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."

6. Nurse

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!

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NEIL1964 7 months ago
A great hobby where some great friendships have developed! In many ways, Joe has stood the test of time and has fostered camaraderie.
RoyandDale1 13 months ago
I was hoping that this amazing collection would be highlighted on the show! Ever since Collectors Call became a thing I have been hoping to see one of the premier Joe collections featured. I have a number of nice pieces but I would never be able to accumulate one as amazing as Neils! My wife would not be enthused. She doesn't understand my desire to collect now!
Will Neils collection make it on to the show?
GIJoeGuy 13 months ago
An absolutely awesome GI Joe collection owned by an even more awesome collector and real life GI Joe!! Well done Neil!!
Tarakian10 13 months ago
Where is my favorite? The shiny silver "Space Blanket" plastic suit of a NASA Astronaut and Gemini capsule. This shiny plastic was actually developed for real astronauts to survive cold weather., bit of trivia.
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