RoboChoi GA-43, Andy Warhol robot?
Year or Era:
metal and plastic
This is all too strange for me to handle. The construction of this robot goes from extremely well made to extremely cheap depending on which part you are looking at. His head, torso, and shoulders are made of cast metal. The rest is cheap plastic (and there are grades of high quality plastic but this isn't it). The head rotates as the robot is pushed, and the little plastic steering wheel is also a doggie squeaky toy- I'm not making this up! The blue base reminds me of "The Old Lady that Lived in the Shoe" with tank treads. It wouldn't surprise me if this was worth something just because it was made in Japan. Somewhere someone is looking for this.
While surfing the web, I made an unusual discovery. I found a site called the Dream Catcher Art Gallery, that has an original painting by Andy Warhol called "Toy Robot". The painting is being sold for $33,000.00! Guess what? I recognized the robot as this one! I would think that would add more value to this former cheap unwanted little guy. Did Andy have one of these? Hmmmm......
I received a letter on 10-10-99 from a fellow toy robot fan. Rather than paraphrasing him, I think I will give an excerpt from his letter telling me details of RoboChoi. Keep in mind that toy robot prices fluctuate from day to day, hence the reason for mentioning the date of the letter. Here is the excerpt:"I did a little research and this is what I found. The toy was made by a Japanese company called Popy. This guy's name is RoboChoi and has a part number of GA-43. It is one of a series of toys based on characters from a live action tv show called Robocon. As for the value of the toy, I don't really know. I've seen in a guide book that a Mint in Box example, with all the accessories, is valued at approximately $700. It appears that the one you have (and the one I have as well) is missing something in the chest cavity, but I have no idea what that may have been. I also don't know if it came with any other accessories. I know that with tin robots, sometimes the box is worth as much as the robot itself and that sometimes missing accessories detract seriously from the value of the toy, so it's really hard to place a value on RoboChoi. I would imagine, however, that it still must be worth at least $50 or $100-- and possibly more. The trouble, of course, is finding a buyer. Anyway, the toy was probably made in the 70s sometime, and I would imagine that Andy Warhol painted this toy soon after it came out...maybe he picked one up in his travels, maybe it was available in an import shop in NY, or maybe it was a gift from someone, but it's fascinating to think that this was just another one of those mundane objects (like soup cans) that he decided to paint and is now part of the whole Pop Art movement. Now you can tell all your friends that you don't just collect toys, you collect art!"Links:
-Toy Robot Fan
I received another letter on 11-3-99 from yet another fellow toy robot fan:
"On the GA-43, I have owed (4) of these. (still own one) The cavity in the chest holds a tool set consisting of a chromed plastic hammer, screwdiver, & block plane. These tools snap into the robot's right hand. I actually have an extra set of these tools (the last GA-43 I bought came with two). I can't prove it, but I believe the design for GA-43 came from the cover of a science fiction book that I used to own. It depicted a man, an alien woman, and a large robot, all crossing an alien landscape. I cannot remember the title, but it was probably early '60's. I hope to find it again someday. As for the selling price, I have seen them sell for $50 (missing tools, cracked dome), $75-$100 (mnb), and $135 (mib)."
Dream Catcher Art Gallery- where the above link came from.
Yahoo! Andy Warhol search, for reference purposes.