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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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G.I. Joe Action Fighter Pilot Action Figure (top row, center) sold for $5,750 at auction. Photo courtesy of Christie's East
"To judge from the ratings, it seems fair to say that nothing is more appealing, seductive or entertaining than violence,” said author Joanne Oppenheim in her book “Buy Me Buy Me.”

"In 1985 five of the six hottest shows and toys revolved around violence; Transformers, Masters of the Universe, Gobots, Voltron, and G.I. Joe, she added."

Toy manufacturers couldn’t keep up with the demand. In two years, war-toy sales increased by 350 percent. G I. Joe was a super-star.

No wonder he would emerge from the toy box as a force on the auction block.

Toy makers have steadfastly defended G.I. Joe, not as a war toy, but a "defender of the peace." G.I. Joe, the first and most classic action figure, was introduced by Hasbro in 1964 and remains to this day one of the most successful toys ever produced.

Hasbro's design team went to great lengths to create the world's first "action figure" consisting of 21 moving parts and lifelike hair. The name G.I. Joe came from the title role in the 1945 movie “The Story of G.I. Joe” staring Burgess Meredith and Robert Mitchum.

Today, more than half a million figures and vehicles have been sold worldwide. G.I. Joe has become a big collector's item with fans paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for the diverse G.I. Joe line.

In addition to action figures, other G.I. Joe items featured in the Aug. 19, 1994, sale at Christie's East in New York included art from G.I. Joe cartoons, blue-prints, figure sketches and an assortment of models used in G.I. Joe television commercials.

The original line of G.I. Joe dolls consisted of one male action figure for each branch of the military service. Their outfits resembled uniforms from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

G.I. Joe was a cross-cultural guy too. In 1965 the black figure was introduced, and in 1967 the female nurse and Talking G.I. Joe came into being.

He was also hip. The flocked hair and bearded model appeared in 1970.

Since millions were made, scarcity is not a problem. Condition is the important factor. Also, the manufacturing dates of the dolls are important, and the accessory outfits can be as valuable as the dolls. Mint condition, which includes packaging and any paper inserts are what collectors look for.

The highlight of the G.I. Joe auction was a one-of-a-kind action fighter pilot produced by Hasbro. The doll appeared as a result of an employee contest to create a figure to celebrate the 30th anniversary of G.I. Joe. The doll sold for $5,750.

"One of a kind pieces (like this) were examples of the kind of pieces that collectors were eager to add to their collections," said Timothy Luke, Christie's collectibles specialist.

A talking G.I. Joe Adventure Pack that included the talking soldier, jacket, pants, combat boots, fatigue hat, 45-caliber pistol, etc., brought $920. Most items sold in the $100-$500 range.

Q. Enclosed is a tracing of a Wedgwood china coffee pot. The pattern is Angela. Any information you can provide me on this pattern would be appreciated? Judith Moss, Pittsburgh.

A. Wedgwood dinnerware is very popular. It was made and widely exported from England in every conceivable form. You can find it almost anywhere.

Since 1759 the English Company produced dinner services, tea sets, busts, vases, cigar holders, calendar tiles, you-name-it.

The light but strong earthenware first produced by Josiah Wedgwood resembles fine porcelain. This is what makes it so popular. As you would expect, the older pieces are the most desirable.

The Angela pattern was first produced in 1980, and is what the Wedgwood Company calls an active import. That means it is currently being manufactured in England but not stocked in the United States.

The spiral, fluted shaped china can still be ordered through the Wedgwood Company in the United States. Their toll free number is 1-800-677-7860. The company also lists a Consumer Information number for questions regarding Wedgwood china in general. That is 1-800-955-1550.

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