Sunday, February 14, 2021

Black Man o’ Wars

Well, I spent a couple of hours looking through those art archives post on the Breyer web site, and now I have diorama ideas. The only good thing about most of them is that I already have suitable bodies in my body box in the event that I, at the last minute inevitably, decide that I need to participate. 

The seed issue has also been resolved. Or at least the seed company has said it will be. So that’s another worry off my mind.

But now there is this situation: 

It’s not ****** likely I’ll be able to afford the one now on eBay. So when I am not busy doing other things this week (ones that will mercifully occupy both my waking and slumbering hours) I’ll be alternately weeping or cursing to myself in my underground office bunker.

Most of the stuff I’ve been interested in recently falls into that category. Part of the reason is because I have largely run out of cheaper and/or easier-to-get things, but a lot of it is because prices took an extremely sharp upturn over the past several months and have put things well beyond my (not quite as modest as it used to be) reach. 

This is fine most of the time, because I own too much stuff anyway and money is better spent on more mundane and practical things, like car payments and garden mulch. But this one is actually a Pretty Big Deal for me, so watching it fly out of my reach a couple hours into the auction itself is kinda depressing.

The thing is – contrary to what the auction claims – is that there are several Traditional Black Man o’ Wars known to be in circulation, and that one is unlikely to be a BreyerFest Auction Test Piece, regardless. It’s more likely to be a Test Color from the early 1980s, of which a small undefined number were made, most of which appear to have gray hooves, a masked star, and black halters with metallic gold trim.

The Solid Black one shown above comes from Marney’s Big Book of Test Colors, and is probably just a random piece that Marney either found in the Chicago factory or finished herself, sometime in the early 1980s. He has no gray hooves, no star, and no additional detailing. 

Decent Body found in a scrap or cull bin + quick solid black paint job = hello, Test Color! 

(Side note: this is how most of the fabled Solid Black Adioses came to be. Among other things.)

One of the reasons I selected a Test Color Black Man o’ War as one of my Test Color grails is because there are a lot of them out there. Solid Black ones, ones made from Black Plastic, fancy ones with gray hooves and stars, and probably a few other variations none of us have dreamed of yet. 

(Well, okay, I have dreamed of a Glossy Dappled Black Traditional Man o’ War just recently. In light of Lafayette, I was just thinking that Glossy Dappled Black is the new Glossy Dark Bay, and daydreaming ensued.)

Anyway, it was my hope that one of these many Black Man o’ Wars would show up at the right time and right place and the price wouldn’t be so high that I’d find myself desperately digging in couch cushions for spare change or pulling aluminum cans out of the trash bins at the local park for deposits.

Today is not that day, obviously. I can only hope that the next one doesn’t generate as much irrationally exuberant bidding.


timaru star ii said...

I like that: "daydreaming ensued." I did not even know black Man o'Wars existed. It always seemed to me all-black is a very easy color to forge. Thank you for your as-usual scholarly appraisal. Best of luck in future collection... dreaming.

Suzanne said...

I'd love to examine the economics of Breyer collecting. It boggles my mind, it sounds like absolutely the worst time in history to spend money on plastic figurines (much as I love them!) But I guess it's due to people for whom money is no object, watching for the less fortunate to sell...or for the previous generation of collectors to pass on...

By the way, what is the "15 year rule" you referred to?

That MOW is beautiful. At some point, I think sheer beauty overrides collectability, and that picture makes me want to just airbrush my mediocre MOW black!

Qatgirl said...

Whooo! I just took a look at the bidding history on that black MOW. That's some insane bidding! When I see auctions like that, I'm always tempted to put in a "tester" bid, to feel out where the upper limit is. But... no. One could assume that the high bidder would have entered something closer to 900 rather than 860,, I shouldn't. I really shouldn't.

Anonymous said...

"It boggles my mind, it sounds like absolutely the worst time in history to spend money on plastic figurines (much as I love them!) But I guess it's due to people for whom money is no object, watching for the less fortunate to sell...or for the previous generation of collectors to pass on..."

It's the same thing right now with REAL horses! All of a sudden horses have doubled (or maybe tripled) in price. It's not a good time to be shopping for real horses right now! People speculate it's because there are more people working from home with more time to ride!? You would think in a pandemic horses would be cheaper than before the pandemic, not more expensive.

Boulder Sheep said...

You can blame me; I re-fi'd my house this fall and pandemic and depression and I had the time to stalk eBay and... but even though I spent what I thought was a ridiculous amount of money on one Breyer (and remind myself, beautiful and rare as the model is, that it's just a plastic horse) I don't think I could bring myself to spend a mortgage AND a car payment. But I absolutely love that the starting bid was $29.99. Gives us all hope, for a few minutes at least.

Boulder Sheep said...

I just saw the final bid on the Black Man O'War: $2,846!!!

I feel like such cheap potatoes.