Saturday, September 1, 2012

Not Dun Questing

The book sale was surprisingly low key this year. The overall selection was good, but there weren’t a lot of horse-themed books to be had. I might go back on Monday for the box sale anyway, because they did have lots of vintage astronomy books, another odd and unprofitable obsession of mine.

(I also really like old Botany textbooks, and Latin Grammars. Mostly for the really beautiful illustrations.)

Oh, and just to let you know, I’ve finally made a decision on who gets to be my next official one True Grail, now that I’ve found the Man o’ War of my dreams.

It’s Yellow Mount.

I’ve had many Yellow Mounts over the years, but none of them ever worked out for me. The color wouldn’t be quite right, or there would be condition issues, or the masking would be just a bit too fuzzy for my tastes.

The earliest variation, with the blue ribbon sticker, dorsal stripe, and pinkish hooves would be ideal, of course, but they’re way more difficult to come by than the early Man o’ Wars. It’s been years since I’ve seen one like that up for sale, and the price it went for was definitely not to my liking.

I’d settle for a Presentation Series piece, or a nice Chalky, or even a late example with no forearm spot and dark greyish hooves. I suspect I’ll end up with most of them, by the time the quest runs its course.

All it means in the short term is that I’ll be spending a little extra time ogling Yellow Mount-infested listings on eBay and MH$P. I did have him on my want list for BreyerFest this year, but I was tapped out - of enthusiasm, and money - fairly early.

As I noted above, the earliest Yellow Mounts had dorsal stripes - a subtle acknowledgement of the fact that the real Yellow Mount was actually Red Dun, not Chestnut. Breyer called him a "Chestnut Paint’ right from the get go, though. From the 1970 Collector’s Manual, the year he debuted:

I don’t know if this was a simple mistake, or if Breyer "simplified" the color for the general market. Yeah, the really horse-crazy kids would know what a Red Dun is, but an average consumer has a hard enough time telling a Bay from a Chestnut. It had only been a couple years earlier that Breyer itself had even figured out the difference!

It’s not that big a deal nowadays - in fact, trying to upsell an older mold with an exotic color is all the rage these days. (Remember the "Silver Dapple Dilute Dun" on a more recent release of the Adios, Frappe? Of course you do!)

The Yellow Mount lost his dorsal stripe early on - like so many other early decorating changes, a matter of cost. What’s interesting, though, is that while the Yellow Mounts eventually morphed into a somewhat standard Chestnut, a lot of Breyer Chestnut paint jobs of the 1970s looked more like Red Dun than Chestnut, particularly the Stablemates ones:

Go figure.

5 comments:

Highadventure said...

Wow--what an interesting pattern that guy has! I've never seen that on ANY Yellow Mount...and I've seen my share over the years....
You ever seen one in "real life" with that kind of pattern, Andrea?
Amy W.

ANDREA said...

No, I haven't. As far as I know, it was a test color piece.

I imagine if it ever did resurface, it would go for mucho bucks.

Anonymous said...

I got my Yellow Mount in 1970 and it's chestnut, not dun and it has the forearm spot.

I have another Yellow Mount that is dun and it doesn't have a forearm spot.

Mine just seem to be different from what you're saying.

ANDREA said...

There's always room for variation, but in general, earlier ones have tend to have the dorsal.

And regardless, he was always called chestnut.

Anonymous said...

I know he has always been called chestnut.

Do all the dun variations that are actually called chestnuts have dorsal stripes? Or, would one without a dorsal stripe not be thought of as a dun, but rather as just a lighter variation of chestnut -- not really the dun.