I am always suspicious of anything that is irregular. The red flags go up. "Trust but verify", the motto of former US President Ronald Reagan, is something we collectors should all practice. But in this case, I knew the figure group was right. The reason for my confidence is that I instantly recognized certain distinctive features as belonging together: that bocage and its flowers, that dog, and the sheep with a leaf on its back. Below you see them as separate figures.
I have been criticized for my obsession with detail. Some claim it doesn't matter and all that counts is that the figure be lovely. But knowing the details has enormous value. In this case, it helped confirm that the group offered on eBay was correct. As I said, this extraordinary little gem came up on eBay with a Buy It Now. Somebody (presumably with knowledge) acted very quickly and bought it, and I suspect others looked but were uncertain. The picture of the pair of shepherds is in Volume 1 of my new book, due out in November. How I wish I could add the eBay group, but too late. In any event, all the pictures in my book will help all of us learn--or at least those of us who know the fine points matter.
I know I am always waiving the Red Alert flag on eBay, so how come this time somebody got lucky? Well there is a first time for everything. A few months ago, it even snowed in Cape Town, South Africa for the very first time! I continue warning about buying from random small sellers on eBay--or anywhere for that matter--but arm yourself with knowledge, and you can venture further. Don't just buy my book. Buy every book and old catalog you can lay your hands on. Knowledge truly is power in this game.
So before you rush off to see what you can find on eBay, let me warn yet again. I occasionally buy on eBay, but in nearly every case I return the figure because of undisclosed restoration. Currently, a figure that has lost its base is on eBay, but it takes some expertise to know this....and the bids keep going up and up. Recently, a new collector bought a small figure on eBay. It was one of those sales where you make an offer, and this time the "offers" escalated very quickly. I suspect something fishy was going on--and the collector ended up paying about $2,000 for a mis-described figure with issues--when a perfect example changed hands a short while before from a dealer's stock for around $600. If you don't have enormous expertise, please buy from a reputable dealer and you won't live to regret it.