Tuesday - 21 October 2014

A second saleroom appearance for the original GI Joe

02 August 2013Written by Roland Arkell

For the second time in a decade, on August 10, Heritage in Dallas will offer for sale the prototype of the original GI Joe figure.

The 12in mock-up, constructed of hand-shaped and shaved plastic, hand-crafted metal, and hand-sewn fabric, was the vision of Don Levine, creative director at Hasbro, who flew in the face of conventional wisdom that said that dolls were expressly made for girls.

Adopting the roles of marine, pilot, sailor, and soldier, GI Joe became the first male action figure (he was never called a "doll") - able to hold any pose just as a modern American solider could.

This prototype GI Joe figure was constructed by Levine's team of designers, sculptors, and artists in 1964 for Hasbro's famous in-house presentation to a half-dozen of the company's most important and prestigious clients - buyers from Woolworths, Sears, Roebuck and the Associated Merchandising Corporation, among others.

This piece was originally sold by Heritage from the personal collection of Don Levine in July 2013.

"There are few more hallowed pop culture artefacts than this," said Ed Jaster, executive vice president at Heritage. "Ten years ago when we sold this piece at Heritage it realized slightly over $200,000, which we believe it may bring or exceed again. To help make sure that it finds a new steward, however, we've joined with the consignor and placed what we feel is a conservative $125,000 estimate on it."

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