Over the years, I have heard much speculation regarding the higher number of available of test shot prototypes that flooded the market between the POTJ & SAGA era. This surge created a theory of "coffee break" prototypes, suggesting that factory employees were using existing steel molds, to reproduce test shots created after-the-fact and in the efforts to sell them on platforms like eBay, where they can turn a quick profit.
While first shots (and test shots) are legitimately produced in an unknown quantity for a number of approval processes and are sent to a number of different departments for the purpose of engineering, safety, toy development, licensor approval, etc., they were never intended to be released for the general public and were often destroyed. In earlier days, it wasn't uncommon for local Kenner/Employees to take them home. In fact many examples of POTF2 prototypes have turned up over the years as a result. I have seen dozens of the same figures for sale at some of the early conventions.
So I am wondering if anyone has any knowledge regarding roughly how many first shots (or test shots) are produced for each character in the pre-production process? I am also wondering if there is any evidence to support the "coffee break" prototype theory or if factory workers became more wise and creative on how to smuggle these from the factory, based on the visibility of value and ease of sales through platforms like eBay? What's your thoughts?