Saturday, April 17, 2010

Angus Black and Angus Red

Is today Friday or Saturday? I’ve lost track. It was another rougher than expected week; I didn’t make it home from work one night. (Chocolate cupcakes were involved. That’s all I’m saying.)

When I’ve had a few moments to think this week, I’ve been thinking about, of all things, the Standing Black Angus Bull.

Nobody thinks much about the #365 Standing Black Angus Bull. That’s because there’s not much to think about. He was introduced in 1978, as an updated and more to-scale replacement for the Walking Angus Bull, and discontinued with most of the "Farm Friends" molds in 2004. He came in basic solid Black, without much (if any) shading. Some have glossed eyes, and for a few months in 1997, he came with bi-eyes.

And that’s about all there is to know.

I do have one in my collection, but only by accident. A few years ago on eBay I bought a large lot of Breyer non-equines that included, as its main attractions, a SR Hampshire Hog and a Polled Holstein Cow and Calf set. A Black Standing Angus Bull just happened to come with. Even though I didn’t have one in my collection at the time, he was initially slated to go to the saleslist with some of the duplicates in the lot.

I decided to give him a reprieve. I still had a bit of room to work with back then, and I figured, what the heck? He had fallen into good company, so he must have had some merit I hadn’t noticed yet. No harm in keeping him around.

There was a little bit of sympathy in the decision, too. While he’s not a part of the display collection at the moment, I always manage to shoot a bit of positive mojo his way whenever I run across him in the storage collection. I totally understand the whole "not being noticed" thing, buddy; you’ll get your moment in the sun someday. (Like me, I hope.)

In contrast, his one SR counterpart, the Red Angus Bull (aka "The Big Red One") has enough history, complications and attention to spare. He was an early SR in an era when we didn’t have a lot to choose from (something that would change very, very quickly in the early 1980s) and a non-horse SR? Now that was something!

There were about 1000 models made, in four batches: 100 of the first batch, 200 of the second, 300 of the third, and presumably 400 of the fourth. The first batch of 100 is easy to distinguish from the rest, as they came with pinkish noses: the subsequent releases did not.

Later releases can be distinguished from each other by their hand-numbering: each batch had a slightly different numbering system. The first batch was over 100 (i.e. "23/100") the second over 200 ("145/200"), the third batch over 300 ("223/300"); the fourth batch didn’t indicate a batch quantity number ("278.")

Mine’s from the second batch: I’m not feeling up to photographing the numbering between his front legs to show you, so I’ll just scan the certificate he came with instead:

I still have the box he came in, too: just an ordinary illustrated shipper for the #365. The box is as I received it, save for the tape being yellowed and all that; all I did was slit the box open, pulled the bull out, and tossed the box in my closet, like a good little history nerd. The handwriting is original, and not my own.

I'm not normally a big fan of his "dead red" coloring, but it looks good on him. Breyer thought so too, and followed up a short time later with another SR Bull release - the Shorthorn Bull, on the Charolais mold.

I have one of those too, sorta. It's another long story.


GWR said...

I just spotted a pair of black Angus bulls at a local antique shop yesterday: the old walking one w/halter and the larger standing one. I would have loved to have brought them both home, but they were $30 each and I can't afford to spend $60 at the moment. :(

Christine said...

I have a pink nosed one and he is one of my very favorite models.

Anonymous said...

Anybody interested in selling a red angus?