“I’m Willing to Sell Damn Near Everything!” Lifelong G.I. Joe Fan Getting Out of the Hobby

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GIjOE fan, Rick Pell, has decided to go where few dare—the “Zero-Collecting Zone!” (Photo: Rick Pell)

We’ve often wondered, both aloud and in print, exactly where, when and how the collecting lives of thousands of diehard GIjOE fans will ultimately come to an end. Make no mistake, in another 30 years or so, the number of faithful “Joeheads” like yourself, individuals who lovingly remember their childhood connections to GIjOE and thus nostalgically yearn for, actively seek out, collect, and then BUY 1:6 (or 1:18) scale GIjOE action figures—will have dwindled dramatically.

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Who ya’ gunna call? If you’re looking for 12″ GIjOEs, the answer is (sadly) no longer Hasbro.

Hasbro’s already gotten out of the 12″ GIjOE business, openly admitting they’re “ignoring” collectors of 12-inch Joes altogether (see HERE) and have little plans to sew seeds towards any future 1:6 scale fandom. Having thus turned their collective corporate backs on thousands (millions?) of “12-inchers,” any future Hasbro GIjOE product is likely to be limited and lackluster, further accelerating the departure of once loyal fans like Rick Pell, who recently declared on Facebook:

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“I’m willing to sell damn near everything G.I. Joe that I have! I want to keep only my childhood stuff and some favorites. LMK if you are looking for anything in particular, and I will try to help you out! I have vintage PH, AT, AM, and tons of 40th and other Hasbro licensed repros! I also have lots of 90s 2000s Hasbro Joes and Dragon, 21st C. Vehicles too! Too much to make a list! PM me with what you are looking for! —Thanks, Rick Pell

Judging by the large number of exclamation points inserted by Rick into his message, we have to believe he’s truly serious and determined in his current efforts to completely divest himself of (nearly) all things GIjOE. How did such a day ever come for Rick? For years now, he’s almost been a one-man-band for Hasbro’s vintage 12-inch action figures. During 2014, Rick went so far as to create an entire Facebook page HERE dedicated to the celebration of the figure’s 50th Anniversary.

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If not for the efforts of the GIjOE Collector’s Club and its 2014 JoeCon, the 50th anniversary of the world’s most popular toy might have passed largely uncelebrated. Here, GIjOE co-creator and ’60s Hasbro icon, Sam Speers, poses with a 50th Anniversary banner in Dallas, TX. (Photo: GIJCC)

Ironically, it wasn’t disappointment with Hasbro’s inaction that prompted Pell’s massive sell-off. Rather, it was the fact that he had simply collected TOO much. He had run out of display and storage space for his GIjOE passion, and selling them was the only solution left. According to Rick:

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“I just have too much stuff! I have a 2 bedroom apartment, rent a 50 by 14 foot garage, and my living room has become my bedroom. I have been overtaken by toys and it is time to refocus! Maybe I’m just getting older and tired of venturing into my Joe Room or garage and finding nice things stashed away that I may NEVER use. Collecting has been fun, but if I haven’t seen something or needed it for 5 years, maybe someone else can enjoy it. I’ve also been out of work for a while and times are tough. AND…I have a grandson on the way. One must rethink one’s destiny—occasionally.”

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Unofficial GIjOE “Rabblerouser,” Rick Pell, stands outside Hasbro’s Worldwide Headquarters building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. (Photo: Rick Pell)

Pell’s reasons for selling his collection may predominantly be due to a lack of space or temporary economic downturn, but we also wondered how the famed Pawtucket “rabblerouser” was affected by Hasbro’s actions—or inactions—during GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. He quickly replied:

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“I was, and still am, discouraged that Hasbro let us all down for the 50th. I have spoken to Hasbro people, off the record, and it was just not going to happen. I spent a lot of personal time and effort hoping to help make it happen. If there was a perpetuation of Joes as we knew them, then yes, I’d still be buying!” 

Is it Possible to “Out Grow” G.I. Joes?

Apparently so. In fact, most collectors, if they’re at all honest with themselves, will remember a time when he (or she) seemed to feel Joes were toys for “little kids,” and that it was time to leave them behind or sell them off at a garage sale. Typically, such “madness” occurs during our transition from childhood to teenager, and it’s only years later that we recognize the insanity of our actions and begin a mad scramble back to “recapture our youth” at flea markets and on eBay.

One such example of this societal and consumer phenomenon is occurring right NOW as we speak in Iowa. Longtime GIjOE collector and father, Rob Menagh, wrote in to tell us about his teenage son, John Menagh (also a Joehead), who’s announced that his own collecting tastes have “evolved” and he’s now ready to begin his own version of “the big sell-off.” According to Rob:

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Is This the End? Former GIjOE collector, John Menagh (left) and his father, Rob Menagh (right) search for gear at the 2009 JoeCon in Kansas City, MO. 7 years later, John has decided to leave his GIjOEs behind in search of more “adult” toys. With John leaving the hobby, does this spell the end of the special “Father-n-Son” moments these two men once enjoyed? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“I have some nasty news…. John has decided to out-grow us. He is looking at newer, more “Adult” toys. So now he’s looking at finding good and loving homes for all of his Joes. I will try to get cracking and learn to use the wife’s camera and get some pictures out there to everyone who might be  interested. He has a large number of WWII Airborne, WWII Marines, some Vietnam-era
figures and a few modern. There are also vehicles, ala 21st century Hummers and Jeeps. I also have some nice Photobucket pics taken when we were playing with our Joes around the house…and out in the backyard…together. <sigh> —Rob Menagh

