Sunday, March 15, 2020

Bittersweet Complexity

The past few days have been bittersweet. Not only did the money I was anticipating finally arrive, but I finished my taxes and found (as I hoped) that I’d be getting a refund for the first time in many years. And both amounts were significantly larger than I expected.

Combined, they would have more than covered the trip to Seattle.

But alas, luck was not on my side, and no amount of money can turn me into one of those people who gets picked for everything they hope for.

My luck (lately) has been running more towards finding random rarities on eBay, and I am mostly okay with that.

The money won’t go to waste: there are plenty of purchases I’ve put off for months (and years!) that I can finally catch up on. And BreyerFest will definitely be more stress free, without the pressure of having to make as many sales to pay for it all.

(Assuming the world is closer to normal by then. Which – for the sake of my sanity – I am assuming is going to be the case, unless evidence or circumstance change.)

I can also go ahead with my plan of buying “a few glorious things” – at retail! I’ve decided to wait until BreyerFest to buy the Gloss Dapple Gray Belgian of my dreams, and one or two others if the opportunities present themselves like an earlier/homelier Auction Test Color, or a scarcer-than-average Woodgrain like a freestanding (never mounted on a lamp) Running Mare or Foal.

The latter may seem surprising because hobbyists tend to forget that the actual Regular Run #920 Woodgrain Running Mare and #930 Foal were only in production from ca. 1962 through 1965. A significant percentage of loose Woodgrain Mares and Foals on the market are actually ones set free from Ranchcraft Lamps.

Which are, themselves, likely later – or as I sometime call them – Post-Production Special Runs. In other words, separate releases entirely.

Sometimes it even feels like the Woodgrain Lamps Mares and Foals are more common than the freestanding pieces, but I think that’s more of a consequence of their manufacture. Many of the freestanding pieces ended up as toys, with a higher attrition rate than lamps, which as furniture don’t get manhandled quite as much or discarded quite as easily.

We genuinely don’t know much about production quantities of Regular Run models from the 1950 through the mid-1980s – and what the average attrition rate was for those models as they traveled through time to today.

To make a long story short: rarity is complicated, and more relative than you might imagine. So buy what you like at the price you are comfortable with.

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