As if hacking our election and undermining our faith in democracy wasn’t enough, now Russia has apparently obtained a sacred Melania Trump figurine.
I discovered this alarming news recently when thumbing through supermarket tabloids and reviewing advertisements for The Bradford Exchange and its sister company, The Hamilton Collection.
“Over the years, our companies have been recognized with many top-level industry awards for the exciting designs and exceptional craftsmanship of our collectible figurines, diecast and more,” says the website for both brands. “This level of expertise has evolved into our enviable leadership position in the present-day collector marketplace.”
The typical Bradford/Hamilton customer has been described as “steadfast middle-American Christian ladies,” such as the “unsophisticated sentimental mother with a station wagon full of kids,” and the “traditional American midwesterner who … would like to think of herself as loving art.”
That according to the biographer of America’s worst artist, Thomas Kinkade, who has sold tens of millions of dollars-worth of his productions through The Bradford Exchange.
In the “Patriotic and Military” product category, The Hamilton Collection always comes out with a “commemorative tribute figurine” whenever a new U.S. president is crowned.
Prexy Trump’s “bold figurine,” the product description says it “honors a milestone in American history and pays tribute to this successful leader and his enduring message of hope and greatness.”
A Melania Trump figurine is also advertised on the Hamilton Collection website (as seen in the thumbnail pictures below the Donald Trump figurine). But it is not available for purchase, and the featured image of her figurine is not a photo but merely an “artist’s rendering,” implying that the item has not yet been produced.
Because my Enquiring mind wanted to know, I emailed The Hamilton Collection and asked when the Melania figurine would be available.
Here’s the email they sent by way of reply:
Why was Melania “retired” so soon — before they even had a chance to replace the artist’s rendering with a proper photo of the actual item?
Puzzled, I followed Customer Service’s advice and searched for the elusive Melania figurine in the secondary market. But what I found only deepened the mystery:
What is a seller in Salt Lake City doing listing the Melania figurine in Russian? How did this seller get the actual item, as seen in the photo? And has the Melania figurine been shipped off to Moscow?
I showed this eBay listing to Keith Livers, Professor of Russian at the University of Texas. “Why would you want to buy THAT?” asked the professor, an expert on conspiracy theories in the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. When I told him I merely wanted it translated, he explained: “It’s been sold.”
I don’t know what sort of plot is underway here with The Hamilton Collection’s Melania figurine, but someone needs to get to the bottom of it. Perhaps a subpoena from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is in order.