Rare Legionario with PINK Dorsal Stripe!
Greetings fellow collectors,
We receive hundreds of vintage models each year, many hard to find, but occasionally something truly remarkable arrives here to sell. In such an instance, we send the item to eBay to let collectors determine its value. In this case, we have a very special Legionario III that one lucky collector will get to add to his or her herd. (Photos at bottom.)
Officially released as a regular run in 1979, he was first available through "Sears Wishbook" during the 1978 holiday season. He was sold through Sears as "Andalusian Stallion Set" with an English saddle and double-reined English bridle. The same set was available in 1979, 1983 and 1984, while the regular run was being sold in toy stores (without tack). It is believed the Sears model is indistinguishable from the regular run, but I've had none to compare the regular run with. The model we have here may be the Sears model, as it arrived with the same saddle and bridle sold in the Sears set. However, upon checking with his owner, neither she nor her family can remember where or when they bought this model for her.
Here's what makes him special: He has a sort-of pearly semi-gloss finish, unlike any other I've seen. He also has hooves and muzzle pinking that look more like pink nail polish than Breyer's usual matte coloring for hooves. I really studied him to see if he'd been customized (although it was unlikely, given the source of the models in this shipment), but determined that the grey overshading on his hooves matches his body shading and he is, in fact, Original Finish.
Checking Nancy Young's book, I found this:
""Many "Legionario IIIs" have a lot of gray shading on the body. The typical hoof color is a pink or peach tone oversprayed with gray but varies from virtually pure gray to pure pink. A variation that i have not seen was reported on the Haynet by collectors Lynn Milam and Dana Jones: both of them have "Legionario IIIs" whose hooves and muzzles are pearly/shiny pink, like fingernail polish. Dana got her horse new in set #3070 in 1979, so she knows it is factory original. In March 1991, in a toy store, I found two "Legionarios" with gray dorsal stripe, and two other collectors have told me they have seen this variation as well."
Wait, it gets better: This guy has an airbrushed PINK dorsal stripe!!!! It's subtle, but there's no doubt it was intentionally applied, being a straight shot with the airbrush from withers to tail. I have handled thousands of models, and have never before seen a pink dorsal stripe on ANY Breyer model. I have asked several long-time, knowledgeable collectors, including the owner of Identify Your Breyer.com, the owner of Nancy Young's archives, and a former Breyer rep, and none report having seen this variation before. It's possible that this is a one-of-a-kind variation, or a very early test that escaped to be sold.
His history: He came to us along with the same saddle and bridle shown in the Sears photo, in a shipment that contained mainly horses from the 1970s. (His owner stopped collecting in the early 1980s.) We are including the tack "just in case" he is the Sears set, so that it will stay together, but cannot prove for certain that he came with it. (No other tack came in the shipment besides this set... So in my mind it points to having come with a horse, rather than being purchased separately.) The shipment contained 63 models, many with original cardboard boxes. He was not sent with a box. None had been repainted, refinished, or otherwise tampered with, beyond the owner having written her initials on the bottom of their feet for security. When asked about this model, she says she never realized he was a variation. Her models had been in storage for some time and she is simply glad they're finding new homes. She's excited to hear that this guy is something special, and hopes he'll be enjoyed by his new owner as much as she enjoyed having him.
His condition: He is in Excellent to Near Mint condition with some specks in his finish, some white in his brand, and hoof edge rubs. He bears his original owner's initials in in on the bottom of his feet, invisible while on display. He does not carry the USA mold mark. He features lovely grey body shading, a beautifully shaded face including a "nail polish pink" muzzle with grey overshading. His hooves match his muzzle, but the unusual pink coloring is easily seen on his right front foot, which lacks grey shading. The pink dorsal stripe is faint but unmistakable.
Because we haven't had the model since it was first purchased, we cannot prove with 100% certainty that it is OF, but in my opinion as the Collector In Charge of Triple Mountain Model Horses, I believe it to be authentic. As with all retired models, he is sold as-is, with as accurate a description as we are able to provide. Please study the photos before purchasing to be sure you'll be happy with the model, as we do not allow returns on vintage product. If anyone does have another with these interesting features, and can give us more information regarding their original sale form (part of a set, regular run, Sears, etc) we'd love to hear, and will share that information in the auction, as long as it can be verified.
He will become available by bid on eBay Sunday, January 10th, with a seven-day auction. If you are interested in this very interesting piece, he can be found easily by searching "Legionario Pink Dorsal." We will also provide a link to the auction on our Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/TripleMountainModelHorses