Monday, November 5, 2012

Dropping the Other Shoe

The Copenhagen Belgian is only half of the story. The other half?

The ephemera.

How significant is the estate’s stash? Well, it’s taken me a couple of weeks so far to clean, sort, separate and inventory (so far!) what amounts to a filing cabinet’s worth of papers. I am not exaggerating when I say that I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before, like this backer card for Tiffany:

I always wondered if they were going to sell Tiffany separately, like they did with Benji. Looks like they were planning to!

Most of these papers are from the 1970s and 1980s, and the stuff that’s here is just amazing. Like this photograph from Bob Koberg and Chris Hess’s trip to the Garrison Ranch in January 1978, to get the final approvals for Legionario and the Andalusian Family:

(You all should know who Chris Hess is. Bob Koberg was Breyer’s Sales Manager back then.)

There are fliers, photographs, negatives, transparencies, original artwork, ad slicks, comps…and more. It’s like a dream come true for a history nut like me. Considering the extremely ephemeral nature of some of this ephemera, I’m amazed that it even survived at all.

As of this writing, the dispensation of it is still being worked out. Naturally, I’d like to keep as much of this archive as intact as possible, for the sake of research - and hobby history.

However, while there is a great deal of unique material here, there’s also quite a bit of duplication. I know that there will definitely be some significant interest among my fellow Breyer historians and ephemera dorks in acquiring some of these items for their own personal archives.

But like I said, that’s still being worked out. Selling paper is a slightly different game than selling models. Do we sell them in lots, or on an individual basis? On MH$P, or via eBay?

And if the decision is made to sell them, rather than auction them off, how do we determine value of things that literally have no market history to go by? These are the issues that have been keeping me up nights.

To clarify on the monetary issues: I am not making any money off of this "deal", other than having first dibs on the archive materials, which will all end up in a university archive anyway (eventually).

To make this extra clear: all money from the auctions and/or sales of the models and duplicate ephemera will be going to the estate, not to me.

Let’s be open and honest here: there have been some similar situations in the past (i.e. estates of exceeding interest and value to hobbyists) that were not necessarily handled in the most transparent or equitable way.

In light of the historical significance of the items in this estate, I’ve tried my darndest to make sure everyone involved - both the estate, and hobbyists/buyers - are treated fairly as possible. I made the seller aware of the standards of packaging hobbyists expect - and warned him of the behaviors he was likely to be on the receiving end of.

While I’m fairly certain my conduct was not perfect, I’m hoping that dispersals of future estates are handled more fairly, by example. Just because life’s not fair doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to make hobby life more so.

I will also be up front and say that I did confide in two fellow hobbyists about the contents of the estate from the get-go, and also swore them to the highest secrecy. Neither one of them has received any compensation or favors, other than serving as an outlet for my screamy, exclamation-point-riddled e-mails. If they want to purchase anything from the estate, they’ll have to go through the same channels as everyone else (and me! Darn tooting I’ll be bidding!)

It’s their decision whether or not to out themselves.

Some of my coworkers also heard about all this as it was going down, but the vast majority of them had no idea what I was talking about in the first place. Some of them are vaguely aware of Breyers as a product, but all they know of the hobby is that I go to "my convention" every year and dress up in crazy outfits.


Carrie said...

Oh my Glob, this must be akin to opening Tutankhamun's tomb for you!

Unknown said...

Where exactly can I access these estate sales?