Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Freckle Roans

Different day, same chaos. Had to spend most of yesterday reassembling the china cabinet. (No fatalities, but lots of stress nonetheless.)

It appears I slightly dissed the old-style "freckle" Red Roans in my previous post on the Buckshot. Didn’t mean to give that impression, as I’m very fond of the color. I think I have every regular run release of it, and most of the special runs. (Yes, including the uber-rare Running Foal and the ultra-desirable G1 Draft Horse.)

Breyer’s original Red Roans were a relatively short-lived phenomenon. The first regular run release of this peculiar color appeared in 1968, on the Running Stallion. It was followed by the Lying Down Foal in 1969, the Scratching Foal in 1970, and the Running Mare in 1971.

The Mare and two Foals were gone by the end of 1973, but the Running Stallion lasted through 1974. He’s relatively "common" for a Breyer of that era; a nice one with attractive roaning will set you back a little bit, but not as much as a Gloss Charcoal. The Lying Down Foal isn’t too difficult to find, either.

The Mare, surprisingly, is the scarcest of the bunch, with just a three-year production run. That may seem like an eternity today, but for a model of that era, it’s a little unusual. It took me a while to find one myself:

I found her - along with the Stallion, the Lying Down Foal, and a few other beauties - at my fabled local flea market several years ago. In fact, they were the very first things I saw as I walked up to the entrance!

All of us who have had some modest flea marketing experience have had a few of these rare and wonderful moments. For an instant you freeze and pretend that you didn’t just see what you’re seeing. You scope out the immediate territory to make sure no one else has zeroed in on your target. Your heart begins to pound, and then you immediately break into your brisk, practiced, pretending-not-to-be-too-interested kind of walk …

(Can you tell I miss the flea market? Darn you infernal groundhog!)

You may notice that this Mare has an unusual feature: a Blue Ribbon Sticker. It’s unusual because Blue Ribbon Stickers were discontinued by the end of 1970, and the Red Roan Mare wasn’t introduced until 1971. It appears to be original, or at least contemporary; the Stallion, the Foal, and a couple other models in that collection had stickers, too.

It’s possible that the Mare may have been released in late 1970, in time for the Holiday shopping season - as I’ve discussed before, a not-uncommon practice. Since Breyer was on the verge of discontinuing the sticker program, it would have made sense to substitute another Running Mare sticker, instead of printing up a fresh batch of correctly numbered ones. Her sticker is actually for the #121 Smoke, who had been discontinued by the end of 1970 anyway.

I have no actual evidence of an early release for the Roan Running Mare, though. The simplest explanation probably is the best one, here: Breyer (or the retailer) was just using up their old sticker stock.

1 comment:

Little Black Car said...

My Dust Devil was an antique-mall find. I actually bought a batch of older Breyers--speckle roan Running Stallion, matte smoke running foal, Yellow Mount, I think, and a couple more--for $75, which was a fortune for me at the time. They were all in excellent condition, and the Running Stallion is a consistent NAN-placer in collectibility.