Just something short and sweet. I’m still feeling a little down today.
I thought I’d share a particularly handsome and treasured little dude here at my ranch: he’s a splash-spot test color for the leopard Pony of the Americas. I purchased him from the Nicklas sisters a couple of years ago at Breyerfest. Pam and Polly were very active in the 1980s, and had a reputation for having a rather fine collection. I have no doubts about his authenticity:
My guy is very similar to the test model that appears on the POA’s original white picture box, but he’s not identical. This is not surprising: as I’ve mentioned before, test colors were rarely unique, especially during the Chicago era. I always lusted after the model on the box - I was extremely enamored of the POA when he was first released back in 1976, and I had always hoped that I could find him, or a model just like him someday. So when I saw him, I knew that instant he was coming home with me. He ain’t mint, but I don’t care!
(I’m still very fond of the mold today, but I’m not so sure about that newly remodeled mane and tail. I’ll just have to wait and see one in person, I guess.)
I’ve always been very curious about the models that have appeared in catalogs, boxes and other promotional materials. Some of them are undoubtedly airbrush, touch-up or Photoshop creations, and therefore nonexistent, but some of them aren’t. Some we’ve been able to track down. The story about the 1981 Dealer’s Catalog test stand-ins for the Stock Horse Stallion is relatively well-known, and I have pictures of other known photo shoot models in Marney’s album, too.
I own a few other models that I have suspected of being photographic models - bought from certain folks, or under certain situations that make the notion seem at least plausible. I haven’t been able to confirm any of them, unfortunately.
I’m a little surprised that Reeves hasn’t taken the opportunity to label and sell their duplicate photo shoot models as such - at the Breyer Sales Tent, at the very least. Some of them are undoubtedly samples now residing in the sample room, but what of the rest?
They’ve been touting various "Artist’s Proofs" of the showier, more desirable specials as prizes, gifts and donations - some of whom I suspect were done primarily for photographic intentions. (I’m not entirely sure I like the term "Artist’s Proof": sounds like a bit of marketing puffery to me. If it’s a test, or a sample, or a preproduction piece, call it that: there’s no need to gild those particular lilies!)
That’s all very nice of them, but even the "proofs" of ordinary regular run models have some appeal to collectors. I have a Lady Roxana piece that I suspect might be one: I got her for less than retail - she is, after all, a Lady Roxana - but she still has a place of honor on my shelf next to the less humble treasures. Like my POA.