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HAND-COLORED EDITION (1 of 100).  An extremely rare and obscure variant hand-colored by Don Oropallo.  Limited to 100 copies.  Acquired by the original owner at the Turtlemania event in May, 1986.  Accompanied by the original Turtlemania Event Flyer that was distributed at the event (May, 1986).  See details below.

My quest for this Hand-Colored Edition started innocently enough back in 2012 when I was contacted by someone who had found a Hand-Colored Edition at a yard sale.  They sent me a picture of the book and, based on the information I had at the time, I informed them that it was nothing special; just a Regular edition that looked to have been colored by someone (which anyone could have done).  Although it was cool, I didn’t even bother to make an offer on it.  Fast forward to 2014 (just after I went live with and Don Oropallo got in touch with me to let me know that my collection was missing a very rare and scarcely-known variant of Turtlemania SpecialThe Hand-Colored Edition.  Don provided all the details about the book but he never sent me any pictures of it.   However, when I sent Don the picture of the copy acquired by the yard sale buyer, he confirmed that it was, indeed, a copy of the Hand-Colored Edition he created.  I spent the next 3+ years trying to track down another copy of the Hand-Colored Edition before I finally stumbled across another collector that had a copy.  Here are further details about this Hand-Colored Edition of Turtlemania Special.

Most everyone knows of the Turtlemania Special book and the three variant covers that were created for it back in 1986: Regular, Silver, and Gold.  The inside front cover of each Turtlemania Special book provides the print run for these three editions:

  • REGULAR (white cover) = 3,000 copies
  • SILVER (gray cover) = 100 copies, each hand-numbered and autographed by Eastman & Laird on back cover
  • GOLD (yellow cover) = 10 copies, each hand-numbered with original sketch on back cover with signature of Eastman or Laird (5 copies were sketched by Eastman; 5 by Laird)

However, a few years ago, a new variant of Turtlemania Special surfaced and came to my attention.  Since then, I’ve been working to validate its authenticity and track down and acquire a copy.  Today, I’m pleased to be able to confirm that this new variant of Turtlemania Special does, in fact, exist.  In addition, thanks to the graciousness of a fellow collector, I’ve finally been able to add this edition to my collection.  This new variant is known as The Hand-Colored Edition.

The Hand-Colored Edition is unique in that it doesn’t have a different-colored cover paper stock to distinguish it from the other Turtlemania Special editions.  The Hand-Colored Edition is actually just a Regular white-covered edition that was hand-colored by Don Oropallo (the artist credited inside the books with the green color-overlay on the covers – page 5; note that Don’s last name is misspelled inside the book).  Since the Hand-Colored Edition isn’t mentioned as a variant inside any of the Turtlemania Special books, its existence was only previously known to Don Oropallo and the select few that owned one of the 100 Hand-Colored copies.

It’s a bit tricky to authenticate a Hand-Colored Edition if you come across one and I’ve only ever seen two copies of the Hand-Colored Edition (one of which is now part of my collection).  Conceivably, anyone that owns a Regular Turtlemania Special edition could hand-color the cover on their own and try to pass it off as an authentic Hand-Colored Edition.  However, in my quest to confirm the existence of this new Hand-Colored Edition, I’ve been provided with a good amount of detail about it (much of it directly from Don Oropallo himself) that can be used to assist in the identification of the Hand-Colored Editions.  Here are the key details about the very rare and extremely hard to find Turtlemania Special Hand-Colored Edition:

  • 100 copies of the Hand-Colored Edition were made.  These 100 Hand-Colored copies were taken from the print run of the 3,000 Regular white-covered copies so there are not an additional 100 books in existence (i.e., there were still only 3,110 total copies of Turtlemania Special printed).
  • Each Hand-Colored copy was personally hand-colored on the front cover by Don Oropallo.  From what I’ve seen, Don utilized a nearly identical coloring-scheme for each of the 100 Hand-Colored books.  The coloring on the cover looks professional (neat and clean) and includes areas of color-shading / gradients that would be difficult for a novice to reproduce.
  • None of the 100 Hand-Colored copies were individually hand-numbered (as was done with each of the Silver and Gold editions).
  • Most of the 100 Hand-Colored copies were NOT originally signed by Don Oropallo (on the cover or inside).  However, some of them may have been initialed by Don with a hand-written “Don O.” on the cover.  Some copies may have Don Oropallo’s signature or initials on the interior page 5, near Don’s name.  This would have likely been done by Don at the request of one of the Hand-Colored book owners (as is the case with my Hand-Colored copy).


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