Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Most Desirable Stablemate in the World… now available as a “gift with purchase” in an auction on eBay right now. If you don’t know who or what I’m talking about, it’s the G1 25th Anniversary Saddlebred, as seen in this 1990 issue of Just About Horses:

Because I am not wealthy, not that lucky, and am rather fond of my internal organs, that picture is probably as close as I am going to get to owning one, outside of making one myself.

(I’ve thought of it. I really have. Making one, not selling my organs.)

There have been some questions online whether or not a model that was allegedly made in a piece run of about 1000 could or should be flirting with a four-figure price tag.

Oh yes, for at least two reasons.

The piece was made as a promotional giveaway item, presumably to both (a) celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Breyer Animal Creations line, and (b) help announce the arrival of the then-new Stablemates scale, of which the G1 Saddlebred was (I believe) the first mold actually cast.

As such, it was likely given to clients, potential clients, Sales Reps, and at industry PR events. The likelihood that some would end up in the hands of hobbyists at the time was very small.

In fact, I can’t recall even hearing about such a thing until 1990, when it appeared in Just About Horses, and one was auctioned off at the inaugural BreyerFest that year. They have occasionally trickled on to the market since then – though rarely quite as nice as the one up for auction at the moment (Mint in Box!)

A thousand pieces of anything can disappear quickly, especially when it’s distributed to the general/nonhobby public first. Special Runs and other oddities were not well or easily distributed to hobbyists back then, either: Just About Horses itself didn't even debut until late 1975, as a single-page folded brochure.

Though I do have evidence that Breyer did consider offering a Free Stablemate/Redemption program when the Stablemates line was introduced in 1975, it never launched and I have no evidence that the Saddlebred leftovers would have been a part of that even if it had.

But it wasn’t just the distribution method, but the composition of the item itself that makes it so hard to find: it’s silver-plated ABS plastic. (ABS is easier to “plate” than Tenite, which is why it was used then).

Silver tarnishes, and ABS plastic – the same stuff they use for (most) Stablemates now – breaks easily.

A free shiny plastic horse given to you as a gift, especially if you are not a collector yourself, most likely ends up as a gift to someone who would be enraptured by a small shiny plastic horse.

And being small, fragile, and quick to tarnish, it’s not hard to guess what happened to most of those Silver Saddlebreds.


Anonymous said...

Glad to know it's the Saddlebred that's causing the commotion. I was kicking myself for selling my Morgan/Arabian Stablemate Stallion that was still in the box!

Anonymous said...

Can't jump on this bandwagon though I have a large SM collection and love them dearly. This silver plated plastic dude does not float my boat. My collection consists of HSOs that I love to look at and if there are 5 million others just like it, I don't care; it's the only one on MY shelf, why should I care what's on everyone else's? Rarity doesn't mean beauty to me and neither does dollar signs. But to each their own.
Appreciate the article though. You never fail to enlighten and/or entertain. Kudos and thanks.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a link to this auction? I'd love to see, and couldn't find it when I searched around on eBay just now.
Thanks, Andrea- I would never have known this was out there!

Anonymous said... ray-1975-Wrong-Mold/272150967511?roken=cUgayN

Anonymous said...

Do you think the golden Breyer elephants were also given to the general public instead of collectors? I say that because I found one at a thrift store along with very old elephant knick knacks that were obviously from a person who dropped off a elephant collection.

Anonymous said...

Thanks mucho for the auction link. Wow- that is so amazing- the box, and the little certificate, and the model that looks as though it has never left the box...

Anonymous said...

Auction ended at $3362.16!!! Congrats to the seller, but WOW! All four of my "real" ponies together cost less than that!

OK-Attic Long Beach said...

Thank you! vtgnew2u.