Monthly Archives: June 2013

Breyerfest Preparation

21 days to Breyerfest?  When did that happen?!?!?

I usually take 2 weeks off work and drive to Kentucky with mom and shop at antique stores the whole way out and back.  Due to issues this year I will be flying.  That makes things both easier and more difficult.  I get a bit more time to prepare and don’t have to plan the logistics of the drive, but it will be a challenge getting all the for sale inventory out there.

This is the horse room this morning:

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I spent today cleaning, inventorying and pricing everything.  This is a better shot of what is planned to come for sale:

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Tomorrow will be packing everything I can into boxes to ship and to go on the flight as checked baggage.  They must have changed the dimensions since the last time I flew.  I used to use Gateway computer boxes, but they are far too large for the luggage allowance nowadays.

Since I am constrained by space, larger items likely will not come to Kentucky this year and will instead go to the antique booth.  I thought I would give my readers a look at some of these pieces.  If you are interested let me know and we can talk price, delivery in Kentucky only!

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Freeman McFarlin Mr. Fox and Eagle.

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Freeman McFarlin Cat and Cockatoo (Kay Finch design).

ImageI thought the horse was Brayton Laguna, but now can’t find the reference.

The vase is Wade from England.

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Breyer Dunning Ranchcraft lamps – woodgrain Family Arab Foal and bay Clydesdale Stallion.

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Probably homemade glossy Brahman lamp.

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These are totally cute home-painted pottery mule wall plaques.

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Here is another shot of what is coming to Breyerfest for sale.  Highlights include: Palisade the Clydesdale mare from Passage to the Pacific, Mosai the Artisans Hall jumper, Canadian Mountie on Fury prancer, Davy Crockett on Fury Prancer, buckskin mustang with dorsal stripe, Mego, Rejoice, Bold, Vintage Club smoke Five Gaited (22/500), Vintage Club buckskin Fighting Stallion (22/500), Hidalgo, Silver Wolfe, Savannah Dial, Espirit, Equinox, and more!  If there is something you must have let me know, if space gets tight some things will have to be left home.

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Breyer and Hagen Renaker

Here is the original post I was writing when I was waylaid by the Western Horse Clock – sort of.  It morphed again as I was writing.

Throughout Breyer history they, erm… utilized others’ works as inspirations for their own.  There is much good information out there on the subject, so this blog post is a look at some actual comparisons between Breyer and Hagen Renaker molds (the company will heretowith be referred to as HR to save me from early carpal-tunnel).  A must-read for collectors is the book by Nancy Atkinson Young – Breyer Molds and Models.  It’s the most accurate and detailed book on Breyer available.  It is out of print, but there are second-hand copies available at a variety of web sites.

In 1958 Breyer wanted an Arabian horse family.  Chris Hess promptly obliged, but unfortunately the horses he produced were suspiciously similar to a family produced by HR.  The two firms went to court and HR won.  The Proud Arab Mare and Foal were ruled as copies, and had to be discontinued.  They were originally produced only about 1958-59.  The Arabian Stallion was decided to be different enough from the source mold and was allowed to continue in production.

Breyer Hagen Renaker

This is an example of the Breyer ‘Old Mold’ Proud Arabian Foal and the HR large Zilla.  The most obvious difference besides color is the head tilt.  Both companies did produce the family in white or alabaster, so do pay attention next time you see a glossy alabaster PAF and pick it up to see if it is really a Zilla instead.

Sometime in the early 1970’s the two companies had a conversation and reached agreement about Breyer leasing these two horses plus 9 classic family molds, 5 classic race horses and 16 stablemate molds (now known as the G1 horses).

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This is an example of the Breyer bay Thoroughbred Mare and the HR buckskin Thoroughbred Mare.

Breyer Hagen Renaker

Here we see the standing Thoroughbred Foal (Breyer on left HR on right) and the Morgan Mare (again Breyer on left, HR on right).  This is the mare I convinced an antique dealer to pull out of the trash.  I have the leg and it is a clean break.

