International Market Report

The following commentaries revolve around a global sales outlook of G.I. Joes.   This is a loose and open forum to report anything related to the Joe market.   This section was inspired by general thoughts revolving around my expertise as being the author of an International G.I. Joe book.  Got some thoughts on the subject and want to express you opinion on the international sales market?  Submit your Market Report HERE.

Market Commentaries

One year after publishing my book (08-10-05)   
 I have taken time off from doing these commentaries since I had a platform to write in my book.  Since then, there have been a few changes in the market that should be recognized.  Argentina items are slowly drying up, and will eventually gain the respect they deserve once the flood is no longer felt.  Prices for the Ninja Ku and Satan are back in the 80.00 to 100.00 in some places, while others like Sgt Slaughter will probably never get out of the gutter at 5.00+/-.  Brazil Forca Eco figures appear to be going super cheap.  Biologico and Biosfera are dragging that whole series down as those two appear to be everywhere.  Corrosao is still the hardest to find and would even warrant a price increase since people are now searching to complete their sets.  Forca Fera are also back to their pre-flood price levels.  European markets seem to have a steady flow of figures just enough to meet demand. It is actually a perfect mix of making people happy as well as maintain their value.  However, it appears the early exclusive vehicles are getting much easier to acquire as eBay expands their reach.  One place where is still a black hole....India.  Internet use is still in the single digits and that isn't going to change soon.  Between that, and the devastating Tsunami in December, there are more important matters than plastic toys.  Mexico products are holding very well.  Still extremely hard to find the boxed figures which should see an increase in value across the board.  - Ron Conner

Why call them "the Argen 7"? (08-20-03)   

 The term "Argentine 7" (or Argen 7 for short) is being used more and more to describe 7 hard to find figures that came out from Plastirama. These figures include : Manleh, Mortal, Shimik, Topson, Redmack, Glenda, and Invasor.  Ok, I can see how the first 6 are in there, but why just add 1 more and include the Invasor from Series 1?  I have to disagree with this inclusion and we should keep it to just 6 figures from the Second series. 

 Each series is in a class by itself.  All the figures in each series should be equally packed in the case.  Granted, there might have been a slim chance that a certain figure could have been short packed.  But most of the short packing of today is happening deliberately by toy companies.  This creates a "chase figure" and increase hype and we see an immediate jump in the price guide for this item.  Anyways, the "Argen 7" is made of all 6 figures from the second series release and one figure from series 1 (Invasor).  Ok, we all know that the Argentina 2nd series is very hard to find in comparison to all other series.  So why pick one figure from series one?  The Invasor is not suppose to be any rarer than the Scarlett, Zap, Stalker or any other figure from Series 1.  Perhaps its becuase the Invasor is harder to find in nice shape becuase the Invasor logo gets rubbed off easily.  Well have you ever tried to find a Series 1 straight arm Zap with both thumbs intact?   Perhaps the Invasor is picked because it is a rare Argentina exclusive.  Well there is more than one character that has proven to be hard to find.  Finding a complete straight arm Tan Zap from the early release Falcon glider seems equally as difficult to find.   I have actually seen more Invasors lately than exclusive Backstops with the Blowtorch mold.  

So to close, I pose a question.  Should we now add these other hard to find figures and make the term, the "Argen 10" least that rhymes.   But where do we stop?   Honestly,  there is no way draw the line once you allow the Invasor in with the truly rare "Argentine 2nd Series".   Let's leave it to 6 ...the entire Plastirama 2nd series.   - Ron Conner

How much is it worth? (09-05-02)  

 Worst Case Scenario: Your girlfriend is pregnant, your parents kick you out of the house, you get fired from Burger World and your dog dies, all in the same week.  You need money fast.  So you consider the unthinkable....sell your collection.  Next you crack open the price guide and start listing your stuff for sale.  But can you get straight book value for your stuff?  Or will you have to take something less?  Well, everything has a value of some kind.   

