Saturday, January 15, 2011

That Charcoal Five-Gaiter

I suppose you’ve all heard of it, seen it, or bid on it by now. For those of you who haven’t, here’s the link:

Charcoal Five-Gaiter

That means there are at least three - or possibly four - vintage Charcoal Five-Gaiters now in collector hands. As I said on Blab: one is an oddity, two is a coincidence, but three or four now becomes something else.

But what kind of something else - a special run, regular run, or some crazy sort of color variation?

My guess is that it represents yet another brief, early regular run model, like the Buckskin Running Mare and Foal and (possibly) the Appaloosa Shetland Pony. From the level of detail on these models, it’s also possible that these models were sales rep pieces from a proposed regular run that was cancelled before it went into production, sort of like what happened to the original Small Poodle.

The ribbon colors on the Charcoals are identical to the Gloss Palominos, and some have suggested that these fellows are just a more-peculiar-than-average variation of the Palomino. That’s a very appealing notion: the Five-Gaiter’s distinctive "Honey Sorrel" coloring appears on a number of early models (the Family Arabians, the Fighting Stallion, the Western Prancing Horse) as an apparent variation of Bay.

Another point in that theory’s favor is that term "Charcoal Palomino." As I’ve discussed before, "Charcoal Palomino" is a term that appears in some early Breyer-related ephemera, and was used to describe the color we now simply call Charcoal. That term, as far as we know, still hasn’t shown up on any actual Breyer materials from that time period (yet), so there’s still a slight chance that it was a term coined by the mail-order companies instead.

Gloss Charcoal and Gloss Palomino were both introduced as new Breyer colorways at roughly the same time - ca. 1961 - and if they were using the term "Charcoal Palomino" to describe the Charcoal, I could see how that could have lead to interesting mistakes happening. (Are some of you salivating at the thought of Gloss Palomino Mustangs? I know I am.)

Rather than regrind the otherwise perfectly good mistakes, they could have discreetly mixed them in with the regular shipments. Or perhaps, they made it a one-time-only, oops-we-made-a-mistake offer.

As always, our lack of documentation from the era is a problem.

Bidding got real crazy, real quick, so I’m not even going to entertain the thought of putting one in.

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