I have been following the discussion re. Mercury ships with interest since I have almost all of them in my collection. I would just like to add a couple of points which may be of interest to fellow collectors.
Regarding the statement that there are few on Italian ebay, I think you will find that this is not correct. If you log into ebay.it and enter 'Mercury' the search takes you directly to cars and trucks. If you go to the category column on the left and click 'Boats,ships" you will find over a dozen listed at the moment.
The other point concerns a Mercury model which is unlisted in Sammelhapen.de This model of SS Oceanic never seems to appear in any of the listings I have seen. There is currently one listed in the US on ebay.com for anyone who is interested, simply enter 265685162447 in the Search and there it is.
The last point concerns Marketing of these models.
I remember reading a long time ago that these ship models were produced to be sold on board the vessels themselves as souvenirs. I'm not sure I believe this but its a good story!
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