Raiders of the Lost Ark Cairo Swordsman by Kenner 1982
Flea Market find
New Year Eve flea market hunting was lush with many finds, but this find outshines them all. Flea Markets are usually a good dumping ground, rich with overpriced Chinese knock offs, produce and loose toys. Tables and bins full of slightly dewy happy meal toys and used Fisher Price toys, everything has a thin layer of what can only be described as a texture similar to snot. Anything packaged, no matter how well sealed has condensation on the inside. If you are looking for mint packaged goods, you really need to look elsewhere.
(your average flea market "dollar store")
On an outside table full of three dollar and up used kid's meal toys and more than likely incomplete board games that are twice as old as I am is this jewel. A carded Indiana Jones figure from 1982! My eyes dart back and forth trying to gauge how much this is going to run me. Mind you, the same gentleman had Clone Wars Star Wars toys he claimed were from 1977 and an incomplete Colorforms set he swore was never opened. I figured I'm game to negotiate if the price is too much. As I inspected the card I made sure the bubble was attached, all the accessories were present and there wasn't any fading to the card's graphics. In my professional opinion the card was a solid C7.5 or AFA75 (even with the Toys R Us price tag still attached) and the figure was a solid 10 on any scale. If I was to purchase the same figure online I wouldn't pay more than $30, so I prepared to ask the inevitable question.....”how much for the Raiders figure?”
Mind you, the Cairo Swordsman was the dog of the Raiders line. I have older friends in the toy business that bought them in cases of 48 for a quarter a piece from Toys R Us and Lionel Playworld and Toy King. Near the end of the line, it was near impossible to find a Marion Ravenwood or an Indiana Jones. The figures were so widely produced, they often showed up in dump bins at local grocery stores and Dollar General stores across the country. But why doesn't anyone love this slightly Mexican looking Arab armed with fancy cutlery Wasn't the Cairo Swordsman an integral character in Raiders?
( I don't have time for this shit!)
Kenner was the sole company licensed to make Raiders of the Lost Ark figures back in 1982. With their success with the Star Wars figures, Kenner was a sure bet to win the license. Just like the Star Wars figure, Indiana Jones toys hit the shelves late but in abundant numbers. Unlike Star Wars figures, Indiana Jones figures utilized a couple of new articulations points including knees and v-crotch; opposed to the common t-crotch. The figures weren't as successful across the board as Star Wars though and thousands of figures found their way to clearance bins. As mentioned before, odd ball characters like the Cairo Swordsman, German Mechanic and archaeological dig Beloq hit clearance in droves while key characters proved harder to find. Even the mail away ceremonial Beloq didn't sell out like they'd originally hoped. At one point, I even had a factory case full of mail away Beloqs I sold and traded for figures for the better part of 8 years. Sad thing is, I forgot to save one for myself. After the failure of Raiders figures at retail, LJN won the license for the figure line and made some of the goofiest looking figures ever made for the movie franchise.
(hey ladies, would you like a mustache ride?)
Scored for an easy ten dollars, the Cairo Swordsman was mine. After I got it home, I promptly cleaned the package with a soft brush and placed it in a Protect-o Star-Case after taking the already showcased full color photos and high resolution scans. I plan to continue this carded collection of Kenner's Indiana Jones figures, I'm not holding my breath for anymore falling into my lap at $10 but a boy can dream.