 Values go up and down according to how much the seller and buyer wish to agree on a price.  Selling toys is like selling anything else.  But let us take selling cars for an example.  A car dealer just received from the factory a new and very rare car.   Naturally, the dealer will want to cover his vehicle cost, and operating expense totaling 30,000.   He then considers its rarity and condition. He puts the  manufacture suggested retail price (MSRP) and marks it up 20,000.  So now the "POTENTIAL VALUE"  is 50,000.  This price is in line with other dealers and is accepted by almost everyone as a fair price.  But there are only a very small amount of people who can afford to purchase this car.  Most people can find a less expensive car that fits their needs. Yes, everyone likes the car and wishes they had enough money to buy it.  But the simple fact is, they don't have enough money available to spend on this very exotic car.   So the dealer has two choices.  This seller can either hold the expensive car for a long enough time until he finds someone who can afford to pay the 50,000 price tag.  Or he will agree to take the best offer on the car as long as it covers his expense.  He could then sell the car today and make some money now instead of waiting.   In the simplest form: All car and collectibles are only worth what the person is willing to pay (or can afford).   The car is "WORTH" 50,000, but the dealer can only find people that can afford up to 40,000.  Then he can either wait till someone has his asking price, or sell the car for 40,000.  Thus creating an "ACTUAL TRUE VALUE", of 40,000 for the car. 

To further break down this scenario, here is a basic example of what amount of people could spend on this rare car:
50,000 = Almost no one can afford ( very, very few)
40,000 = A few could afford
30,000 = Several could afford
20,000 = Most could afford
10,000 = Almost everyone could afford
        So which choice would you choose in selling this car?  Sell now and get some profit, or be in the position to wait and try to get the full potential value?  When you answer this question, you will then realize how the world of selling Joes works.  If you hold out long enough, you will get full book value, or more for your items.  But keep in mind, most people aren't willing to pay full book.

India G.I. Joes -  The ups and down of Funskool Joes. (06/12/02)

Part 1, "Help or Hurt":  India has stood out from the rest of the G.I. Joe producing countries for several reasons.  Mainly because they are currently producing Joes for their own country.  They also help support overseas markets.  So Funskool is doing well and are not going to stop production anytime soon.  But are the Funskool figures helping the U.S. market?  Most would say yes, and others say no. The "yes" answers seem obvious as they give collectors a chance to buy cheap figures at a fraction of the American price.  I am happy for that because I have done it myself.  But I want you to consider the two-edged sword effect?  With the recent release of Airtight, Ripper, and Flint, these figures are being substituted in place of the more expensive American Joes.  Thus the interest ( and price ) will drop on the American version due to the flood of similar product.  Granted, they will still have their place in a carded collection, the people who just collect to play will no longer be willing to pay more for at these.  Another related concern is for collectors of older India figures.   The new Ripper, Beach Head and Airtight "2002 productions" appear to be identical to the original India release about a decade ago.  Even the cardback are the same.  The only real way to tell is the date code stamped into the back of the card.  But I doubt anyone cares to pay more for an older carded version if they appear to be the same figure and card.  The good thing is, I doubt the extreme variations like the Blue Hawk or Red Stalker will ever be copied.  We will see what the future holds.   It is something to keep in mind the next time you buy a vintage peice and hope to make a return on your investment. - Ron Conner

Part 2, "Love or Hate":  Funskool has a "spit appeal" among collectors.  Some collectors would pay good prices for a rare item, but some would not touch the stuff.  Some people accept them, others don't accept them for any of these reasons I have heard :  cheap thin cards, cheap thin bubbles, uneven paint masking/schemes, wacky repaint neon colors, and for the old rumor that Funskool used lead paint.  The newest reason was a humanitarian reason.  I heard the possibility of a poverty labor work force.  Very possible seeing that India is one of the fastest growing population in the world. So the work force is massive and still growing rapidly.  Some would say the "evidence" is in the cheap wholesale cost of these figures under 1.20 each.  So factory direct cost must be even lower.  How can they sell them that cheap?  One internet source claims that Chap Mei's Soldier Force ( knock off 3-3/4 Joes) was caught using child sweat shops for the construction of their toys. Either way, we do not know for sure what Funskool is doing with their work force or if it is even illegal.  Just another thing to think about in your decision to collect Funskool Joes.  In closing, Funskool is not on an even quality scale with other International G.I. Joe countries due to a tainted reputation over the years.  My hope is for a quality product at a reasonable price. Even if it cost me more to buy it.   The topic is still debatable, but as long as Funskool is making money, we will continue to see more India Joes.


