Viewer collection: Neil La Sala's Ultra Rare G.I. Joe Collection
He has over 1,000 figures – including pre-production salesman's samples!
Sep. 1, 2020
High school teacher and retired Marine Corps Reserve veteran Neil La Sala received his first G.I. Joe action figure as a child in 1967. By the early 1990s, his love for these classic toys grew into a passion for collecting. As he puts it, "It is a childhood toy that has really become a fun adult hobby."
"Hobby" seems like a bit of an understatement. La Sala has amassed more than 1,000 pieces, ranging from early pre-production salesmen's samples to Adventure Team sets from the Seventies. And that first figure he got at five-years-old? It remains a cherished part of his collection, alongside some of the rarest G.I. Joe figures on the planet.
1. Salesman’s sample figure with rare, first-issue G.I. Joe accessories
This rare saleman’s sample figure has many unique accessories like a brass dog tag and mess kit.
2. Tinted pre-production figures
These salesman’s samples have a red tint – said to be from an error in the pre-production molding process.
3. Photo box sets
This is one of only two known collections to have the complete photo box series sets.
4. More photo box sets
5. Air Sea Rescue Action Pilot set
La Sala describes this set as "impossible to find."
This rare nurse figure was discontinued soon after release.
7. Soldiers of the World figures
The "Soldiers of the World" line showcased Joe in different military branches from WWII.
8. Soldiers of the World figures
9. Soldiers of the World figures
10. Adventure Team figures
In 1972, G.I. Joe introduced "Adventure Team" sets, moving away from war and into scientific expeditions and rescue missions.
11. Adventure Team figures
Instead of the painted-on hair of previous figures, these sets had lifelike hair and a kung-fu grip!