Sunday, April 10, 2016

1975 Sears Wishbook Famous Race Horses Set

And here is Pretty Horse Number Two from the recent box lot – a beautifully shaded Classic Man o’ War with an oversprayed blaze:

Of all the Classic Love Racehorses, the Man o’ War is the one with the most variability in its run. The earliest examples, like this beautiful boy, are a body-shaded Chestnut with orange undertones and extensive dark shading on his head and hooves. Later ones are lighter, more orangey, and with less extra shading. Classic Man o’ Wars at the end of the release’s extended run are redder and flatter, with paint jobs very similar to the Traditional Man o’ Wars of the same period.

The facial markings varied quite a bit, too, with at least three distinct variations:

The broken stripe is the most common, and the Hobo-style blaze is the least.

Like his compadre, the Man o’ War is also free of the mold mark. Indeed, those two and the Swaps came in the Classic Racehorse set that was sold in the 1975 Sears Wishbook, in this snug little shipper box:

It is amazing that all three fit inside that box – its dimensions are approximately 6.5 x 7.5 x 8 inches – and that at least two of them came out immaculate. Alas, the Swaps who also came in the lot has already been consigned to the body box: it’s impossible to tell if the worst of the damage came before or after the box had been opened by its previous owner.

The best part of the purchase for me wasn’t the horses, but that box. Most of the Christmas catalog shipper boxes came with similar graphics, but the size and shape of it also remind me of a vintage lunchbox. It’s a weird thing to say about a cardboard box, but it’s kind of adorable.

It also holds special meaning to me because my original three Breyer Racehorses also came via this set, though not exactly for Christmas.

Santa always made sure that my brother and I always got the same amount of gifts every year, but one of the elves in charge of processing our “order” that year delivered one too many to me, and that gift – the Famous Race Horses Set – was taken aside and hidden in a closet for a few months until it could be given to me as an early birthday present.

I discovered its hiding place a few weeks after the holidays, while I was looking for something else; it was wrapped in red and white striped paper, and I could just make out the outlines of the three horses through it. I don’t know how many times I went back to the hiding place to stare at it, until it was finally given to me.

And now I can stare at it all I want!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I got that set for Christmas, too, in that same box. Sure wish I'd saved boxes, but when you're twelve.... :D