Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Team Misty

One of the first things I noticed during the inventory cull: my goodness, I have a lot of Misty Variations. I don’t have the exact number at my fingertips, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was enough to field a baseball team. Here’s a somewhat more common member of Team Misty:

What’s notable about this collection is that it doesn’t include the Cold Cast Porcelain, the Special Run Flocky, or the more recent reissues with fancier shading. All of mine are Variations of the standard #20 Misty of Chincoteague.

I’m not giving any of them up, either. This isn’t a case of unconditional love or obsessive obscure Variation-hunting: each one of them is clearly and obviously different from each other even to the less-attentive among us. Hand-airbrushed, 3-Eyed, 4-Eyed, Matte-Finished, Gloss-Finished, Bi-eyed …

Everything except Chalky: Misty is probably one of the rarest Chalky Era Chalkies out there. The 4-eyed Gloss Misty - the alleged Gold Standard of rare Mistys - is positively common compared to the Chalky. I can’t even recall the last time I saw one for sale outright, and it wasn’t a pretty sight the last time one came up on eBay. (Except to the seller, maybe!)

The funny thing is that I’m really not all that into Misty herself - the book, or the mold. (FWIW, Born to Trot is my favorite Marguerite Henry book.) It’s the history of the mold, and all its changes through time that fascinate me.

I’ve been lucky enough to run across most of my Misty models via my usual cheapskate channels: the flea market, the Salvation Army, in box lots. The only one I had to pay "retail" for was for the hand-airbrushed one I found on eBay. For reasons I’d rather not elaborate here, I felt justified in making an exception in her case.

I am sometimes baffled by some hobbyists’ need to collect multiple variations of more recent molds. I understand the love, but the variations are often so minute (It’s slightly Semi-Gloss! The points are dark gray, not black!) that I sometimes find myself scratching my head. Really?

Some of it is the residue of our history: Regular Run models hung around long enough (decades, sometimes!) that legitimately distinct Variations did emerge over time. We could justify having multiple examples of the same release because they really didn’t look the same.

Nowadays releases come and go in an eyeblink - like that odd-looking Pinto Sporthorse Gem Twist - so the opportunity for true Variations to arise is rare. So the standard drops: what would have been considered within the normal range of variation suddenly becomes A Variation. 

Sometimes I get some flak for not "seeing" some variations as Variations, especially in more modern releases. You have to look at it from my perspective: it’s not that I don’t see them, it’s that I had to make a choice between width and depth. Neither choice is perfect: you’re going to lose some data either way.

You can’t focus on both either, because that’ll drive you crazy. There are already enough subtleties to Breyer History that I don't need to complicate it with even more.


Anonymous said...

I'm not the only one who thought the most recent Pinto Gem Twist looked odd...

I want to get some horses on the Misty mold...I really like it.

Anonymous said...

Funny that so many of your blog posts are about minor variations that you find interesting and collect, and yet you find fault with others who collect or sell variations that don't appeal to you. We all collect for different reasons, and what one person views as a cool variation may not be viewed the same by someone else. Does it justify bad-mouthing another collector by name in a forum? Why are some collectors so judgemental of others?

Emily Bevacqua said...

I too want more variations of the older Misty in my collection! I do have one of the Cold Cast Porcelins though!