Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Charcoal Palomino?

I was reviewing some of my earlier material the other day - the stuff from that nebulous, lightly documented period of 1961/2 - and again found myself wondering about the origins and history of the color Charcoal.

The color Charcoal didn’t make its debut on a Breyer model until ca. 1961, when it first appears on the Mustang. On the duotone insert sheet, he’s simply listed as "Charcoal." (Interestingly, Charcoal is not listed as an available color for the Fighting Stallion, which means he might have been a later, or last-minute addition to the lineup.) Charcoal is the term used to describe this color in all known Breyer catalogs and price lists (except in the rare instances where an exceptionally dark Smoke model that could pass for Charcoal was represented. Those were still called "Smoke.")

However, in a couple of early mail-order fliers - both from Red Bird Sales, and Mission Supply House - the term used to describe the same color is "Charcoal Palomino." The fact that both of these mail order companies used this rather idiosyncratic way to describe this color suggests that they took it from the same source: presumably, from a still-missing wholesale price list from that era (1961, I'm guessing.)

Here’s a little snippet from the ca. 1961 Mission Supply House flier. I was going to include clips from the ca. 1961 Red Bird Sales flier, but they’re really poor quality multigenerational copies and rather unsightly. This is straight from an original.

That Breyer used one term to describe a color in the catalog, and quite another on their wholesale price lists, is something we covered briefly just a couple days ago. It’s not a surprise. Or a really big deal, to be honest, though it does suggest an interesting research topic.

What if Charcoals were actually based on an actual photograph of an especially Dark Palomino? Or maybe it was a photograph that labeled this color "Charcoal Palomino"? If so, it could be possible to track down the photograph that actually inspired the color.

Were other oddball colors - like the Gray Appaloosas, and "Honey Sorrel" also taken from similar photographic inspirations? Hmm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's interesting! I've always assumed the charcoal was meant to represent silver dapple - which, come to think of it, has frequently been mislabeled as both chestnut and palomino.

- Ingunn Aa (Hippo)