Saturday, April 18, 2015

Odd Western Horse Cull

I told myself that eBay was for research, and for the picking up of obscure bodies (Still looking for that cheap Traditional Kitten. A Khemosabi now, too.) but this guy ended up on my doorstep earlier this week somehow:

It’s an unpainted factory cull Western Horse, probably an older one from the late 1960s or early 1970s, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

I’m not normally a big buyer of Unpainteds/Blanks. All models start out that way, so the collectibility and/or novelty factors for me are pretty low. The only exceptions I make are for items that were sold that way as a Special Run (like the G1 Draft Horse in 1984), or examples of molds in an older and less modified state.

This Western Horse is one the latter, not the former. He’s definitely not a stripped model: his seams are uncleaned and unfinished, he has a few dark goobers floating in his plastic, and his hind legs are pinched together and bent slightly forward in a way indicative of a fixturing issue.

He is older - look at that lovely camel’s hump! - but how old I am not sure. He does have the USA mark, but we’re not sure when that was etched into the mold. The best guess is that this occurred about the same time the USA was added to most of the other Breyer molds, circa 1970.

I think this piece is roughly from that time period. My working theory is that he might have been part of the sample batch run shortly after the mold was modified. On what piece of evidence does this theory hang on?

He was purchased from a seller in California.

Odd Breyer whatsits have a habit of turning up in California. The first free-range In-Between Mare? Found in California. One of the first Gloss Gray Appaloosa Shetland Ponies discovered? Also California. Some of the earliest and most reliable rumors of Christmas Decorators? In California.

This Western Horse isn’t on par with any of those discoveries: at most, I think he might have been part of a sample batch sent to the Unger & Associates, who started out as one of Breyer’s earliest sales reps, and later became collaborators (Brenda Breyer? That was them.)

I think a lot of the Breyer oddness that comes out of California has something to do with that business relationship, actually.

For all I know, he could have just been another employee take-home or a part of a foster care/adoption donation box. I just him and I haven’t had a chance to e-mail the seller back for any additional information or confirmation of my suspicions.

If I do get any additional information, I’ll let you all know.

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