I really like the look of these figures; they're edgier than the She-Ra line, a little less girlie. It's really a shame they weren't more successful than they were. Of course, being less successful, that means there's fewer available toys for collectors to find. I'm working on my own collection of them.
Who Was First?
Checking online for trademark and copyright filings, Galoob/Leisure Concepts, Inc. filed for their Golden Girl trademark on November 2, 1984 and it became active July 30, 1985. They received their copyright for Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones December 4, 1984. It's possible that the two competing lines were in parallel development, or perhaps there was some toy espionage going on (yes, really), but for all practical purposes, She-Ra and Golden Girl were released at the same time. Mattel received its copyright for She-Ra (alternate name, She-Rah) November 20, 1984; their trademark filing date was October 23, 1984, and became active May 21, 1985. TL;DR --
She-Ra Princess of Power (Mattel)
- © received November 20, 1984
- ® active May 21, 1985
Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones (Galoob/Leisure Concepts, Inc.)So had there been internet in 1985, Mattel could have trolled and posted First! on some message board for toy manufacturers, irritating everyone.
- © received December 4, 1984
- ® active July 30, 1985
Galoob had action figures, fashion outfits, horses (with chariots) and a castle playset, plus there was a boardgame (Parker Brothers) and books, in addition to various other licensed products.
- Golden Girl
- Prince Kroma (token male #1)
- Dragon Queen
- Moth Lady
- Wild One
- Ogra (token male #2)
- Olympia (Golden Girl's steed)
- Shadow (Dragon Queen's steed)
- Forest Fantasy Adventure Fashion (one for each female, nine total)
- Festival Spirit Adventure Fashion (one for each female, nine total)
- Evening Enchantment Adventure Fashion (one for each female, nine total)
- Palace of the Gems
- Dream tent (in 4 colors: red, blue, pink and black)
Unfortunately, the best source for these figures is ebay. You might get lucky and find them at a yard sale or at a toy show, but the likeliest place is the online auction house. Why is that unfortunate? Because most sellers realize how scarce the figures are and price them accordingly. And if they're not priced high to begin with, the bidding will quickly end any hopes of finding a bargain. Don't expect to pay much less than $25 for a figure with all her accessories (shield, cape, helmet, weapon, comb) in an auction. I haven't been to a toy show in years, so I don't know how dealers are pricing them, but I would guess their prices are in line with that. (The advantage of a toy show is that you can haggle with a dealer and see the figure up close, so you know exactly what you're buying.)
Other Links & Info
10 Greatest Toylines without Cartoons, article by Rob Bricken (Sept. 16, 2008)
1985 Golden Girl by Galoob, article by Shogi (Feb. 17, 2011)
The Lair on Storm Isle, a collector's website; appears not to have been updated since 2005
Golden Girl at artist Darah Herron's site (also has info about other girl-oriented action figures)
Ghost of the Doll, a UK site about toys from the '80s and '90s
French language Golden Girl commercial
English language Golden Girl commercial (different)
I'll add photos and more details to this when I can.