1984 True Value Catalog Page

In the days before Cyber Monday, there was…um, Catalog Whatever Day. 80s and 90s kids probably remember the big three Christmas catalogs from Wards, Sears and JC Penney, but do you recall the lesser known holiday toy tomes? This one comes to us courtesy of Joe bud Flag Points Dave, and it’s a great flashback to the days when Joes (and other toys) could be found at hardware stores. Looking at this ad, I can almost hear the sonorous voice of Pat Summerall.

The Joe product in this shot remind me of the 1983 line pamphlet’s rocky terrain. I wonder if the designers were inspired by the official Hasbro marketing material. I don’t have any hardware store memories of GI Joes in my area, but I do recall a Handy Dan hardware store that inexplicably still had an Oscar Goldman doll sitting on its shelves when it went out of business in the late 80s. Amazing.

1984 True Value Catalog Page


  • ”Christmas Catalogs, from the bygone 1980’s. Who would have thought that you could still find G.I.Joes in unknown store catalogs , just like the one in the picture above.”

  • Those prices…wow. It makes me feel old to see Joes for 2.99 and He-man figures for 4.99!

    • Is it just me or do those prices make me realize just how much the secondary stores back then were scalping on toys. That seems almost a dollar more each than they should have been in 1984.

      • $2.99 wasn’t really unreasonable for GI Joes back then. Kay-Bee Toys was notorious in their markup. Their GI Joe figure prices weren’t eyepopping because of the lower total price but the higher the price, like on vehicles or boxed Transformers toys, they would add a few bucks onto the price and with even higher priced items, they could take on $10+. They were the worst gougers according to pricetag archaeology (i.e. internet images of boxed, carded figures, vehicles, etc). Some dept stores, as noted by Letal, did charge more as well).

        • Just curious as to what part of the country you and Letal are from. I think this makes some difference. I am in the MB, SC area and we regularly got Joes in the early eighties for less than $2. When I first got into collecting it was the second wave( after my older brother talked me out of MOTU). My first figure was major Bludd, I still have the file cards somewhere with $1.89 price tag on them. I can remember when Wal-Mart first opened in the mid eighties back then and prices went up to $2.49. Before that we had Kmart and Roses. Eckerd, Rite-aid and the like were as much as $3.15 but even then we thought that was outrageous.

  • Anyone else spot the Starriors?

  • I distinctly recall a wall of 12 back Star Wars figures at the local Handy Hardware store back in the late ’70’s. After seeing those, I went with my dad on every one of hardware store trips. Don’t recall any other toys than that wall of Star Wars goodness, though.

    As for the prices, Joes were pretty pricey for action figures in the ’80’s. Most of the cardbacks I have from 82 – 84 have price stickers from 2.39 to 2.99 depending on the store. (Though I do have a Major Bludd cardback from a local (now defunct) department store with a whopping price of 4.99!) I think most of the stores that carried toys seasonally did have higher prices. But, I seem to recall them still being lower than KB’s everyday prices.

  • Yeah, some images of Transformers toys with Menards, Farm & Fleet price tags on them are out there. Some non-toy carrying got into carrying toys in the 1980s. I wonder if anyone ever couldn’t find certain figures at regular toy stores or retailers only to come across them on the visit to a hardware store LOL. Like imagine finding Storm Shadow, Firefly, or Snake Eyes there. Though from what I remember of unlikely stores carrying toys, they didn’t get restock often which meant those that tended more towards shelfwarming than their case asst. peers were the only ones lingering around.

    • One of my fondest memories is finding a 1983 Stalker in the summer of 1985 at a Kroger store. For some reason, they had a huge wall of Joes, almost exclusively ’83 and ’84 figures with few, if any ’85’s. But, none of the traditional toy stores of the time had a Stalker and I wanted him badly. So, it was a great find.

    • In Wisconsin or Minnesota?

  • I remember seeing the Dragonfly linger for years at our small town True Value it was priced around $25 if I remember correctly. That place was a time capsule for toys with it’s high prices. It’s gone now along with all the businesses in small town America.

  • Thank you for sharing Flag Points Dave!!

    I don’t remember if I ever saw a True Value ad back in the day, but a small (and I mean small) True Value was the only place that had toys within 20 miles of me at this time, so big memories coming alive here for me.

    Add in that that is what I had for Masters of the Universe (except “D”), I tell ya, some good stuff….

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