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Press Release - December 2, 2003

$200,000 G.I. JOE® Earns Heritage Its Third Guinness World Record In Four Years

Dallas, Texas- The prestigious Guinness Book of World Records is recognizing Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers of Dallas, Texas ( for this past summer’s $200,000 sale of the first G.I. JOE® action figure. The sale now has been certified by Guinness as the world’s most valuable toy soldier.

Heritage sold the 40-year old, handcrafted prototype G.I. JOE to Baltimore business executive Stephen A. Geppi on behalf of one of the famous toy’s designers, Don Levine of Providence, Rhode Island, on August 7.

“We’ve received formal notification from Guinness that the historic transaction has been entered in their record books,” said John Petty, Director of Heritage Comics.

“The handcrafted, hand-painted prototype made in 1963 is the very first G.I. JOE action figure, and a unique piece of American cultural history. It changed the history of toys in the 1960s,” explained Petty.

The certificate Heritage received from Guinness reads:

“The most valuable toy soldier in the world is the first handcrafted 1963 G.I. Joe prototype which was sold on August 7, 2003 on behalf of its creator Don Levine to Baltimore businessman Stephen A. Geppi for $200,000 (£124,309) by Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers of Dallas, Texas, USA.”

It is signed by “S.A. Newport, Keeper of the Records, Guinness World Records LTD.”

Geppi is the president and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors, a $200 million a year business that distributes comics, collectibles, toys and games throughout the world. He is also the owner and publisher of Baltimore Magazine and a part owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

“Of course, we are thrilled with this honor and world-wide recognition. This is now our third Guinness record involving collectibles in the past four years,” explained Greg Rohan, President of Heritage.

“We received our first in 1999 for making the world’s largest private purchase of a coin collection when we paid more than $15 million for about 200 gold coins. Our second Guinness record was awarded to us last year for conducting the world's largest auction of comic books and related memorabilia, more than $5 million.”

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