Saturday, April 27, 2013

My New Favorite Thing

I am substantially better than last time, though still not sufficiently up to snuff to tell you why most of what you know about the Black Family Arabians is probably wrong. Next time, really.

In the meantime, here is my new favorite thing in the whole world - a Bentley Sales Company sales list from 1973:

(Click to enlarge. HUGE DISCLAIMER: in case it is unclear, this is a FORTY-year-old price list. NOTHING on here is available for sale anymore, much less at these prices. Strictly being published here for informational/educational purposes only. That’s what the big-huge VOID is for. Got it?)

We have lots of wholesale price lists from that time period - or before - but not a lot of retail price lists, outside of the limited selections available in the Christmas/Holiday catalogs. From what I can remember, the prices here weren’t too far off from what I saw in our local retail establishments.

What’s a wonder to me about this price list is not how low the prices are - that’s a conversation that’s long since lost its probative value to me - but that it managed to survive at all. The Bentley Sales Company was started in 1969, and the earliest flier in my possession I had from them prior to this was from 1977.

Also, it’s another lovely reminder of just how deep "hobby history" really goes: this is a forty-year-old piece of paper. It’s not even the oldest piece of paper in my collection.

It’s still within living memory, it’s true, but that memory is slowly getting swamped by the Internet, and its endless desire for newness and variety. The latest "hot thing" is replaced by the next "hot thing" sometimes within a matter of weeks.

Time moved so much slower, it seems, back then. "Special Runs" were a rarity, and Regular Run models lasting less than two or three years were very unusual.

1973 was also what I call the "Year of the Implosion": lots and lots of molds, models and colors disappeared at the end of it - and some of them haven’t been seen since, like the German Shepherd and the Large Poodle.

Some of it was motivated, undoubtedly, by the Cellulose Acetate shortage (especially the Poodle), but a bigger part of it was simply a desire to modernize the line. So it was time to say goodbye to most of the Family Arabians, the last of the Woodgrains, and other slower-selling odds and ends like the Kitten.

And to say hello to newly-created in-house molds like the Performance Horse, El Pastor, and the Charolais Bull, and newly-leased molds from Hagen-Renaker, comprising most of the Classics and (then) all of the Stablemates lines. Just for starters.

1 comment:

CJC said...

Well how cool is that? Pretty frikkin' cool, is what, for a little bit of paper! (I'm also tickled to no end that I can look at many of those #s & my poor model-steeped brain automatically supplies the appropriate 'catalog' image.)

Your mention of the shift in the product line put me in mind of Earth's past mass extinctions. We should give it some lengthy pseudo-scientific title. <.<