Monday, April 24, 2017

Semi-Gloss Buffalo

Another recent addition to the family:

A Semi-Gloss – or Glossy, depending on who’s looking – Buffalo, with pink hand painted nostrils and lips.

He has a few condition issues, but he’s got a great provenance: he (and his brother) were a part of that odd stash of models from Chicago that sold on eBay a little while ago. Back when most of them were still being listed in smaller batches or even individually – and thus somewhat affordable to the likes of me.

All of the listed models appear to have been manufactured prior to 1966/7, and from some of the oddities and anomalies that were visible in the photos – and later in person, via my purchases – it’s apparent that this collection was that of a former employee or jobber.

These were not your run-of-the-mill mid-1960s Breyers!

These Buffaloes have all the indicators of being really early releases, including the absence of a USA mark and the Semi-Gloss/Gloss finish. Since the Buffalo debuted in 1965, it is most likely that they are simply first-batch runs, but the circumstances in which they were found raises the possibility that they might be Photographic Samples, Salesman’s Samples or even (though most unlikely) Test Colors.

The more time I spend examining my purchases (including a Jumping Horse and a couple of Poodles) the more I regret not upping my bids on the ones I lost. Clearly there was an interesting story here I would have loved to uncover, but the seller was either unwilling or unable to offer more.

And certainly I couldn’t afford more – especially the giant lot that was thrown together after the first batch, consisting of all the previously unpaid lots and a Donkey sporting a yellow(!) Elephant’s Howdah tossed on top: a gold-plated maraschino cherry on one of the most expensive sundaes ever.

Auctions like that make me wish I could somehow structure a small hobby history syndicate to keep the collection in situ long enough to research, photograph and document it, before releasing it back into the wild.

It wouldn’t work for a number of reasons (trying to imagine the custody battle over that Donkey alone, yikes!), but the history that gets lost when collections like that are sold like that keep me up at night wondering what if…


Corky said...

He's amazing! I've never seen a semi-gloss buffalo before!

Carrie said...

I always forget the buffalo mold is that old! Looks like there's some nice shading going on there, too. Congrats! I wish the pink detailing were more visible in the pic; I've never seen that on a buffalo.

I don't think I can even fathom a *yellow* howdah...

Anonymous said...

Any way to see pics of the howdah?