Monday, June 2, 2014

The Guessing Game

Another good day at the market; there’s some stuff I can’t show you now, but you’ll be seeing it, eventually. (Heh.) Here’s all the stuff I suspect you’re really interested in anyway:

(And yes, I know the photo is out of focus. It’s the best my tired, shaky hands can do today.)

Two-thirds of a Hartland Tennessee Walker Family and a pretty spiffy Horned Hereford Bull. The bow the Bull sports isn’t original; I think his previous owner used him as a Christmas decoration. Since he looks so cute with it, I’m leaving it on him.

I have all three already - a complete TWH Family, and a Horned Hereford Bull new in the original illustrated shipper box because of course I would, so everyone here is going on the sales list.

The Bull, outside of a little yellowing, is immaculate; his previous owners obviously took very good care of him, in every respect. The Walkers are in good shape, not perfect but better than most, with a little bit greening that tends to happen on the Mare.

Like most older Breyer Bulls, the Horned Hereford ran for a very long time - from the mid-1950s through 1981 - and is a popular piece among hobbyists and nonhobbyists alike.

Unlike most of the other bulls, however, his 25 year run didn’t produce a lot of variation. Some of the very earliest had airbrushed, rather than stenciled markings and were a little bit browner than later pieces; the very last of them, ca. 1980-81, came in Matte. (And is a pretty rare piece to find, too.)

But all of the models made in-between were remarkably consistent. The brown did vary from a chocolate pudding-like brown, to red, to a coffee-with-cream color similar to the Five-Gaiter Sorrel, but this variability isn’t something we can track or date with any consistency.

So unless he comes with documentation, a sticker, a box, a tag, or in a group of models that we can triangulate a date on, it’s very difficult to determine how old an average Horned Hereford Bull is.

This guy is no different. He was a singleton, from a dealer who had no other Breyer pieces, and who possibly bought him second hand as well. (The Hartlands came from another vendor.) I have a hunch he’s from the early 1970s, but that’s just a hunch.

Regardless of how old he actually is, he’s a beautiful boy, and if I didn’t already have my Mint in Box one, he’d be staying.

1 comment:

Corky said...

I have a glossy Hereford Bull like that in my own collection. My older brother had it when he was a kid, and played with it rather roughly, judging from the fact that the bull no longer has horns. I think there's still even some early-1960s glue residue on his horn stumps. Aside from being unintentionally polled, he's in pretty good shape, all things considered. He doesn't mean anything to anyone but me, but I'm very fond of him just because of his history.