What are Hallmark Prototypes?
By: Don Palmiter
A hand-painted original is an epoxy (white body) that is usually the first out of the mold of the original sculpted wax ornament. These are cleaned up in the Hallmark mold shop and delivered to the sculptor who sculpted it. The sculptor usually then paints the epoxy to look exactly like he or she wishes the final ornament to look as a finished product. Not always has the original sculptor chosen to paint his or her ornament, but this is not the standard case.
A hand-painted duplicate is done in the same manner a few days later after the original paint is approved. They are painted by a duplicate artist to closely match the original artist’s piece. There are, or were usually, four to six of these.
Molded duplicates (green bodies) are unpainted epoxies used in manufacturing all of the parts in an ornament. They are scanned by the manufacturer for building the injection molds. These duplicates are usually broken down into several pieces to build mold parts for the ornament.
All of these are or have been referred to as prototypes because they are used to produce the final production ornaments sold to collectors. They are not vendor samples. Much of this process has changed in recent years due to the use of digital technology.