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 Post subject: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:19 am 
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Location: Hong Kong
I'm just spreading the love a bit. I've been on the hunt for the set of Berrocal Mini's for quite some time now. I finally managed to get the full set and a couple of others that I've been lusting after. My most recent blog post is about my collection. If you are a hidden magpie, these are the puzzles for you.
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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:23 am 
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You called me out! (hidden magpie) They're beautiful, stunning, worth a small fortune no doubt.. congratulations.

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:05 am 
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Location: Jarrow, England
I just spent a hour reading about Miguel Berrocal and his puzzle sculptures and they are truly amazing. Thanks Rox for bringing these beautiful objects to the attention of the TP. As someone once said:
Shakespeare wrote:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, I am very jealous :mrgreen:

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Last edited by Gus on Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:25 pm 
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Good heavens, what a collection! You need to upgrade to lighted display cabinets or something for these. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:27 pm 
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Berrocal's puzzle sculptures are wonderful. I first read about them in Martin Gardner's column on Berrocal in Scientific American in the 80s. At the time, I didn't see what the big deal was. Then much later I had a chance to play with some... they are brilliant, organic puzzles, and also art.

Here's what you do with a Berrocal. (I think Rox has yet to learn this. :wink:) You face a pile of pieces, with no reference sheet showing exactly what the assembled sculpture will look like. Then... you gradually learn how the pieces interact, oh, this one fits next to that one, you gradually build up subassemblies. Then you figure out how the subassemblies fit together. Very often you will realize that wait, to put these together, you have to back up several steps, and do things in the right order. Similarly, when you finally figure out where a particular piece is supposed to go, you might have to go back almost to the beginning to get it into place.

Often the assembly steps are not just, put this piece here, put the next one there. Pieces have to be slid, locked, twisted, etc. The mechanical design is brilliant, as is the art/puzzle concept itself – these things are numbered, collectible sculptures, and also puzzles! For example, of the six minis, there were 10,000 of each made. Then the molds were destroyed. For most of the larger ones, fewer were made. That makes these valuable art objects which appreciate, as well as puzzles. Oh, also each comes with its own book, with some background on the inspiration and design of the puzzle, and complete assembly steps.

Most of the interesting ones were made in the 60s and 70s, and many of them out there were not well cared for, so it is definitely caveat emptor on eBay. (Also you won't always get the book with the puzzle.)

This is my current collection, all the minis, plus Richelieu and Goliath, the two (by far) most complex Berrocals. I got myself the Richelieu as a Ph.D. graduation present. For years I lusted after the Goliath, and recently the stars aligned and I was finally able to get one.

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Assembling the Goliath from scratch I would call the most challenging puzzle-solving experience I've ever had. You have to keep so many things in mind at once, not just discrete facts, but subtle things about shapes looking familiar and looking like they might go together, as well as the specific assembly steps you used 50 pieces ago, so you can reconstruct that when you back all the way up to put in the piece you just found the spot for. This is what Goliath looks like disassembled:



I'm envious of Rox's Alexandre (though it's a paperweight until you get the key?), and along with that, Manolete is next on my list of desired acquisitions.


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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:10 am 
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Location: Missouri
bhearn wrote:
For years I lusted after the Goliath, and recently the stars aligned and I was finally able to get one.
Congratulations. I remember becoming aware of these puzzles back in the last 80's as well. It may have been through Scientific American as well, I honestly can't recall how I first learned about them. My peek interest was while I was a grad student and Goliath was the one I was most interested in as well. Even then the cost of these was well outside what I could afford so I eventually wrote it off that I'd never have one and to be honest I haven't thought about them in a long time. If someone where to try and find one of these today what is the best way to look for one? eBay? What is the going price for a Goliath today? I'm afraid to ask.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:26 pm 
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Congrats, Rox, on completing your collection of minis!

Will you be getting a Maxton next? :) http://www.maxton.com/maxtongallery.shtml

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:20 pm 
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I think Rox should get the Intimidator :shock: It looks quite simple and cheap to buy.

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:36 pm 
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*glues jaw back to head* Geez.. Don't scare people like that!

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:42 pm 
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Gus wrote:
I think Rox should get the Intimidator :shock: It looks quite simple and cheap to buy.


That would drive me insane...I'm already bad enough at these kinds of puzzles :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:12 pm 
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If only I had over $9000 for this thing :D


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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:47 am 
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I've put in an offer on a Manolete. Fingers crossed the seller accepts it. After that, it's Romeo and Juliete for me, and then, yes Rob I've been looking at the Maxton's and drooling. Like Bob, that might be my PhD gift to myself.

As for where to find these, I would stay away from eBay. There's one up now that I am certain is a scam. I bid it up to a certain price, and lost. The next day it was listed again with a buy it now of the price I bid. A friend bid it up to a slightly lower price and lost. The next day...you guessed it. Same puzzle, new BIN price. Now maybe the seller has 3 of these, but I'm not willing to bet money on it.

For my money, auction houses are the way to go, but you need out watch out for the 'buyers premium' I've seen some as high as 40%. Of course, there is a seller in the US and another in the UK that you could get in touch with. If interested, I'm sure you could pm Rob, Bob, or myself to get the contact information but a google search is just as easy to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:23 am 
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I've not done it justice, but I've just put up a blog post about ManyMoreHorses. If you aren't a magpie, no problem. I bet your other half likes to wear pretties around her neck. This is the Ultimate. You can play while she displays.

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Next week, a pile of pieces ala bhearn's unchallenged challenge.

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 Post subject: Re: Miguel Berrocal
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:49 pm 
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Congrats on the find.
It looks great on you, Rox!

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