Thursday, November 9, 2017

Brown Bear Mama

I was quite pleased to finally upgrade my Brown Bear Mama recently:

And the best part – she has a Blue Ribbon Sticker, too! Not a common thing to find on the Breyer Bear or Cub, since they don’t have much in the way of smooth surfaces where stickers could stay stuck.

The original release Bear Families (both the Brown and the Black) were one of my first “big” flea market finds back in the day – that day being in 1982! My family thought I was a bit nuts.

(These are not horses. Why is she buying these things that are not horses?)

Well, for one thing, they were one of my earliest Nonhorse purchases, and old ones, too. The original Breyer Brown Bear and Cub – numbers #307 and 309, respectively – were only available from 1967 through 1971. The Black Bear and Cub lasted through 1973 as individual releases, and then as a Family Set through 1976.

Even though they were relatively “rare” they weren’t all that expensive or desirable, which was another plus for me. Old, Scarce, Exotic, yet Affordable: that was a pretty potent combination for a budding Breyer Historian!

I could upgrade or collect variations as I pleased, and not worry too much about prices or competition. While they’ve never been a high priority in my herd, I’ve managed to keep up with the releases over the years, until recently.

I still need to get the Walmart Mustang set with the Cub, and the releases from the early 2000s. None of them are hard to get: newer, shinier things always seem to come up first and get in the way.

The Silver Charm Kodiak and Denali from BreyerFest 2014 also took a bit of wind out of my sails, dashing my hopes of completing my collection: I wasn’t lucky enough to get that set, and cheapskate me certainly can’t afford the aftermarket prices.

The Brown Bear was in the roughest shape of my original four: the timing, the price, or the condition never seemed to line up properly to allow me to upgrade her. Until I was cruising for some price comps on eBay a few weeks ago, and on a whim I decided to do a bit of Bear shopping.

And there she was!

There’s also one other thing worth noting about this particular Bear: take a look at the gigantic factory molding goober on her leg where the mold mark normally is. (One corner of the mold mark is just barely visible.)

While a flaw this large usually sends a model straight to the regrind bin, the fact that the mold already had a roughly textured finish (and was not a horse!) probably allowed it to pass QC.

It’s also interesting in that it’s more evidence to the contrary that everything was so much more awesome back in the Chicago days, quality-wise.

Everything else about her is great, so I see it more as an odd little quirk than a flaw.


Corky said...

It's awesome that they stuck the blue ribbon sticker onto the sole of her foot--I had no idea that was something Breyer ever did! I've learned something today!

Hummingbird said...

Beautiful! I really like the Breyer bears, though the only ones I have right now are Kodiak and Denali.

I keep hoping some day they'll paint them as polar bears, maybe as a Christmas web special run or something.