Friday, August 7, 2020

The Spiegel Pluto

First, a little bit of housekeeping: I thought I had downloaded a PDF copy of the BreyerFest 2020 Program, but (slaps head) I didn’t check if this was actually the case until Tuesday this week. So if anyone can pass along a copy to me, that would be much appreciated.  

Second, I’ve been engaging in some online retail therapy this week, since none of us had that in-person option at BreyerFest this year, the flea market – for many, many reasons – is simply not a safe place for me to visit right now, and I am still a little steamed about THAT Western Prancing Horse I lost out on eBay a few weeks back. 

This delightful little “Buy It Now” item came today definitely makes up for this deficiency:

A Spiegel Pluto! (Does wild, Kermit-style flail.)

I got him for a great price, too – the kind of price that helps me justify (a bit) other recent purchases I’ve made at full retail. 

In spite of the fact that he’s a relatively plentiful item (about 1150 made) the nature of his distribution actually makes him a hotly-pursued grail for many hobbyists, particularly now that Jeanne Mellin Herrick’s molds have seen a resurgence of popularity. 

He was sold in the 1993 Spiegel holiday catalog, alongside a Two-piece Dressage Set that included a Black Misty’s Twilight and a (super-duper pretty!) Dark Bay Hanoverian. The Dressage Set was very clearly a Special Run, but it was not as obvious that the Pluto was. The #475 Pluto was still current at the time, and the picture in the catalog appeared to be a #475 Pluto, so most hobbyists assumed that’s all he was. 

It wasn’t until several months later that we found out otherwise.

Roughly the same amount of Dressage Sets were sold – 1130, I believe – but both the Misty’s Twilight and Hanoverian are not especially difficult to acquire. There are a couple of the Hanoverians on eBay right now, and a Misty’s Twilight was listed (and relisted, twice) back in July. 

But the Plutos are few and far between. And why, you ask?

While hobbyists were aware of the Dressage Set as an actual Special Run item, and purchased accordingly, most of the Plutos were (presumably) bought as actual gifts for either children or horse-loving nonhobbyists. 

If hobbyists wanted a Pluto, he was still available from their favorite retailer. Probably cheaper, and with the option of handpicking, too.

So while most of the Hanoverian and Misty’s Twilights stayed within (and circulated about) the hobby market, most of the Spiegel Plutos ended up in the general market. When they do resurface, they’re either (a) in less than ideal condition, or (b) misidentified as a #475 Pluto. 

Mine fell into Category B: I swear I punched that Buy It Now button so hard I thought it would leave a hole in my computer screen. 

Technically he wasn’t a full-on “grail” item – I had half-heartedly hoped I’d find one at a thrift store or in a box lot on eBay or Craigslist, but didn’t actively pursue him – but both the price and the timing were right, so I couldn’t just pass him by.


Josh said...

So that’s where he went! I got a notice that a Pluto was listed, but he was gone when I checked. I figured he was just labeled as 475 (B) and someone snagged him. One day. One day.

Carrie said...

Congrats! Such a pretty paintjob. I, too, have been jonesing for the in-person model shopping experience & all the yard sales signs from goofballs in the neighborhood don't help one bit. And I haven't gotten my Hartland fix for the year, either, despite trolling the sales sites. Ah well. I am happy to see all the cool stuff you've been Ninja-ing this year!

Christi said...

Do you still need a copy of the 2020 BF program? I've got the PDF if you do.