Monday, February 28, 2011

Insert Sheets, Pt. I

In case you haven’t heard, the rumor is that some of the leftover Esprits - the Dappled Gray ones, NOT the Chestnuts - are in the Tuesday Morning store sales mix this in this go-round. Not a lot, but some. The thought of a half-priced Esprit is enough to consider amending my budget slightly.

It looks like I’m not going to be anywhere near a Tuesday Morning this Tuesday morning, though, so it doesn’t look like any amending will be necessary. I’ll still be doing a look-see in the afternoon (we do need some new garden trellises) but the store I’ll be hitting gets shopped hard. The other stores are a just a little bit too far out of the way to make it worth my while, with gas prices being what they are. So it looks like I’ll have to wait until BreyerFest before I add an example of the Esprit mold to my collection.

Speaking of that, I just noticed that the deadline for the Early Bird pricing on BreyerFest tickets has been moved up to April 1st this year, instead of the more customary late April date. Good thing I noticed that when I did. I hate putting more money on the CC, but it’ll save me a few bucks in the short term, and hey, there’s always that teeny-tiny possibility of winning one of those Early Bird Raffle horses, right?

Otherwise it’s been pretty quiet on the model horse front here, again. It’s still a good six weeks before the flea market opens, and the pickings at the antique malls and thrift stores have been a little slim. There have been a few items that caught my eye on eBay, but we’ll deal with them if and when they get here.

Work will take me near the main branch of the Detroit Public Library next week, and you know what that means - another research field trip! I’ve just been itching to go, especially since I’ll be tacking the critical 1957-1961 timeframe. We’ve been able to infer quite a bit from the references we already have, but paper confirmation would totally rock my world.

As you all know, my world is sorely in need of some rocking.

A couple of you in the comments wanted some further discussion of one of those rare references we have from that time period - the 1961 Insert Sheets. Since I’m a running a little short on inspiration today, it seems like a good time to provide it.

The 1961 Insert Sheets materialized in the 1990s, and consisted of 4 single-sided duotone sheets, featuring the Fighting Stallion, the Mustang, the Five-Gaiter, and the Modernistic Buck and Doe. The sheets are physically undated and as far as I know, came without any other supplementary materials to help date them.

They are assumed to be from 1961 based on corroborating evidence from contemporaneous mail-order catalogs and magazine ads. They also have greater similarities to the design and color scheme of the 1960 Dealer’s Catalog than the 1963 one.

Back then, Breyer didn’t issue a new Dealer’s Catalog every year: it was just too expensive. They’d print one base catalog, and make additions via separately printed sheets that could be inserted later - either loosely, or stapled in a signature.

This was pretty much Breyer’s standard operating procedure up until the early 1970s, when they finally started printing new (or at least reformatted) catalogs every year. It sometimes makes for some difficulties in dating, especially in the Dealer Catalogs of the late 1960s.

The 1964 Dealer Sheets - featuring the Deer Family, Stretched Morgan, and Belgian - are a little less notorious, mainly because there’s less mystery surrounding them. For one thing, we already knew that these molds appeared in 1964: we have copies of the 1964 Breyer pricelist to prove it.

We don’t have any pricelists for the period of 1959 through 1962, however. (Oh, how I long for them!) That those four sheets appear as a set implies that they were all released within a short period of time from each other. Some of them in that group might have been released earlier than others, but they were all (I assume) available by the time the sheets were printed. And the most logical date for them is 1961.

The scanner is misbehaving, and I’m running a little short on time, so I’ll finish up the insert sheet discussion in my next post.


Helen said...

I found an Esprit at my local Tuesday Morning down in Virginia. I only saw one (he was behind some other models), though I didn't comb the whole store. I thought his coat looked paler than the other Esprits I've seen, though I've seen only a few. I don't have any Esprits, but I didn't buy him. I'll leave him to someone who cares more about collecting.

Xyzzy said...

I bought the lone one in my city's Tuesday Morning here in California at $20. I think that they must have been rejects or something -- there are areas untouched by box or ties that lack any paint (like bottom of the left hind leg). Good enough for my casual sits-on-a-shelf collection, though!

Stockstill Stables said...

I found one too. Thanks so much for mentioning them being there, I really did not expect to get one.

Lindsay said...

I second the thanks! I stopped at our local one yesterday and found an Esprit. They also had a bunch of PonyGals stuff and a 6-piece blanket set (in the box) and the trail class set. I also signed up for their email and flyer list so that I can keep an eye out.