Sunday, January 6, 2013

The "Eras" of Dukes of Hazzard Collectibles

As many of you might know, either by following the blog, or actually knowing me, I spend a lot of time inside the world of comic books.  This is somewhat because superheros are pretty awesome, but mostly because my best friend Jeff is an up and coming comic book creator who will soon take the industry by storm.  I spend several weekends a year at comic conventions and read several books.  Inspiration from that world seeped in and I have decided to propose the Eras of Dukes of Hazzard Collectibles.  Though there is debate within the comic book community, there are three major eras of comics.  I decided these can also apply to our hobby.  A specific hobby like ours can be a little confusing because it spans several decades.  Perhaps grouping items into time periods will make things a little easier   And I like proclaiming things about the hobby because I have a blog about it.  Let me present The Golden Era, The Silver Era, and The Modern Era of Dukes of Hazzard Collecting.

The Golden Era

It all started with Ertl's 1/25 General Lee.  There are, of course, other collectibles that pre-date this diecast, but I don't know if there would be a hobby without the popularity of this car.  The Golden Era includes everything from the original run of the Dukes.  Naturally, there were more items released while the show was on than at any other time.  Some people collect scripts and car pieces and a few lucky souls even have General Lees from the show.  They all belong in the Golden Era.

The Gordy International pieces, Knickerbocker toys, the Album and 8-track, the Mego line, the Underoos, the TV Guides, even items that came after the show like "Christmas Comes To Willow Creek" memorabilia are all a part of the Golden Era.  

The Silver Era.

Again Ertl's 1/25 ushered in a new era.  The Silver Era started in 1997 when the show came back to television on TNN.  The devotees (like us) were ecstatic it was back, and the rest of the world fell in love with the Dukes once again.  The 1/25 Ertl was re-released in a new box and was followed by the re-release of the model kit and 1/64 diecasts.  

A highlight of the silver era (and personal favorite of mine) was the 1/144 line of diecasts by Racing Champions.

The Silver Era really took off, though, when the 1/18 was produced.  The biggest major production of a General Lee that was not a re-release, the 1/18 was first produced in 2000 and has become the best selling diecast of all time.  

There were (and still are) many varations of the 1/18 and most versions from the Silver Era came in the rebel flag box.  

The 1/25 was re-released (yet again) in the Silver Era in the rebel flag box.  This version finally had the correct tan colored interior that the previous versions were lacking.  Other Dukes items were also released in the similarly decorated rebel flag box and most of the Dukes of Hazzard products released seemed to be part of one singular production line.

Another highlight of the Silver Era was the Danbury Mint General Lee.  It is still one of the most popular Dukes items released.  

The popularity of the show on cable saw a boom of new merchandise in the 2000s.  Nostalgic items like t-shirts and hats were big, but new items like the detailed "Exclusive Premiere" figures and the "Electric Tiki" statues were also released.

The Modern Era

I struggled with the placement of the dividing line between the end of the Silver Era and the beginning of the Modern Era.  Going back to the inspiration I took from comic books, there seemed to be huge events that divided the eras, for instance, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and The Secret Wars.  The events were huge in scale and somewhat controversial within the fan base.  The Dukes world had something like that, the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard movie.  My next sweeping declaration (man, I love making those) is that everything released in connection with the movie, and everything after that, is a part of the Modern Era of Dukes of Hazzard Collecting.  

Just like the beginning of the other two eras, this one started with the 1/25 General Lee.  It was repackaged with Seann, Johnny, and Jessica on the box.  

Nearly everything released in the few years leading up to the movie was repackaged in this same box design including the 1/18, the 1/64s, the ripcord General and the stylized hot rod General Lee.  Even though the movie General had a few minor differences, these were not illustrated on the toys.  Everything was just a straight re-release.  

Once the movie came and went, nearly all new items were once again released with a new theme.  

The cascading shades of orange box art that we see on new items today was first released on items that came out right after the movie.  Most items of the Modern Era utilize this package design.  There have been a lot of new items released during the Modern Era.  

The biggest line of the Modern Era was Johnny Lightning's 1/64 collection which included over 40 cars.  

Auto World's 1/18 General Lee is one of the most popular items of the era.  

The Modern Era is filled with many items unique to the era as well as many re-releases.  Pieces like the 1/25 ad 1/64s are prevalent in all three eras, but each era also has exclusive items.  Nearly all of the toys and things specifically geared towards children are from the Golden Era.  Those same children were targeted as adults in the Silver and Modern Eras with collector grade memorabilia.

Now that I have laid down these rules and labels for the items I love so much, let's see if I actually use them in future blog posts.  Maybe someone other than me will define a Dukes toy using my system.  Only time will tell.   


  1. The Silver Age only lasts for eight years? I'd venture that perhaps the Golden Age is only during the period that the show is actually on and new, the Silver Age is until 2005, and the Modern Age is from 2005-present. But I guess that's one of the fun things about collecting...disagreeing about things over the Internet.

    1. We're on the same page, but I'm saying that there was so little before '97, it all falls into the Golden Era. Other than that, your venture is the same as my proclamation.

  2. I have a box set of the pint glasses never used. Was wondering what the value of it might be and where would be good place to try sell it. Thank you