Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Whew. Glad those Grab Bags are gone; the one with the Night Mare (Glow-in-the-Dark Goffert) and the Woodgrain Clock Saddlebred was becoming unbearably tempting, as was the miniscule potential of a Silver Charm Sherman Morgan. But now that the offer is off the table, I have the Vintage Club Murphy to contend with:

There are a couple of minor mistakes in the offer e-mail, though both are obscure enough to give Reeves a pass on them. Can my fellow history mavens spot them in the opening sentence?
The Cleveland Bay mold, sculpted by Karen Gerhardt, debuted in 2006 while the beautiful vintage glossy dapple grey color was inspired by the Running Mare and Foal released in 1963.
The second mistake first: we don’t actually know if the Running Mare and Foal were released in 1963. Undated Red Bird Sales pages that feature the Buckskin Running Mare and Foal - and a subsequent notice of their discontinuation - suggest that they may have been released earlier, since the Buckskins do not appear on any dated ephemera from 1963.

It’s possible that they might have been late 1962 releases - released in time for holiday shopping - and discontinued prior to their formal release in 1963. This theory would explain their incredible rarity. The scarcity of ephemera from 1959-1962 prevents us (again) from knowing for sure.

It is been becoming clear that in the pre-Modern Era, Breyer released models when the mold was ready, and didn’t stick to strictly defined release dates. If the mold was ready for production, it was put into production, and subsequently issued an updated sales list, letter or PR about it. Such was the case with the Davy Crockett Horse and Rider Set, which was announced in the August 1955 issue of Toys & Novelties magazine.

In fact, Breyer frequently got themselves in trouble in the 1970s and 1980s when they did promise models by a certain date and didn’t deliver. The Classic USET horses were a prime example of this: they were supposed to be an early or mid-1980 release that didn’t actually materialize until September of that year. Because the molds weren’t ready in time, Test Colors stood in for the actual models in the Christmas catalogs, and much confusion and pouting ensued.

(I still want a Dapple Gray Classics Ruffian, dagnabit!)

The first mistake is a little more obvious: Murphy’s color isn’t merely "Glossy Dapple Gray", it’s "Dark Dapple Gray".

It was very rarely truly "dark"; the primary distinguishing feature of Dark Dapple Gray is that the dapples are exclusively situated on the hindquarters. It’s a fairly rare vintage color; other than the Special Run releases of the Running Mare and Foal in the early 1980s, I’m having a hard time recalling any other releases. There are a few variations - like the "Gray Appaloosa" version #85 Foundation Stallion/Azteca, and some of the Black-pointed Dapple Gray Proud Arabian Foals - that come close, but aren’t quite.

Hobbyists and nonhobbyists unfamiliar with the nomenclature often refer to it as "Gray Appaloosa", which drives me crazy, because that term refers to something else entirely.

Though both the Running Mare and Foal and the Cleveland Bay would look good in that color, as well.

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