Now here's something you don't see every day: A very early package for the Brenda Breyer rider, produced by Unger Toys for Breyer. It includes a two-sided cardboard paper doll of Brenda's palomino Western Prancer, Cheyenne. This is such an extraordinarily rare piece of ephemera, that most collectors will never see one!
Our consignor rescued this package literally from the trash at Breyerfest many years ago, after her friend purchased it, took out the rider, and threw away the package! I am told by the consignor that the doll in the package was one with joints (like a Mego doll," she said) rather than the unjointed, wire-cored dolls we usually see. That was why the friend purchased it - She was specifically looking for a jointed doll, which she felt was more posable. Nancy Young mentions this doll and packaging at the end of pg 313, beginning of pg 314 of the 5th ed of her book. She calls it "unusual packaging" with the rider coming astride a cardboard cutout of the horse. She says the jointed riders were only released in 1979, with wire-core riders released in 1978 and then again beginning in 1980. She also says this packaging wasn't shown or mentioned in any catalogs from the time. From the way she has written about it, though, it doesn't appear she had held one or seen the back side of the packaging... Therefore, I think she's mistaken on some points.
There is no copyright date on the package, but the wording on the back describes this as a new item, so we believe it is the first iteration of both doll and package. The text also appears to be geared toward dealers rather than consumers, stating: "Unger Toys presents a new doll especially designed and scaled to fit the traditional Breyer Horses... Brenda will be a welcomed addition to all dealers as she will help recruit another generation of collectors. The detachable cardboard horse serves as an added stimulus for soon-to-be collectors."
I believe it could be a 1977 or 1978 pre-release sent to dealers as samples of this new rider, given this wording. The back also shows three items: This one, called #500 with the rider and paper doll horse, and then #501 and #502, which include only clothing. Each of these, you'll notice, includes pack info for dealers!
We rate this package in Very Good condition: The plastic was torn open at the top to remove the doll (not included). The plastic has, of course, yellowed over time as well. It still includes the cardboard "paper doll" of the Breyer palomino Western Prancer Cheyenne that is two-sided with tabs to glue the sides together. It has never been used or even out of the package until we photographed it. The side that was facing out has faded a little with time, but the back side is pristine!
Despite the "Very Good" rating, I wouldn't hesitate to include this in a display or Collector's Class entry, because most people will have never seen one! This is truly a piece fit for top-level collectors and could become a centerpiece for your rarity collection.
Breyer Model #500 (packaging only)