The IGRF secular variation model for 1985-1990 was adopted by the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy at its Prague meeting in August 1985 as an average of the three candidate models submitted to the committee. We compared the three models at epoch 1985.0 against each other and against a new model based on observatory data available as of July 1, 1985. These comparisons showed that one of the three candidate models disagreed more with the other two and our model, especially in the eastern Pacific. None of the candidate models was seen to respond to a change in the secular variation of the vertical component that appears to have taken place most strongly in the western Pacific area since 1982. The lack of satellite data was seen to be a significant handicap towards prediction of the field change over most of the Earth's surface, especially the southern oceans. Maximum errors of any model are estimated to be of the order of 80 nT a-1. ?? 1987.