I. Joes to Original Owner

  1. Bruce Miller says:

    I was fortunate that I had thought to keep most of my Joes from my childhood plus my brothers that I had the foresight to pay him $14 for. I lost my very first Joe, a blonde painted head Marine. I searched high and low for him as a kid and all I found was his foot. In college I picked up a few Joes at the Flea Market and garage sales because I thought they might be worth something, some day (I made sure they quickly went home and put them in the box with the others. Lest, some one see them in my dorm room.) 23 years ago, I took my old Joes out of storage and I began collecting Joes in earnest> In the interim, I found out that the world had discovered GI Joe collecting and the price of Joes had sky rocketed. I went back to my childhood home and searched top to bottom, in the basement, back of closets and in junk drawers looking for lost Joe stuff. All I found was a part to a shoulder holster. I had the the other part in with my Joes and with a little scotch tape the parts were reunited and back on my Joe today. This story of a “KId” being reunited with his childhood Joes warms my heart and gives me hope that my long lost Marine may just limp home some day and be reunited with his foot. A foot that has an honored place on shelf along with the best of the best of my collection.

    • Thanks for your story, Bruce. That foot must drive you crazy sometimes; wishin’ you had the rest of your prized Joe. I hope someday, somehow, they are reunited. 🙂

  2. Matthew Pak says:

    My brother and I shared our first GI Joe, a Sea Adventurer that our uncle bought us. Over the next few years he continued to get more GI Joes and Johnny West but I lost interest, mainly because my brother’s version of playing with his toys was stabbing, breaking and setting fire to them. Years later I started collecting Joe on my own. Our original Sea Adventurer is still displayed on one of my shelves, he survived mostly intact and has a Black Widow Rendezvous outfit to cover his scars.

  3. Joe Essid says:

    I’m delighted at this story. My mom never tossed my Joes; save for two of them, which I still have, they went to my nephews, who played with them for many years until they finally were tossed.

  4. Arturo sauceda says:

    Will you trade 55 gijoes for the vehicles? I’m just 13 and collecting go joes. I need some vehicles for my regular gi joes and I was asking. If you are interested, please contact me at 972-598-3668. Thank you for your time.

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