Monday, March 21, 2011

The Commons

Finally got caught up on my online reading - it was a little less pleasant than I was expecting, but understandably so, considering the season. That’s why I’ve given up giving up caffeine or chocolate for Lent - there’s no need to share the suffering with folks who’ve chosen to not participate.

My personal Lenten prohibition against candy does not automatically preclude chocolate, BTW - hence my current mania for baking. Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip scones … it’s all good. Though I did go for something different Saturday night, and made some raisin-walnut butter cookies instead. They turned out great - light, flaky, not overly sweet. (The secret: soaking the raisins in hot water for an hour before baking. That way they don’t absorb all of the moisture from the dough and make it crumbly and dry.)

I have some sour cream leftover from my scone experimentation (Orange Cranberry, last week!), so I’ll probably be making a coffee cake next weekend.

Since I’ve now managed to (at least temporarily) downgrade my poverty from dire to merely abject, I’ve found myself trolling eBay and MH$P for an inexpensive indulgence or two. One item that’ll be discussing later this week has already arrived, in fact - I just haven’t had the time to open the package yet. (Rough morning at work = longer than expected nap this afternoon.)

Mostly I’ve been thinking about upgrading, or finally acquiring, a few of the more common models. I have a near complete chorus line of Western Prancing Horses, for example, but a #112 Palomino (!) has so far eluded me.

It’s not for a lack of trying - I’ve had lots and lots of Palomino WPHs over the years, but none of them have been quite right. Either they’ve had some sort of condition issue - sloppy airbrushing, funky trimming flaws - or they’ve been some unsuitable shade of orange or neon yellow. Nothing wrong with those particular shades of palomino, mind you, but they’re not the ones I envision my "perfect" Palomino Western Prancing Horse to be.

A good example of a "Perfect, but Common" model in my collection is my lovely little Bay Running Mare. She’s mint, she’s semi-gloss, she’s got wonderful shading, and eyewhites:

The only thing that could possibly make her better would be an original box - like my Semi-rough Cut Walking Black Angus. As far as I’m concerned, she’s it for me: she’s as unupgradable as it gets. That’s the kind of Palomino WPH I’m looking for.

I’ve seen a few good candidates, but most of the time, they’ve been lumped into group lots with something more glamorous and fashionable. A person bidding on a lot to get the MIB Palomino WPH is always going to lose to the person bidding on the same lot to get the Sorrel Fighting Stallion.

Especially since I already have a Sorrel Fighting Stallion, and don’t feel like going through the bother of reselling it to recoup the big investment I’d have to make to get it. (An enviable position to be in, I know. Still, weird.)

One approach to collecting Commons - acquiring the full range of variations for certain long-running models - has been around for years, but has been gaining in popularity in recently, mostly due to eBay’s evil influence. ("I’m not in the market for another Dapple Gray Proud Arabian Mare, but I don’t have one with those kinds of dapples…")

My approach - seeking out the best possible examples, with all the trimmings - is just starting to seep into the collecting mainstream. It’s always been there, too, but as a whole class of upper-end models recedes from the purchasing reach of many collectors, I think it might become the next big trend in Breyer collecting.

("Fie on you and your fancy-schmantzy Woodgrain Belgian! I have a Matte Palomino Fighting with mint footpads and scrotum dots!")

Time for bed? Yep, I think so.


Carrie said...

You may just be right about collecting "commons" as the next rend in the hobby.

BTW, try soaking raisins in orange juice overnight before using them in oatmeal cookies.


Little Black Car said...

Oh, darn. I've been collecting commons forever. I'll get priced out of the market if everyone starts doing it. ;-)

I would just about kill for that Running Mare. She's fantastic. My "prize" is a palomino Grazing Mare in a fantastic shade of toasted-marshmallow brown. I've had more people who don't even collect OF's try to buy her off of me than I can count. I've also got a pristine bay Rearing Stallion with mind-blowing shading, and a 1970's matte bay FAS who is so beautiful that my mother wouldn't let me leave a show without buying him (even though she thinks I already have way too many horses).