Bottom Line: John Menagh’s rejection of GIjOE is likely only temporary as he pursues his other, more “adult” interests. Hopefully, he’ll someday realize the error of his ways (HA), return to the hobby and share all-new moments and memories with Joe—and his Dad. Of course, it’s impossible to predict how anyone’s collecting days will actually play out and ultimately end. Hopefully, your hobby decisions won’t be forced upon you because you’ve become ill, laid-off, or otherwise negatively impacted. And regardless of Rick or John’s choices, we’d like to wish them both all the best with wherever their interests (and grandsons) take them in the future. We hope too, that YOUR collecting journey is a long, happy, and fulfilling one. Go, Rick! Go, John! Go, JOE!

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17 thoughts on ““I’m Willing to Sell Damn Near Everything!” Lifelong G.I. Joe Fan Getting Out of the Hobby

  1. George Stepanopolis says:

    Sad

  2. Matthew Pak says:

    I started collecting G.I. Joe in 1977, the year after the 12 inch line died. It didn’t return (in Hall of Fame form) until 1991. So I know what it’s like to collect a “dead” line.

  3. Laura Ostermeyer says:

    I still find a few of the 1990s – 1/6 scale Joes at thrift stores but those are becoming more rare. So far I’ve only found one so far this year. I mostly try and get the Power Team guys from Big Lots when they seem to come out prior to Thanksgiving. Of an interesting note – most of the cashiers over a certain age will call them GI Joes so even though Hasbro may have abandoned ship for the 12″ Joes – the public has not forgotten them!

  4. Terry Stair (KC) says:

    I do not collect for any other reason than I enjoy it. That should be the only reason to collect in my humble view. I do not play well with those who are only about MONEY and BIG profits. So many great Joes and Janes have helped me along the way and when I help someone else get something that makes them happy, it makes me happy. I am not against creating something to sell and bring new life to the hobby and I even like doing it too. My Dr. Quest and Jonny are one example. I am hoping to have some new creations that I am working on to offer soon. Happy Collecting.

  5. Ken says:

    I have reached a point where if someone made me an offer for my 12″ Joe collection ( 350+ figures), I’d sell the lot. I have a good amount of stuff, and I won’t give it away, but if somebody had some dollars in their hands, they’d get all of it.

    There’s a line in the article: ” …collecting was fun…”, no BUYING was fun. Collecting ends up becoming a bit of a PITA because it’s all asset management. All those extra parts, and the figures themselves….space management…..it’s a lot of work, and if the stuff ends up in storage tubs, well……….
    I’ve realized the delusions about “maybe later”. That “later” ain’t gonna happen. Running out of space now, means that the stuff in tubs is going to STAY in tubs.
    Rotating stuff in and out of circulation is a big chore. I know a lot of mouths talks about rotating their displays, but I doubt many really do it. I don’t either, unfortunately.

    I’d still collect toys, but I’d stay with the stuff that is more in line with my current and forecast interests–and 1/6th isn’t really where it’s at right now.

  6. Greg Eaton says:

    I’ll get out of the hobby when they rip the last Joe from my cold dead hands.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I will be posting on my WGAF GI Joe for sale Facebook page. Also taking requests via PM. Thanks, Rick Pell

  8. Stan Koy says:

    Between Rick’s name and the article title, part of me started thinking this was an Onion post! All toy series go through an Ebb and Flow period, as far as Joe goes, we were very blessed to be here for (and in many ways a catalyst to) the return of so much of the Good Old Days when things really started going crazy for us.

    So if we are going through the ebb phase now, I can gladly concede and continue to enjoy hunting at flea markets, garage and estate sales, and prodding my family into a pilgrimage to Joelanta in the next month and a half.

    My collection has never been stable, though-as I lose interest in some pieces or ideas they become the financial resource for the next addition. No marketing plan or toy release from Hasbro would change that.

    Like Rick though, I focus on the key pieces of sentimental value when it comes to these things, and try and focus on the people who this hobby has lead me to, and savoring my time with them and sharing in the imagination. That’s what I did with Joe, and all my toys, when I was a kid. Where Joe takes me is more important than someone making new Joes.

  9. Rainman Red says:

    From time to time we do go through that feeling of giving up and letting go. I have little space for display and have lots of stuff just sitting in crates and bins. Problem is everytime I open those bins to see which I could sell I end up admiring all the different Joes again, and then decide not to sell again. This has been happening for 20 years now

  10. Derek says:

    Ironicly this article came out on my actual birthday. As I get older, my collecting has changed over the years as well. I would be interested in some of Rick Pell’s collection, but sadly, the article left no link to contact him.

  11. Wayne Faucher says:

    I probably have around 300 or so figures myself all told, including a number of customs I’ve created. I also have lots of other toys too. I work at home (comic book artist), so I’m fortunate enough to be around them all day, every day.

    I have no idea (nor do I care) what they’re worth. That’s not why I have them. In fact, that’s the trap in collecting. That’s when it becomes “work.” When I run out of room, I just rotate out the “less cool” guys and get rid of them.

    When I die, I hope my kids take the whole lot and throw them in a dumpster, because they’re value is only how much I enjoy(ed) them. When you think of them that way, it’s pretty simple really.

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