Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chestnut Buffalo

I didn’t much time to go Vintage shopping in Kentucky this year, but I still managed to score one nice variation: a Chestnut Buffalo!

He was a want, but a lower-priority one; like most of the Wildlife molds, the Buffalo is a big fellow, and space is at a premium here. But the opportunity presented itself - and I knew if I left him behind I’d regret it.

Most of the original release #76 Buffaloes (1965-1991) are some shade of Brown - veering from near Black at one end, to Buckskin/Dun at the other. The Red Chestnut ones are something altogether different chromatically, enough to make you think they were a separate and distinct release. I haven’t seen any evidence that this is the case, though. They just happened to make the #76 Buffalo this color for a while. (The Elk and the Moose, too. Neither one of those is on my want list, yet.)

This particular example is one of the redder and less shaded ones I have seen. 

Other than being a newer rather than older piece, I’m not entirely sure where the Chestnuts fit in the Buffalo’s variation chronology. To give you an idea how complicated that web of variations is, the Buffalo behind "Red" here is an early one with nostril and lip liner, yet I also have another early one with a Small Blue Ribbon Sticker (ca. 1966-67) that is very matte and very much on the Buckskin side. There doesn't seem to be any logical progression or evolution.

Dealer and Collector’s Manuals from the mid-1980s onward do show more "chestnutty" Buffaloes, for what that’s worth. The overall quality of the paint job and the seams would be consistent with this, so I'm content with pegging it as a late variation, for now.


Denise said...

I purchased a Buffalo like this new just prior to being discontinued in the cardboard mailer box. I believe the box says "Bison".

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you'll see this comment since it's an older post, or even if it will be of any help in dating the chestnutty bison. I have buffalo that is not quite as red as yous, but is definitely on the red end of the spectrum. He has the B stamp on both horns and the USA mark. He is also somewhat smaller overall than my brown buffalo, but does NOT show any shrinky symptoms otherwise.

Love your blog!