Everyone knows the name and is familiar with the brand G.I. Joe when it comes to Collectible Action Figures. Whether you are an older collector who played with the 12 inch figures in the 60’s and 70’s, or a younger collector who grew up with the G.I. Joe fighting Cobra, you likely had a connection to the Real American Hero. Given that we are a website with a one sixth scale focus, it is absolutely impossible to ignore how important the original Joes were. With that in mind, we are going to be taking a look at a G.I. Joe relic; The Most Expensive Action Figure Ever Sold.
Without the advent of G.I. Joe, there is no question that we would not be where we are today in regards to action figures. The term ‘action figure’ was actually coined due to the fact that Hasbro did not believe that boys would buy dolls, so ‘action figure’ was the term used to describe figures with articulation to boys. With that knowledge, it would be pretty special to have the very first ever action figure; the origin of everything that you collected as a kid and love now. If you have an exceedingly large amount of money, you might just be able to.
A $200,000 Action Figure
The original handmade G.I. Joe Prototype is the most expensive action figure ever sold. Handmade by G.I. Joe creator Don Levine, considering just how old the figure it was far ahead of its time. Designed in 1964, the original prototype America’s Fighting Man was outfitted with a hand sewn outfit and boots, as well as a fabric belt and backpack. The figure also included a plastic helmet and canteen.
The most intriguing part of the prototype is the handmade headsculpt. Don Levine sculpted and painted this piece by hand and for being made over 50 years ago it looks quite good. Obviously the photos from the auction of the figure are recent and as such the paint shows plenty of wear. That being said, it is still quite humbling to see how far we have come in terms of action figures.
The figure has been in several auctions over the last few years. The last time it was sold was in 2003 to wealthy Toy Museum owner by the name of Steve Geppi. The number that it sold for of course was a staggering $200,001 dollars. Since then, it has popped up for sale once in a blue moon but it has yet to sell again.
At first glance, it may be easy to disregard the original prototype as primitive in appearance and design. When this is set up against something like a modern Hot Toys Star Wars Han Solo figure, there is no doubt what looks more aesthetically pleasing but one could not exist without the other. It cannot be overstated just how important this piece is and there will never be another figure that matches it in importance. Luckily, with the high price tag, The most expensive action figure ever sold will always be in possession of someone who cares deeply for it. Many hope that it will eventually end up in an institution like the Smithsonian, but time will tell.