Monday, July 13, 2009

The Charger Award

The house is a wreck, my brain is melting, and I can't think of a single thing to talk about that doesn't involve more work than I'm willing to invest in right now. Gah!

Maybe I'll prattle on a bit about the Little Bits line. Specifically, about a Little Bit I'm sure a lot of you may not have heard about – or seen. It's the 1989 Charger Award:

It's basically a leftover Charger – a Special Run Dapple Gray Shire made in 1989 for Hobby Center Toys, in Toledo, Ohio – mounted on a wooden plaque with a brass plate engraved with the Breyer logo. Originally it also came with a small plaque on the front that would have said “Charger Award 1989,” but mine lost it somewhere along the way, which would partly explain why I got it for a song on eBay a while back.

These awards were made slightly before the time they started issuing test colors to Sales Reps instead, who in turn discovered they could get quite a substantial little bonus if they sold those (discreetly, through a third party) to the collectors' market. (Thus quickly ending that little experiment.)

The Charger Award isn't as well-known – or notorious – as those Sales Rep Tests; the fact that it's basically a repurposed Special Run of a model from a little-collected line also doesn't help his reputation. Kind of a shame, really. Relatively speaking, he's quite rare – far more rare than even the few other Little Bits that do command some collector attention, such as the Carousel Horses or the Flaxen Chestnut Saddlebred Toy Fair Promo.

As in any hobby, though, value and rarity don't necessarily go hand in hand: there are relatively common models that command crazy amounts of money, and then there are pieces of exceeding rarity that attract little or no attention at all.

Most of the disparity between price and rarity, however, is due to flawed knowledge, or a lack of knowledge: if you don't know something is rare or even exists, you're not likely to go out of your way to purchase it, unless you happen to be a particularly obsessive collector of a particular mold or series in the first place.

My friends are always amazed at the kind of stuff I pull out of the BreyerFest Sales Tent or in the HIN. Sometimes, though, I feel a little embarrassed when I do find something kinda awesome right under everyone else's noses, and often far cheaper than it oughta be. That's another reason why I do this blog: by adding to – and sometimes correcting – the Breyer History knowledge base out there, it makes the playing field a little more level and more fun for everyone.

Really, I don't mind having a little competition. Makes it sweeter, actually: instead of giving me a puzzled look when I show off my next awesome find, you'll actually know what I'm excited about. And then you can show me yours.

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