Don Levine Confirms “First-Ever, Prototype Footlocker” sold on ebay is 100% Authentic

Don Levine's original, 1965 prototype GIjOE footlocker. Fully documented and autographed by "GijOE's Father" himself. Click on all photos for closeups of this unique item. (Photo: Dave Burks)

Closeup of the top of the box as inscribed by Don Levine back in 1965. (Photo: Dave Burks)

Okay…quick test. How much would you pay for an empty, vintage GIjOE footlocker? $25? $35? Maybe even $50? Sounds about right. Alright then, what if the footlocker in question could be proven to be the very first GIjOE footlocker ever made? Hmm…now a price isn’t quite so easy to pin down. But it’s safe to say your valuation of it would start going up.

Closeup of the interior looks like any other footlocker, with perhaps a thicker paper used for the inner lid sticker. (Photo: Dave Burks)

What if you also learned that the footlocker had been the official Hasbro prototype and was never sold in a store? Or that it had been the personal property of the “Father of GIjOE,” Mr. Don Levine himself, for over 40 years? “Uh-oh,”  you say. “That changes everything!” Of course, you’re right. And you can see where the price is going to go now. WAY up. Indeed, to the casual observer, it may look like any other ordinary 1965 GIjOE footlocker. But when you know its unique back story and important history, the item’s “provenance” quickly takes it out of the realm of “the ordinary.”

Closeup of where Don Levine autographed the footlocker to Dave. (Photo: Dave Burks)

Recently, Dave Burks of Arroyo Grande, California, sold this one-of-a-kind item on ebay for $380.00. When the auction was over, I contacted Dave and asked him how he had initially acquired it and why he would ever sell such a rare item. Here’s what he told me…

“Hi Mark, I bought this footlocker from Don’s grandson who was selling some of Don’s original GIjOE stuff to get through college. Don and I spoke personally at great lengths over the telephone and he signed the footlocker and typed me a letter of authenticity too. I’m a musician and not really collecting Joes anymore. So I thought I’d pass it on.”

Closeup of the letter of authenticity shows that it too, was signed by Don Levine. (Photo: Dave Burks)

What a cool piece of GIjOE history! The new owner is certainly a lucky guy or gal. Hopefully, he or she will leave a comment here on The Joe Report and let us all know how Don and Dave’s ol’ footlocker is doing. HA For more information, here’s the auction listing’s product description as it appeared in Dave’s ebay ad:

“Years back, I was able to purchase this straight from Mr. Don Levine, creator of the 1960’s smash hit: GIjOE! This was Don’s personal prototype for Hasbro’s 1965 production of the GIjOE footlocker.

Don signed his initials on the top in the name and rank area. This was for his reference while the footlockers were being designed and put together. It was later stored in Don’s attic and forgotten.

This one has a few light dings, but is still bright as the day he made it in the factory. The top sticker is a bit unglued, but otherwise the locker is in minty condition and has been displayed in my glass case with my vintage Joes.

Don was nice enough to write a dated and signed letter of authenticity and has personally autographed the inside bottom of the locker as well.

A neat letter comes on Mr. Levine’s personal stationary (with an envelope). This alone is so cool. These would be stunning framed next to the box while on display in a collection. This is totally one of a kind. The first ever made GIjOE footlocker!”

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