Many of these horses came in completely different colors when issued by the two companies, but the classic thoroughbreds in particular can be hard to tell apart until you get close to them.  There is a slight size difference, but again there can be variations within each mold so that is not an indicator of company of manufacture.  A few years ago either the lease was up or not renewed and Breyer has now retired these molds from regular production.  You may see an occasional small special run or test, but it is unlikely that these molds will be produced again.  HR no longer produces these molds in wide release either, but some are now available in limited numbers through specialty dealers.

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This is the Breyer Mustang Stallion in chestnut and the new issue HR Mustang Stallion in chestnut.

In addition, some artists have taken the models and repainted them.  Sometimes these repaints can be reproductions of original finish colors, sometimes completely new custom colors.

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This is a Breyer Arabian Stallion in chestnut and a custom glaze HR by Karen Grimm.  The custom piece is marked on the belly as such.

In addition, some of the horses made by HR were then produced by companies selling unfinished bisques to the hobby market.  These copies are generally different enough from the original to not infringe on copyright law, but the differences can be subtle.

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This is a Breyer stablemate Arabian Stallion on the right and a complete custom Arabian Stallion by Kristina Lucas Francis.  She took two hobby Arabian molds, cut them in half and put the two back together to the opposite front or back.  That was how the production company got around the copyright law.  They took the HR mold, cut it in half and then added those halves to another mold to create something new.  Put back together you can see the original mold they were working from.  Now you can see the main difference is around the ears of the two molds.

This is just a dabbling of the works by the two companies.  As with most figurines they can be worth anything from $1 to a few thousand depending on mold, condition, age and desirability.  I hope you will take a closer look next time you are out shopping and see if you can uncover something you hadn’t noticed before!

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The Western Horse Clock

I had a completely different post subject, however I have been waylaid by curiosity.  This post is partly for the die-hard collectors and partly to educate those newer or less detail-oriented in the model horse world.  You will see why as I go through this post.

I have both a horse-over-the-clock and a horse-next-to-the-clock.  This post is dedicated to exploring the difference between these two pieces.  First I have to recommend Mike Jackson’s definitive article “Mastercrafters Horse Clocks” here: http://www.myhartlands.com/pages/MastercraftersClocks.html.  If you are a model horse collector you MUST read this article.  His page is an in-depth research article, my writing is an in-person comparison of two models.  So here we go…

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This horse-over-the-clock (HotC for short) I have had for at least 15 years and when I bought it I believed it to be a Breyer.  The horse-next-to-the-clock (again, HnttC for short) I found on my Breyerfest trip in the last year or two.  Back in the day, we always wondered about the Ceramic Clock Company hang-tag, but the Chicago address was the same as Mastercrafters, so we thought it was a division of this firm.  The questions asked at the time were – why would a Hartland-style tag be on a Breyer?  Why did it have diamond conchos on the bridle?  It did have the mane on the correct side, and the non-wavy tail, so Breyer production was assumed.

I read Mike’s article a few years ago and relegated the HotC to the store-room.  Tonight I have a blog post due for class, so I was inspired to unpack the model.

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Yes, I broke out the screwdriver for my loyal readers.  Cassie wanted to help, but she has some dexterity problems, so she is relegated to looking cute.  This particular clock has never been used, so for the first time since 1949 the underside of the base will see the light of day (or of a camera flash anyway).

Can I get a drumroll?

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Yep, that is a bad picture of the Hartland diamond I mold mark (the almost-invisible square near the middle of the picture – look at the bottom mounting peg and the mark is at about 11:30 from that point).  Chalk up another HotC to Hartland.  For future reference, she has a brown with whitewash skirting saddle which is slip-on, diamond conchos on the bridle, and o-link style reins.  My favorite new piece of information is this:

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Man, are we detail-oriented or what?  Can you see the difference in the angle of the hoof wall?  The Hartland is on the right with the almost-straight hoof wall (you can see it best in the right-fore hoof).  The Breyer is on the left with the slightly curved hoof wall.  It makes me laugh to think of how to explain this detail to a non-collector or dealer.  I have the hardest time explaining the difference between a PAM and FAM, can you imagine this conversation?  Dealer – “I have a great plastic horse clock for you.”  Me – “Are the front walls of the hooves of the horse convex or straight?”  Dealer – “…”

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This is how I know this clock was never used.  The power cord is still in its original wrapping!  How cool is that?

