Monday, October 13, 2014

Almost Solid Black Morgan

This particularly handsome Black Morgan Variation - Solid Black with gray hooves, a star, and no socks - actually predates the previous two in my collection, by at least a year:

I found him at a local live show. This show had set up a "sales area" for showers who didn’t want to deal with the hassle of simultaneously showing and selling, or worry about grabby hands reaching for the wrong models. They’d drop off their sales items in the morning, and pick up whatever cash they made at the end of the day.

I hustled over to that area quickly because we had a local dealer in attendance that day with a reputation as a flipper - buying up quality pieces very low, and pricing/selling them fairly high. While I had a cordial relationship with this person, I was still in college at the time and on a super-tight budget. This dealer frequented the same flea markets I did, and I had lost out on enough goodies: it wasn't planning on letting anything good slip away that day.

This model has always been one of my favorites, but what amazes me is the reaction that others have had to him. Every time I’d take him to a show, or show off a picture of him, other hobbyists would gush over how beautiful he was.

I have to guess that the fact that I have a ton of Variations, Test Colors and Rarities has made me a little bit blasé about him. He is wonderful, but he’s only the third or fourth most-fabulous Stretched Morgan in my herd. (Not going anywhere. Don't ask.)

Odd thing was, he didn't show well. I never did figure out the disparity. If everyone loved him, why wasn’t he placing? The only thing I could come up with was that when I was actively live showing, the Stretched Morgan - especially Black ones - just happened to be on the unfashionable list. The Black Stretched Morgan, at that point, had been in production for 20 some years. Except for the Solid Black variation that everyone was looking for, he was the definition of common and uncool.

It’s certainly not the case anymore, especially since the advent of Collectibility showing. The length of the production run on the Black release is no longer a liability, but an asset: more history means more potential variations. Even without that as a consideration, opinion of the Stretched Morgan mold as a Morgan has shifted back from "not very good" to "more typey than most." If I were to start live showing again, he’d definitely get shortlisted for my showstring.

I used to think of this variation as a "small v" variation - a random, unplanned one - as opposed to a "big V" variation - a deliberate and sustained change in the production paint job. Over the years, though, I’ve seen - and heard of - a few others identical to him, and there was one on eBay recently that went for a rather impressive amount of money.

So it might have been something deliberate after all. As I’ve written before, I’m a little hesitant to classify things as "big V" variations, because that’s where madness begins. Sometimes a variation is just a variation, and doesn’t need to be anything more than that.


LostInAn80sFog said...

You aren't kidding about the Morgan variations following you home! In my active years I almost never found even the "common" variations like bald-faced with EWs. I would have flipped to have found the star-only or all-black variations. Here I thought I made out like a bandit when I found a 2-sock star-faced one at Breyerfest waaaay back when for a good price.

Keep them coming, please!

PixelPerfectStables said...

I don't know if you'll see this (4 years later!), but as luck would have it, I'm browsing through the old posts again, and I just bought one of these Morgans a few days ago. No socks, star, odd colored plastic (Mine is gray plastic.) I had forgotten about this blog post, but I'm happy to know there are others out there. I do wonder about the reason for this variation- perhaps the painters found that the colored plastic was too noticeable on the socks, but not as much on the star? In any case, he's quite the oddity being a "non chalky" odd plastic model, as well as not quite being either a typical star/sock or the more sought after full black model. Mine needs a little bit of touching up, but it'll be interesting to see how well he does at shows.