Palitoy’s Action Man doll – a licensed version of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe which was launched in 1966 – went through a lot of permutations down the years, most of them armed services related. But in the late 1970s, the range added some new dolls, including Atomic Man, a figure inspired by television’s Six Million Dollar Man, and a licensed use of the Hasbro figure, Mike Power, The Atomic Man that was created to compete with the Kenner figure based on the show.
Also released was Bullet Man, a red and silver superhero, who was seen in TV ads of the time, battling The Intruder with the Action Man Team.
Both these dolls, and the Action Man Space Ranger, are being offered in the latest Vectis auction on 27th May 2015, along with a huge number of other Action Man-related items.
The Palitoy Employees Sale – which has attracted huge media interest, including a news item on ITV’s This Morning show with Philip Schofield and Amanda Holden on 18th May – features items from three ex-employees, one rep and two designers. Each kept stock from their respective roles from the late 1960s to the mid-80s.
The stock on offer is predominantly Palitoy, but there are lots of other items including competitor products or company’s they acquired such as Chad Valley, Triang, Parker Brothers, G.I. Joe and Frog.
There is a vast quantity of Action Man in the auction – over 200 lots, over 150 lots of dolls, including Pippa, Tressy, Action Girl, Blythe and others, including items never sold at Vectis before.
Also on offer are Star Wars and Action Force items, board games, toys and even boxes of pencils.
Palitoy started in 1919 as the Cascelloid Company, founded by Alfred Edward Pallett, in Coalville, Leicester. Tressy was the first Palitoy product to be advertised on TV, in 1964. Tiny Tears was manufactured in 1965 and for the next three years was voted ‘Girls Toy of The year’.
Action Man was introduced in 1966 and proved a a huge success, the line adding a new feature every three years, by 1970 sales had reached two million a year. Although the original run ceased production in 1984, Action Man was reintroduced to British toy shops in 1993.
Panini Comics published an Action Man comic in the 1990s which ran for 138 issues between 1996 and January 2006 before being surpassed by the spin-off series Action Man: A.T.O.M.. The comic was originally published every month but this was later changed to every three weeks.
• View all the auction items from the Palitoy Employees Sale here: www.vectis.co.uk/page/NewsArticle.aspx?ArticleId=775