Comments, thoughts and questions are always welcome.  I will answer every one I get, and if you post your comment to this article we can continue the discussion below.

PS – for you, my loyal readers, I went through my old Breyerfest photo albums and struck gold.

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1995 Breyerfest.  Veterans Collectors Class.  First place (that pink ribbon is either the participation ribbon or the peoples choice ribbon).

Wait – it gets better.

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I have no memory of what we talked about, but I am sure it was fascinating….

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Tina Went Shopping

Excellent day today.  I got off work a bit early and went shopping.  Let’s see what I found.

 

Kay Finch

 

Kay Finch was a potter in Corona Del Mar California from 1940’s to 1960’s.  She was most well known for sculptures of her dogs, particularly Afghan hounds which she raised and showed.  She had a very whimsical style with quite elaborate molding and paint details.  She sold her business to Freeman McFarlin pottery, which continued producing many of her sculptures, but they now used their solid glazes such as gold and white for decoration.  Freeman McFarlin sold to Hagen Renaker in the 1980s, and again many of their molds were produced with Hagen Renaker glazes, both realistic and artistic.  So you can find a Kay Finch mold with a Freeman McFarlin sticker that was made at Hagen Renaker potteries.  In any case, California pottery is no longer as popular as it once was, and Butch is priced a trifle high at $39.  He was originally sold with a hen, Biddy, but the pairs can get separated over time.  There are several good books on Kay Finch you can find many places online.

 

Mastersons

 

Here we have a Hagen Renaker rearing horse, sculpted by Tom Masterson.  When many people think of Hagen Renaker horses, they think of Maureen Love.  Before her horses were produced, we had Tom Masterson horses.  This piece is considered in the Designer Workshop range and was made from 1952-53.  With no stickers or marks on him, you would have to know your history to know who made him.  The dealer did their research as he has the word ‘Hagen’ on his price tag.  Tom’s sculptures were a bit clunky and are not as popular as Maureen’s.  He has likely been in the booth a while, marked down from $125 to $58.  I think these early horses are quite cute, but they are certainly not as popular as many HR pieces.  There are several good books on Hagen Renaker – the comprehensive Charleton Guide and the color photograph-heavy books by Nancy Kelly.

 

Brayton

 

Next up we have a Brayton Laguna rooster.  This company was located in Laguna Beach and was in business from the late 1920’s to the late 1960’s.  The company started with mainly dinnerware and tiles in a single glaze color, and moved into animal and figural ware with many colors and patterns.  Most Brayton Laguna pottery is marked so dealers have an easier time looking up values.  This rooster is probably slightly overpriced at $68 as they were originally sold in pairs, but the booth had a 30% off sale, making him a reasonable price.

 

 

 

Dodge

Finally we have a set of metal foal bookends.  These are sculpted by Gladys Brown Edwards for the Ray E Dodge Company, a trophy manufacturer.  Gladys Brown Edwards was a respected horse expert, author and artist.  Many of her metal bookends and trophies are marked with either her name and/or that of Dodge.  They may also have stickers on the felt base on the bottom.  Her works, both books and sculptures, are sought-after and very popular.  These foals are on the common side, but it can be difficult to find a pair and they are both in good condition.  The price of $39 is very reasonable.  Her larger and more elaborate sculptures can be very pricey and very hard to find.  If you want to know more there are wonderful books on metal horses and one specifically on Gladys Brown Edwards, self published, at http://www.metalhorsefigurines.com.

