GI Joe action figures were once all the rage. They came with vehicles and accessories, and went through many stages in manufacturing and marketing throughout the action figure’s reign at the top of the boy’s toy market. In the 80’s a cartoon about the GI Joe team was aired, along with a comic book series and the most recent toy line, with their accompanying vehicles. Many readers might recall the GI Joe action figure line from this time period. You may even still have the popular toys in your attic, still.
If that is the case, then you may have a gold mine. GI Joe action figures, along with similar toys like the Transformers, Go-Bots and Secret Wars Super Heroes, have experienced a tremendous collector’s renaissance lately, outpacing collectibles like comic books and even magazines like Playboy. It has become apparent with sites like eBay that adults are willing to pay to regain some small part of their childhood, and the prices are on the rise. GI Joe action figures, still in the box, sell for exorbitant amounts on the popular auction site, and there is still plenty of profit to be had.
But how does one break into the lucrative action figure resale market? And how do you keep from getting burned by unscrupulous buyers and sellers? Trading safely on eBay requires special consideration, as the action figure market is a busy world. To safely buy and sell your GI Joe action figures, there are a few rules to follow.
Obviously, check seller feedback for bad feedback. This is common knowledge to most users. When you look for toys to resell, always look for lots, as they are generally a much better value. You will notice some that are just in a big pile of action figures, legs and arms akimbo. These generally get the least competition, as it is hard to see what is actually for sale. Auctions without photos are also highly undervalued, although you should be somewhat leery here, as no photo equates to a blind purchase. Nonetheless, you can get your GI Joe action figures in lots very cheaply from eBay this way.
Keep track of which action figures are in great demand, as it will assist you in knowing which lots to look at. The high demand action figures are the same as they were in the 80s; All the ninjas and martial artists are the most popular, such as Snake-Eyes, Stormshadow, Quick Kick, Spirit and even Firefly, followed by Destro, Cobra Commander and Zartan. The popularity and price begins to wane with characters like Roadblock and other, less unique characters, like Gung-Ho and Rock n Roll, but demand does still exist, so make your purchases carefully if you intend to turn a profit.
Naturally, getting GI Joe action figures that are still in the box is the most desirable purchase to make, as they have the highest resale value. Unfortunately, these are also the hardest to get, bringing upwards of five to ten times what an open action figure brings. However, if you are patient, you can find these still in the box GI Joes for cheap and snatch them up, if you are lucky.
Once you attain some level of inventory, you will naturally want to sell your GI Joe action figures for a profit, right back on eBay. The trick here is a little deeper than buy low, sell high. Presentation goes a long way, and to get a good presentation, you will need an excellent photo. The best photo is an extreme closeup in good light, with the camera in focus.
Use contrasting colors in your backdrop to bring out the GI Joe action figure’s features and detail. Don’t forget to get the accessories in the shot. Swords, guns, pets, and other GI Joe accessories all are sought after along with the GI Joe action figure, never exclude them from your photos. Once you have what you feel is a perfect photo, try to get it critiqued by whoever is around. You want to achieve absolute perfection, as a good photo is more important even than good feedback.
Once you have your perfect photo, use the same exact procedure to photograph the rest of your GI Joe action figures, remembering to alternate contrasting backgrounds for each color GI JOE. After you have your photos taken and upload them to eBay, you are ready for your ad copy. Be descriptive, give a history of the item and it’s condition. Target your buyout and reserve at around the resale value and post multiple photos for each figure. Never take photos of more than one figure at a time, and never sell more than one at a time. No sense competing against yourself. Try to post your auction when there is the least GI Joe action figures for sale as possible.
Once the sale is conducted, use PayPal to conduct the transaction, taking care to use an escrow account until the action figures arrive at their destination. A little common sense will protect you from rip offs. Once you get the hang of it, you will be hipdeep in either GI Joes or money, whichever you prefer.