Growing World Wide Community Leads to more Joes. (02/03/02)

If  you sit back and think, we would not be half as advance in our collecting if we did not have a computer.  The fact that you are on-line and reading this commentary is proof of that.  I have been collecting an trading for over 18 years.  In that time, most of it has been without a computer.  I never even knew international variation Joes existed before the computer.  I just thought they were the same color and quality.  I was only accustom to the limited trade magazines like Toy Shop and Collectible Toy Values which feed the underground toy collecting community.  Now with the internet, the entire hobby has expanded to gigantic proportions.  The community grew up when introduced to the internet.  With the majority of the families in the United State having a computer , the US is teeming with toy trading fever.  Now on to my point of all this.  We are blessed to have lesser industrialize countries catch up with the rest of the world.  We are seeing collectors pop up in all corners of the globe.  Just last month I was offered a Mint on Card  Cobra De Aco from guy in Brazil.  I never thought  I would have seen another.  After further consideration,  I think we have just broke the tip of the iceberg.  There are more gold mines to be found.  It is only a matter of time before these international collectors get on-line service and introduce their jewels to the G.I. Joe collecting community.  And I know many of you will be right there with cash in hand ready to buy them up.  - Ron Conner


Market Flooded with International Joes? (07/23/01)

Part 1:  I have been waiting a little while to see if this title was appropriate, but it seen it is true.  My contact in Buenos Aires, Argentina has confirmed that a warehouse of carded SWIVEL ARM Joes was opened up and is selling to the public.  This building was full of carded Joes in various conditions.  Most cards were damaged due to moisture.  Over time the cards have warped and the bubbles are separated or cracked.  So the anything under C7 condition has dropped in value.  Remember, our price guide issues values for cards in C8 condition, but even these values have been effected.  There is one major exporter that has been supplying the U.S. with hundreds of carded Joes produced AFTER THE SECOND SERIES.  I can not stress enough that the straight arm Joes are still ultra rare.  Do not assume all Argentina Joes are easy to find.  This is a perfect time for anyone who would like to break into the International market.  The prices will not be this low again.  My source told me the warehouse is already sold out of  the Ninjas and TNT's.  So pick them up now.  You should be able to pick up a cared Destro, Ripcord, or Airborne for around 10.00 a piece. The 3 ninjas and Sparta seem to have been least effected by the flood.  You will still pay around 30.00 - 50.00 for them.     - Ron Conner

Part 2 :   India is still producing more new G.I. Joe repaints.  The newest wave consists of General Hawk with Jet pack and the Crimson Guard Immortal!  They are being distributed through several toy companies in the U.S.  This puts a damper on short term values of series 5 through 10.  But it does give everyone a chance to afford some nice international repaints.   Happy hunting! - Ron Conner


Release of New Joes Spells Mixed Results. (05/14/2001)

 No doubt, G.I. Joe is going strong again in the toy stores.  These repainted figures have sparked the interest of a many people seeking nostalgia.  New collectors are just people who played with Joes in there youth.  The collector's age mostly ranges between 20 to 30 years old.  Many are starting to have kids of their own.  Thus passing on the 3 and 3/4" play time tradition as our fathers had done with the 12" Joes.

This strong  market has created record prices for American Joes.   There is now some evidence of the fever spreading into the International toy market.  However this excitement will be a delayed reaction to the U.S. toys.  Let me explain.  A new collector is after what he is familiar with.  Duke, Scarlett, Cobra Commander are a few that have been highly sought after by new collectors.  Once these familiar items are bought, next they will venture into things that the collector was not able to afford when he ( or she ) was a youth.  Now these collectors have a job to help support their new collecting habits.  Soon they will run out of, or get bored with American Joes to collect.  Thus they will seek the International realm.  Expect them to raid this aspect of collecting  in a few months.   So buy International stuff now before the rush.  - Ron Conner


History Teaches Us Of a Possible Future.  (03/02/2001)

 I know the last commentary on "The Economy Effects "was a little negative.  I promise this will be the last message I preach of "Doom  and Gloom" for a while. 

