Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Details, Again

Sorry about that. I couldn't find the picture I wanted to use for my next topic, so in addition to all of the other junk I had planned to finally deal with, I had to sort through my research slush pile, too. This made me a little cranky and not in any humor to write. (And the picture is still missing. Fooey!)

Onto the next topic.

Have you noticed that Reeves seems to have dropped the ball on the history details, lately? They were doing decently there for a while – a few minor errors here and there that were probably just typos – but the most recent Daily Breyer postings on their Facebook page have been really sloppy. Not one, but THREE of the Hagen-Renaker Maureen Love sculpts have been featured (the Classic Mustang Stallion, the Classic Swaps, and the Stablemates Thoroughbred Mare) with wording that suggests they were sculpted for Breyer in 1975 or 1976. Again!

As I've said before, the lack of mention about Hagen-Renaker could be some sort of legal technicality related to the terms of the leasing contract, but the wording could have been so much better. Instead of “sculpted in 1975 by Maureen Love Calvert” it could have read “sculpted by Maureen Love Calvert and released by Breyer in 1975.”

Similar words, with quite different meanings: the former says that Maureen sculpted them in 1975, implying it was for Breyer, while the latter leaves room for H-R: Maureen sculpted it, and Breyer released it in 1975. If the leases should be renewed in the future, the latter statement would not need the extensive rewriting of history that the former would need. (Can you tell I've had some legal training?)

Anyway, as recent controversies have highlighted, Reeves really needs to parse their words a little more carefully. Not just because of the possible legal ramifications to the company, but because it affects collectors directly, when it comes to something like Collectibility Judging.

As a recent commenter pointed out, it's a real problem when the Collectibility judge decides to stick to the “official” sources for their information. While it may seem like it's nitpicking on my part, it's not, if either the judge or the shower relies on the Facebook page as their reference. It's an “official” page, written by actual Reeves employees, and is thus given a measure of credibility that a shower's personal research may not. Even if the shower's information is correct, and the “official” information is wrong.

It's not just the H-R molds they've been getting wrong, either: they also gave the Traditional Man o' War a release date of 1969, instead of the correct date of 1967. Kinda weird, since it's something that's never really been a point of dispute, since most of us history buffs have copies of the dated 1960s pricelists that make most of the release dates from 1964 through 1969 fairly clear. (Most, but not all. You know the drill.)

Here's another missed detail that I just noticed last night as I was doing a little paperwork for the newest members of the herd. Notice something “off” about the Pony Gals Stablemates packaging?

Here's a scan from the back:

And here's a scan from the front:

Since when did Big Ben become a Stablemate? Or is there something they're not telling us about the upcoming G4 molds? ;)


DrSteggy said...

If the issue is in the showring, how holders can recommend what their judges are using as "official" historical info--many shows have books that can be used to double check anything controversial.

I don't judge collectibility--I'm not in anyway educated enough to make an intelligent decision in that arena, but I find the subject pretty fascinating, especially as I organize my recently moved collection--but most shows pick judges ahead of time so questions about things like what wort of source materials are considered good one can be dealt with ahead of time. It wasn't that long ago where this stuff was just what "everyone knew" so the idea of needing reference for collectibility is still a changing area. Its much easier when you can, say, go to Pour Horse and ask "How many of these did you make?" and get a straight answer rather than deal with a company with very different priorities than a hobbyist.

Anonymous said...

That's why a book like Nancy Young's was so important to those of us who collect Vintage. She didn't rely solely on company information, but rather went out and searched for factual proof of dates, information on obscure special runs through both company materials and through the hobbyists. We'll never, ever know everything about Breyer simply because of the poor recordkeeping. But we can still try and learn as much as we can, and encourage rather than stonewall those trying to keep a record for future collectors.

Reeves tosses out so much erroneous information is isn't funny at times. Not only in JAH and their Facebook posts, but look at the crap breed information they've published on the recent classics boxes. Whoever does their research sucks. They need to hire some real horse people.

Carrie said...

As far as judging collectibility goes, the issue in the show ring seems not to be the older, vintage Breyers; most long-time collectors know all about them, regardless of what erroneous information Breyer puts out about them. It's the newer SRs that are difficult to keep track of, and Breyer is notoriously unreliable about how many and where they are released.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, they have been horrid recently about some of the sudden special runs that pop up--like the Target X-mas horses last year.... BUT, at least with the internet and people being really good about jumping in and announcing finds quickly, we can track where they show up, and when. We may not have numbers made, but it's something.