When the hammer finally came down on yesterday’s GIjOE “prototypes” auction held at the swanky Nate D Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles, the final bid prices paid for (at least two of) the pieces came as a great surprise to many Joe fans, collectors and historians. Here are the results:
GIjOE “Dream Date” Barbie Prototype Set, Final Bid Price: $4,375.00
Of all the items up for auction in this sale, we felt this particular one had the strongest chance of pulling down some serious cash. But it’s interesting to point out that on this item, despite its obvious rarity and unassailable provenance—there was only 1 bid! Unlike over on ebay, at an auction house, whatever bid you offer registers immediately as the highest bid. The new owner of this piece clearly decided that his (or her) “ceiling” bid for the Joe and Barbie set was $4, 375, and since no other bids came in, that amount became its final selling price. Is it worth it? Yup. Collectibles are worth whatever fans are ultimately willing to pay for them, and this item’s highly popular cross-branded theme and professional prototype packaging makes it a VERY desirable GIjOE/Barbie collectible.
“Action Soldier” Prototype Figure, Final Bid Price: $2,625.00
Whoa. This final sale price on this Joe will definitely have collectors buzzing, either with admiration—or contemptuous disbelief. Just looking at it, this prototype “Action Soldier” appears to be a simple combination of a fuzzhead figure, AT Commander’s jacket, USAF orange jumpsuit and boots. This is something any Joehead can duplicate in a matter of minutes. We’re not saying it isn’t exactly what it was represented to be, but for what the buyer receives, the final purchase price of $2,625 seems waaaay high (to us). The biggest surprise about this guy was how fiercely he was fought over. When the dust finally settled, there had been a total of TWELVE (12) bids placed for this one (fairly ordinary looking) 12-inch Joe. WOW!
Prototype “Action Man” Figure
Final Bid Price: $625.00
Okay, we were honestly “on the fence” about this figure. Its Levine Family provenance and stained sweater struck us as LIKELY to be what it was claimed to be—a prototype for Action Man—but again, without the COA, it seemed fairly basic and uninteresting. Regardless, someone out there in Joe-Land offered up $625 and earned the right to become its new owner. Again, there was only ONE bidder, and although that bidder had no way of knowing he (or she) would be bidding alone, that person could have saved him or herself $125 by bidding only the reserve price of $500. Oh well, live and learn!
Bottom Line: These figures will all undoubtedly find good homes with some seriously deep-pocketed GIjOE and Action Man fans, but we can’t help but wonder whether or not, in these particular cases, if they overpaid (in some cases, dramatically) for what they received. Let’s hope they’ve done their research (and know more than us) and placed their bids with due diligence. A word of reassurance on this matter came to us today from NDSA copywriter, Ian Gould, who states:
“I’ve been dealing with the sale pretty much since its inception and have talked with Nan Levine a lot about each piece. She seemed to know a lot about each piece, and told me that they were all indeed original prototypes. She was familiar with everything that he had, and Donald had these identified as prototypes, or original designs.
So yes, it is difficult to know exactly where all of the items come from, but the markings on each indicates each item’s provenance (i.e. where they came from). I understand the hesitation in proclaiming them as true ‘prototypes’, hence the fairly low reserve set on each. The Action Man one is probably the biggest steal of any, as she told me it really was the original. It would obviously help to have Donald around to validate the claim, but no matter.”