 History serves as a warning to all speculating investors out there looking to capitalize on the great success the toy market has had over the years.  One should maintain a wide range of collectibles to keep from going under when one market crashes.  Ask any Pokemon dealer.  Most are hating life right now.  The good news is, another collectors market will take over.  Unfortunately, toys may be next to take the fall. The history of collectibles has left a long path of destruction in its wake.  First Stamps dropped, then Base Ball Cards, then Comics, now the toy market may have a huge target on its chest.  Star Wars toys have been on the slide since EP1.   Couple that  with many new small toy companies fighting for the same collector's dollar.  Open up any toy magazine and look at the wonderful diversity of toys.  But remember what happened to the multiple base ball card and comic book companies.  Ultimately they ended up killing each other off and the market along with them.  So enjoy the great range of toys out there to invest in,  but be prepared when circle of live comes knocking your door. - by Ron Conner


How the Economy effects toy collectibles -   (01/21/2001) 

Part 1: Higher-end collectibles are getting harder to sell at a premium price.  They still get sold.  However, record breaking prices seem to be subsiding.  The "new collector" either does not know or does not care about rare international figures or prototypes.  It is the die-hard collectors that know how scarce they are.  These collectors are the only ones driving the high-end toy market.  There is still enough of them out there to generate a decent market.  Speculators are gone just like in the comic market after 1994.  Who or what is to blame?  Some say the SW Episode 1 glut of product was the beginning of the turmoil in the marketplace.

 The economy has been great  in the U.S. for  over 6 years.  But that can not last for long.  Signs are already starting to appear. The stock market is very unpredictable and companies are really slowing down production. E-businesses are feeling the effects the most.  Wide scale lay-offs for many online business not making a profit.  54,000 pink slip were handed out last year  for the "Dot Com" companies .  After Christmas job cuts were announce to be near 100,000 according to Fox News.  Thus, jobs are not as easy to get as they were a year ago. It will have a delayed effect on the collectibles market, but it will still happen. Changing Presidents seems to already had an effect on the country.  With business slowing, there will be less collectors able to pay for their lost childhood memories.  If the economy takes a large downward spiral, you can expect to see more "one of a kind" G.I. Joes offered for sale.  Americans have enjoyed the wave of "easy money", but now must prepare for the wave to break and crash into the shore. - by Ron Conner 

 Part 2 :  If the US market slows down, it will definitely have an effect on the rest of the world.  In fact, the collectibles market in Singapore has slowed down tremendously.  Partially its' because collectors here are buying more from eBay now instead of dealers and toy shops.  Some use eBay prices as guide and ignore the cost of shipping.  They then complain that the toy prices here are too high.  I have stopped running my Sunday market stall for more than a month now.  I'm not sure if I'll return in the foreseeable future. - by Chan Kok Weng, toy dealer in Singapore 

Ranking Project Leads to Ideas (12/04/2000) 

We have seen new higher prices reflecting last month's commentary.  Early Argentina figures have gone up as some of the recent India figures have gone down. Now is the perfect time to fill those holes in your collection. Take a close look at your India Joes.  You might have a variation which brings big bucks from collectors.  Check out the prices for the India Short Fuse or Major Bludd variations.  They both are valued at hundreds of dollars.  These are older India figures, but there might be a few mixed in the lot circulating in today's market.  Prototypes are leaking in from Hong Kong and the Philippines this quarter.  Although these are prototypes for American figures, it shows that the Asian market has released its hold of a few hidden treasures.   We have received some collector's input on our Ranking the Most Rare G.I. Joes drive. The murky waters of International value will start to clear up when you assess both the Price Guide and the Ranking together.  So take a moment to let us know which figures deserve to be ranked with the rarest Joes. - by Ron Conner


The first written observations of International trends  (11/10/2000) 

South American Joes are still king of the collecting world. Early Brazil and Argentina Joes were some of the first produced, thus making them so hard to come by.  No one bothered saving the package like we do today if we ever do open a toy.  Most European repaints are doing well too.  Also, early Australian Joes are doing well under the Action Man name.  There are not many trading on the market, but they go for big bucks when are on the trading table.  On a downward note, newer release India figures are still popping up everywhere more than meeting the demand.  Also, select Argentina figure from series three and newer are starting to trickle in keeping the prices down. All in all, it is a great time to buy G.I. Joe before the crowd comes pouring in.  With the new 2000 line in the stores, it will surely bring new collectors in to the market buying up their once forgotten childhood toys.  - by Ron Conner 

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