Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Judging Breyer Collectibility: Basic Required Knowledge

Recent discussions on Facebook about judging (triggered by great disparity in NAN results, a subject for another day) have once again brought up the topic of judging certification and what criteria we should be using to judge various divisions at shows. While these conversations do produce useful discussion, they have a tendency to stall out because a certain segment of the hobby demands to know who has the right to assess their knowledge (or lack thereof).

I find this incredibly dismaying because it suggests to me that those who make these complaints are likely not confident in their abilities as a judge and that they are unwilling to acknowledge it or to seek greater education to remedy it. This attitude is sadly what killed off Project '88, the hobby's best attempt at a program to provide basic judging certification. This attitude is frustrating as well because education is absolutely key in this hobby---there is always something new to learn. Our knowledge of equine color genetics has improved radically in the last 15 years for example, fashions and trends are forever changing in the real horse show world, and new, previously unknown models or documentation surface periodically via eBay, estate sales, etc. But I digress.

To move the FB discussion along, Lesli Kathman devised a sample judging test for breed halter with basic knowledge questions about anatomy, bio-mechanics, and color that any reasonably knowledgeable judge should be able to answer. I decided to follow suit and composed a sample test for Breyer collectibility because that is the subject I know best.

Note that this is NOT intended to be a comprehensive test of Breyer minutiae; instead, these questions are meant to demonstrate that a judge has a solid grasp on Breyer history and a good understanding of collectibility judging criteria, both essential qualities in a good Breyer collectibility judge. In my opinion, as a long-time collectibility shower and judge, these are questions that any competent Breyer collectibility judge should be able to answer easily.

I will follow this up with a series of posts answering the questions for any who are interested, and link the answers below. (I've already covered a few of the topics, so I will go ahead and link to those blog posts.) Be warned that some of these are trick questions!

1) Create a Breyer history time line including the following information (please provide the year or years as close as possible): First Breyer horse issued, Reeves takeover, chalky era, decorator era, blue ribbon sticker era, first Just About Horses issued, first BreyerFest, woodgrain era, general introduction of round Breyer stamp, general introduction of USA stamp

2) Name four companies Breyer copied models from in the 1950's and/or 1960's.

3) Explain what a chalky is and why they exist.

4) List Breyer packaging types in chronological order from earliest to latest (ending with the 1980's brown picture boxes). Provide date ranges to the best of your knowledge.

5) Explain the history of the PAM, FAM, and In-Between Mare.

6) Name the five rarest woodgrains.

7) Describe which of the following you factor into collectibility judging and why: condition, age, rarity, desirability, breed standard, documentation, presentation, conformation, color

8) Explain how you would place a class containing small runs (under 30 made or known) and OOAKs. Cite examples as desired.

9) Correctly identify the Breyer Western Horse from the 5 models pictured below. Bonus points if you can correctly identify the manufacturers of the other Western Horse Shaped objects. This turned into a massive research project and four blog posts. They are all linked here:

10) Explain the difference between an official Breyer flockie and a custom flockie.

Stay tuned!