Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Working the Portfolio

No Arosa for me. Only entered once, so it wasn’t like I was heavily invested in it. What I did invest in was a small collection (12 pieces) that I bought Monday night for less than the cost of an Arosa.

It’s mostly modern stuff, but it’s all quality; with a little luck, I should be able to recoup most of my investment on it by the end of the year, and clear a "profit" on them sometime early next. I might keep one or two out of the lot, but what I’ll do is just put the ones I’m eyeing at the end of the sales queue and see how the culling is going by then.

As for your little bit of genuine Breyer History, here it is:

At first glance, it appears to be a 1975 Mid-Year flier, but the only "new" items on it are the Stablemates Racehorses - Swaps, Silky Sullivan, Native Dancer and Seabiscuit. What I think it actually is is a sale flier - as in, the items in the flier are on sale at a reduced price, compared to the 1975 Wholesale Price List. The net cost of the Traditional Man o’ War, for instance, is quoted at 2.73 each on the Price List, but at 2.41 on this flier.

(Yeah, yeah, I know, if only…)

The "G1" Stablemates were released in three successive waves throughout 1975, with the four racehorse molds being a part of the scheduled "May 1st Releases", hence the dating.

The other part of those releases were the "Morgan Horse Foal" and "Arabian Horse Foal" sets that, for whatever reason, never came to fruition. They appeared on the 1975 price list, and nowhere else - and not on this flier, either. So they were obviously dropped from the release schedule very, very early on - probably not long after the price list was printed and/or distributed in December 1974/January 1975.

The most interesting thing about the flier isn’t the Stablemates, or the sale prices. Take a closer look at the Dapple Gray Shire:

Holy macaroni, she’s glossy! What the heck?

There are a handful of Gloss Dapple Gray Shires floating around; the story goes that about a half dozen of them were found during the Chicago factory cleanout in the mid-1980s. Why they were made was/is a mystery. I vaguely remember Marney saying something about the last bit of leftover gloss being used up, but that might have been her theory, based on the supposition that they were made much later - after the gloss finish was completely discontinued in the early 1980s.

If they were made ca. 1975, that changes things. My crazy, cockamamie theory is that they were made for THIS particular flier. They might not have had any loose/unpackaged Dapple Shires floating around the plant at the time, so they might have had someone in the painting department paint up a few for the shoot. The person painting them might have assumed that they wanted them painted just like the Old Timer. You know, in gloss.

It’s kinda crazy, and I have no direct proof that that’s the case, but it does make a tiny bit of sense, doesn’t it? More plausible than a bucket of unused gloss just lying about the factory for a few years.


Kirsten Wellman said...

According to Karen Hoagland, who owns a glossy *chalky* dapple grey Shire (it's beyond gorgeous), Marney apparently owned 6 or 8 of said mares at one time. Might be worth asking her for more info?

T. Phillips said...

I am the fortunate owner of one of these mares, also a glossy chalky. She's been packed away for years but if memory serves, she's slightly bluer in color than the other dapple mares I've seen, although well within a normal variance.

What I can say is that this mare's gloss finish feels more modern than the old, heavy gloss from the 1960's. I've sometimes wondered if the finish used was that intended for eyes or other gloss details in the modern pieces rather than leftover gloss from the old days.

Also of interest: I had the tremendous good fortune to visit the Chicago factory with Marney twice in the early 1980's. While there we found several glossy SR bay Classic Arab Stallions and a glossy regular Phar Lap. I can't recall whether this was before or after I bought my Shire from Marney, but factory workers were definitely coating horses with shiny from some source at that time.

ANDREA said...

What Karen knows about the Glossy Dapple Shires, for the most part, she learned either from Nancy's book, or from me.

I'm not ruling out the possibility that they continued to make gloss tests up until the factory closed; what I'm saying is that the small run of Gloss Dapple Shires are probably ca. 1975, based on its presence in this flier.

Marney might not have known about this flier. I'm not sure, because I don't have access to her records.

Denise said...

Is that Jumping horse solid bay?
If so, could those have been made
according to this flyer also? Or
am I just seeing things...