I had no idea that they were such a hot item - or that I had cornered the market on them! I had some urgent paperwork to follow up on today, so I should get back to everyone on Tuesday.
Here’s another mystery of the Pit. They looked like this:
And the face - it’s hard to capture in my less-than-stellar photography, but his face is completely different, with a spot on his muzzle, a crisper and more complex blaze, and more dramatic shading overall. In other words, this is not your average Shiney.
Since they were all bagged and bubblewrapped, and there were several boxed Smart and Shineys for sale at the hotel in the $35-45 range, most shoppers gave them a quick once over and moved on. I was moderately curious, but my arms were already full, and I figured that if they turned out to be something special, I’d get one later on.
One of my roommates - as big a Smart Chic Olena fan as you’ll find - ran past me a few hours later yelling "They’re Samples! They’re gorgeous! They still have a ton of them in the Pit!"
So I went and got one.
The word "Sample" gets bantered about a lot in hobby circles: we use it to refer to any recent model that doesn’t have a VIN backstamp. The truth is a little more complex than that: any model manufactured in the U.S. - whether it’s a Test Color, some flavor of Sample, or a lower-piece run Special Run (less than 100 made, usually) is not required to have a VIN backstamp.
The current working theory is that these Shineys were a batch painted up in the U.S. for a still-unknown reason. There was at least an entire box of these guys - around two dozen, maybe? - while Sample quantities typically register in the single digits.
None of us had the insight, as far as I know, to ask any of the Breyer people about them. (And me, I had some issues.) I have about another week of unpacking, sorting and inventorying to go, so if anyone else wants to take the lead on this, that’d be great.
There were still some of these "American Shineys" in the Pit on Sunday, so there’s a chance we’ll be either seeing them again - next year, or on the web site. If they do, and if you’re a SCO fan, don’t hesitate.