Friday, March 29, 2013

Hiding In Plain Sight

The schedule went all haywire on me again. It was supposed to be a nice, quiet week before the Easter break, but rumor has it that some work policy changes are forthcoming, hence all the last-minute changes.

All I can say is that I am so looking forward to my three-day weekend.

The newest Collector Club Web Special is up and it’s a "chalky blue roan overo" Esprit, named Poseidon. I actually like him, a lot: I love pretty much anything roan, and if any mold can pull off a semi-Decorator paint job, it’s Esprit. I won’t be brokenhearted if I don’t win him, but if I do, he probably won’t be going anywhere.

It’s interesting that the announcement e-mail specifically used the word "chalky" in his color description, as a selling point. They have before - the Clydesdale Magnus comes to mind - but with the current uptick in interest in vintage Chalkies, it did stand out to me.

Chalky prices have been crazy for a while now, but with the recent discussion on Blab about the Decorator overpaints, the market for some of them - the molds used for Decorators, specifically - has really gone through the roof.

(For those of you who are not familiar with them, they would be: the Five-Gaiter, the Running Mare, the Running Foal, the Fighting Stallion, and the Mustang.)

As more collectors hold their Chalkies up to a strong light (literally), more are being revealed. I’m now comfortable with saying that it appears that a significant chunk of the unsold warehouse stock of Decorators was probably "chalked" into other, better-selling colors.

Not all Chalky Gaiters, Running Mares and Foals et al should automatically be assumed to be overpainted Decorators: only the ones without the USA mark have that potential. And the solid colors (Golden Charm, Wedgewood Blue) will be harder to discern in the light than the dappled ones (Florentine, Copenhagen).

I have always wondered why the vintage Decorators were so gosh-darned-it rare, especially when other models from the 1960s with similarly short production runs aren’t quite as hard to find. A nice #191 Gray Bucking Bronco, for instance, can be tough, but not on the same level as almost any given Decorator.

I just assumed that the rarity was a consequence of just how badly the sales did tank. Not entirely: it now appears that Breyer made a concerted effort to make their first dismal foray into the home decorating market disappear, almost completely.

I do have a Chalky Five-Gaiter in my herd; alas, like most of my other Chalkies, he’s in storage somewhere. I haven’t run across him yet in my current culling, mostly due to (again) the time issues. He used to be quite a dependable little show horse for me back in my live showing days. It would be absolutely hysterical to me if he turned out to be a Decorator, too.

Whether he is - or is not - is not going to be found out this weekend. Too much other stuff to catch up on. Like my taxes - and my sleep.


GWR said...

I'm glad the chalkies I want aren't on deco molds. :D Although it would put me over the moon with joy to find a painted-over decorator.

Anonymous said...

A funny thing happened on the way to my horse room. I finally checked my 5-gaited and sure as shootin', he has the blotchyness under the paint of an overpainted decorator. I always thought he was a moldy, not a chalkorator! Now what? Admire him as is, or can you strip to the decorator paint without damage?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't, there's a passage in Nancy Young's book about someone who ruined their chalky deco trying to strip the paint down. Just leave him the way he is, he'll still be appreciated. :)