Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Banner Headline

Doesn’t this year’s Tractor Supply Special Banner ship soon? I was just thinking about him today, as I was perusing my local Meijer store’s Breyer selection. (Nothing new or interesting yet, but they are doing some store resets, so I’m keeping my eye on them.) Here’s an interesting promo pic of him, from a TSC coupon they were handing out in the Pit this year:

I did get a good look at the Banners for sale in the Pit: a rich, chocolatey bay that looked good enough to eat. I almost put one in my pile, but then I passed him along to someone else. I have several Tractor Supply stores within a modest driving distance (and one nearly in WALKING distance!) so there’s no real availability issue for me as there is with other hobbyists. If I were to suddenly be overcome with the sudden need for him, I could probably swing it.

The only thing that made me hesitate in the Pit was the fact that these Banners were low-numbered pieces, like the Puukus in the Pit last year. I don’t go out of my way to obtain low serial-numbered pieces, but I’ve happened to have the good fortune of finding several in my shopping excursions, and I wouldn’t mind keeping up the practice. (My store-bought TSC Cochise from last year was #21. Neat!)

There’s no real added "value" to having a low serial-numbered piece, other than the cachet of it being a low number. Unlike fine art pieces, where molds and plates can deteriorate quickly, there is little if any loss of detail in a 3700 piece Breyer run. The models themselves are not kept in any particular order until they’re actually finished. Number 2,673 could be as nice, or even better, than number 3, depending on who finished it, and when.

I hope these serially-numbered specials do continue to get their low numbered pre-releases in the Pit. It would actually make those low serial numbers really matter, because we’d be able to distinguish them as pre-release models. Those hobbyists who want to handpick a show horse will still be able to do so on their own time in their own local retailer, but those of us who get up before humanly necessary to brave the Pit might get something that’s just a shade more special.

I’m not sure if I’ll be getting Banner; it’s not a matter of money, but space. As in, I’m really quite short of it. The second half of the flea market season has been unseasonably good - where was all this stuff when I needed to restock for BreyerFest this year? - and things are getting a little bit crowded here. All I’ve been able to swing are those Pony Gals Stablemates - 8 down, 4 to go - and even those are a tight fit. Time to list more stuff on MH$P…


Sara said...

There's an interesting piece of Breyer trivia that I've always wanted to ask you about. Years ago, when Millers was going out of business, I bought the last of the Snowbounds, about 10 of them. Most of them were in the 200-500 number range, but the one I kept for myself has a really low number... I think maybe 24 but I have to look it up. Anyway, all of the certificates looked like they had a black printed William Steinkraus signature, except my #24 which is clearly actually signed and in blue ink! It's a perfect example of something that nobody cares about, on a not-especially-popular model... but I'd love to know the story! Did he sign the first 100? first 50? Were they meant to go to family and friends? I've always wondered.

I've always loved low numbers too, and in some cases like Snowbound they really are more unique!

ANDREA said...

I hadn't heard that about the Snowbounds before, but it doesn't surprise me - your theory about it being an early batch intended for a specific audience sounds right. I'll have to keep my eye out for one!

Weird stuff like that sneaks out of the factory all the time, BTW. We used to have a Toys R Us around here that always got the oddballs.

My lowest numbered piece is my 1984 JAH SR ASBW - I have number 2! I purchased her from a former Breyer employee, but I never got around to asking her the specific circumstances - was it something she picked up at the factory, or was it just a lucky, later purchase?