Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Tale of Two Belgians

I had a big day full of activities planned, but I was totally wiped after walking the dog this morning. Stupid summer cold is totally kicking my butt today. Can’t even taste the lemon bars I made as a treat for getting through this crazy week.

Hope I feel better in time for the flea market in the morning.

Anyway, here is a picture of one of the Smoke Belgians I picked up in one of those large collections I purchased recently:

Yes, he has a chipped ear. Believe it or not, he was the better of the two Smoke Belgians I had to choose from.

Condition is one of the primary criteria in Collectibility judging, but it is not necessarily the most important. The other Belgian was completely intact, but he just wasn’t as … nice. The masking wasn’t quite as clean, he had a few dings, and his shading wasn’t as soft and velvety as this one. Oh, he’s a good piece - but this guy was just seemed a little bit better. Even with a chipped ear.

The Smoke Belgian is another one of those models that seems to elude my grasp. It’s not that he’s that rare - he ran from 1964 through 1971, a decent length of time - it’s that condition has always been an issue. Every single one I’ve found had something wrong with him. Not just a ding or two, but stains, cracks, chips, seam splits - the whole litany of disqualifiers.

So this collection came with two Smoke Belgians, and I was pretty excited about the possibility of finding My Smoke Belgian between the two. What sealed the deal, I think, was when the seller gestured to the two of them and mentioned that he was one of her favorites.

"His name was Chester," she said. Dang it, he had a name. I had to keep him. I mean, keep one: she didn’t specifically point out which one of the two was her childhood equine squeeze, so I had the luxury of choosing who got to be Chester.

Initially I thought the intact one was going to be him - chipped ears are usually an automatic out when it comes to collecting - but once I got the two of them home, and cleaned up, it wasn’t so easy a decision.

I finally went with the one I "liked" better, because of all things that go into defining Collectibility, none of that matters if you don’t "like" a model to begin with.


Anonymous said...

Yup, sometimes a model just tells you it's the one. Found my smoke Belgian at the HIN one year. Sure, he could use some whitening, he's not perfect, & I don't really go for drafts, but he TOLD me to take him home!

His name is Mark.

Anonymous said...

I still have my smoke Belgian I got for Christmas 1965 from my Grandma. He's still mint. My Dad got me a bay King at the same time I still have him too. Both Grandma and Dad are gone now, so these guys are very special to me.