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Press Release - March 6, 2004


No reserves this time, so all four will sell

DALLAS, TEXAS: Heritage Comics Auctions (HCA) announced today that 4 G.I. Joe prototypes that were originally consigned to Heritage by G.I. Joe creator Don Levine will be re-offered unreserved in Heritage's April 2-3 Signature auction in New York City.

According to Heritage Comics Director of Auctions, John Petty, "A museum purchased the Navy GI Joe prototype at the July 17, 2003 San Diego Comic-Con auction for $27,600. We sold the first GI Joe prototype to Steve Geppi on Don Levine's behalf immediately after our San Diego auction for $200,000, and quickly sold the rest of the unsold material in Don's collection - a total of 13 pieces, to an investor group. Nine of those pieces have subsequently been resold, and so 11 of the original 15 are off the market. The last 4 pieces will be offered once again at auction. This time will be no reserves, so we expect all of them to sell."

The four lots are described as follows:
GI Joe - Early Hand-Made Prototype with Unpainted Head (Hasbro, 1964). This very early hand-crafted articulated prototype closely resembles the final production model, and was one of the last prototypes before launching the full-fledged production of the line. The figure is distinguished by the rubber ball hip joints (made from the cores of a couple of golf balls!), the unpainted white head cast in plastic (but bearing the familiar features of every Joe ever produced), and the lead feet and hands. A significant piece in the development of the Joe line, this brought the Hasbro team very close to the finished product. Figure shows moderate wear, with some cracking in the chest piece, but that is to be expected from a "hand's-on" item, and is in excellent condition considering he is pushing forty.
Close up

GI Joe - Original Talking GI Joe / Navy (Hasbro, 1967). An early production model of the popular "talking" Joe figures, this is the Navy version. The figure has brown hair and the slightly smaller "hard" head, as well as the larger version hands and feet; the left shoulder piece has multiple cracks at the peg-hole, and does not hold the forearm piece very tightly. There are the usual knee cracks, and a tiny paint rub on one eyebrow; the hair paint is nearly perfect. The uniform and boots appear to be from the regular production run, but the shirt has the words "Now sample to men 8/3/67" written on the back of the shirt in ball-point pen; otherwise the boots and clothing are a solid C9. Talking Joes have always been extremely popular with the collecting community, and this is your chance to obtain one of the earliest prototypes in that line.
Close up

GI Joe - First Dressed Prototype/Air Force (Hasbro, 1965). Just about ready for the children of the world, this dressed Air Force prototype is nearly identical to the final production run, including orange jumpsuit, boots and blue fatigue cap. The figure has the larger "soft" head, and the small feet and hands, and shows average wear; there are no cracks at the knees, and the black hair is nearly perfect, with very minor eyebrow rubs. The jumpsuit and dog tag are C9, but the boots are an aftermarket replacement, and not produced by Hasbro. Most interestingly, the blue plastic fatigue cap lacks the embossed numeral on the inside of the hat, marking this as a very early prototype. One of the most popular and certainly collectible of the four services, this Air Force Joe is ready for new orders transferring him to your collection.
Close up

GI Joe - First Navy Scuba Suit with Early Joe Prototype (Hasbro, 1964). This alternate version of the scuba suit features a somewhat more elaborate design, with a higher collar, scuba-flippers, and headpiece. Constructed from a bicycle's inner tube, also hand-sewn, this version has the added attraction of being worn by an early 12" Joe prototype figure with hand-painted face; the age and delicacy of the rubber suit prevents us from offering a detailed examination of the figure, but it appears to be the same type as other prototypes from the Don Levine collection. The figure wears a hand-crafted depth gauge, and what appears to be a regular production scabbard. The rubber is in exceptional condition, and exhibits little, if any, deterioration; there are some small orange stains on the back of the jacket, and the flippers have curled somewhat, but overall this is one of the most striking prototypes in this sale.
Close up

For more information about Heritage's auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

HCA specializes in rare, high-grade comic books, as well as vintage comic and animation art, illustration art, classic toys, movie posters and comics-related collectibles.

Prospective consignors and sellers of top-end comics material, toys, and original art are invited to call Ed Jaster at 214-252-4288 or Fred McSurley at 214-252-4293 to discuss their rare comics and original illustration and comic art. Or visit and click on the "consign" tab. Or simply email Ed Jaster at or Fred McSurley at

Movie poster consignors, please call Grey Smith at 214-668-6928 or email

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