My tip for the day – always look up and down when shopping.  You will find hidden gems and something like this:90

This sign was posted on a shelf far above average eye level.  I actually didn’t buy anything here, but I sure spent more time combing the booth than I otherwise would have.  I have found wonderful things high above my reach and while crawling on the ground.  Most shoppers just look at eye level (which is why those shelves rent for a premium in grocery stores).  Even if you have been through a store before, taking time to look around corners and in odd nooks and crannies can turn up things you (and everyone else) missed.

If you are interested in any of the pictured items send me a note to christinaldils@gmail.com and I can give you the name of the malls they were at.  The owner said they may make arrangements to ship depending on the dealer.

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Pick It Up!

This piece of advice will be your best friend when out hunting the second-hand shops.  I have found more great buys this way than I can remember.  You not only find things, you learn and advance your education at the same time.  Let’s test your savvy.

Would you fight your way across a crowded booth to pick up and take a closer look at these items?  (I am mainly looking at the front three.  If I saw a booth like this I’d climb over a lot to get to it!)

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Well, At first glance I see a bay rearing stallion, palomino family Arabian stallion and black pinto western horse.  Yawn!

Alert – If you do enter a crowded booth, or any booth for that matter, be careful when picking items up or carrying a purse or fanny pack.  I have found too many legless horses on the floor of my booth over the years.

Second look after picking them up?

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Yeah, baby!  Blue ribbon sticker and nightlight!  Some blue ribbon stickers are on the common side, but they always add value.  Nightlights are quite scarce and always command a good premium, especially intact with cord and switch, and the model is in good condition.  Do be sure to check condition on lamp and nightlight models as the heat from the light bulb can damage paint and plastic.  The woodgrain lamps are especially vulnerable to bubbling paint.  If you have such a model check the cords and connections before using and swap the original bulb for something that does not emit as much heat.

Let’s try again.  In a locked case in the back of a mall with nobody to ask to open the case, no a/c and 100 degrees out.  Do you spend the time and effort to search for a salesperson?

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To add a degree of difficulty, what if the sign in front of them read “Breyers $10 each” and there was lots of empty space on the shelf indicating that other items nearby had already sold.

Let’s see what we find.

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Ding, ding, ding!  White poodle with cape AND perfume bottles!  Big woot!  Breyer created a type of special run for catalogs in the late 1960’s.  They packaged Proud Arabs with hair grooming items, Western Ponies with desk accessories and poodles with sewing kits among other things.  The perfume sets evidently did not sell well and are exceedingly rare, especially with perfume bottles included.

Besides seeing things you would normally miss, picking stuff up will teach you things.  Next exhibit – plate as seen in antique mall with dealer price tag.

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So whaddaya think?

Metlox did rooster plates, and dealers know their stuff, right?

If you try to search for Metlox on your cell phone the photo resolution on the rooster plates, if you find one, generally wont give you quite enough detail for good identification.  Differences between manufacturers can be subtle, and the difference in value can be significant.

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Nope, evidently dealers can’t read.  Hagen Renaker did make plates, bowls and mugs among other non-figural items.  Some are on the common side, but many are quite rare, so learning painting styles and colors as well as using your hands can find amazing things.

I do have one word of warning when heeding this advice, remember where you are.  I was on a home tour and spied a set of Gladys Brown Edwards bookends on the mantle of one of the homes.  I picked it up out of habit to look for the label on the bottom, much to the horror of the friends I was with.

Contest results – I had several correct entries and the answer is – the Chang-An Dynasty stablemate from Breyerfest 2008.  He is mostly in the middle of the picture, slightly to the right.  Marla is the winner, Congratulations!  I will contact you about your prize.

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How to Have Fabulous Finds

I can hear you asking the question now – how do you find all this rare and unusual stuff to sell (or keep!)?  Let me tell you there are neat finds out there if you look hard enough.  I will take you through the steps to become an expert hunter in the secondhand marketplace.  The basics are easy enough: research, search and utilize your resources.  Mastery of the material will take time, but even a bit of effort can pay off quickly.  This post will skim the surface, and hopefully lead to some deeper discussions.

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First, do your research.  There are books, websites and message boards dedicated to discussing model horses.  The best to quickly get up to speed are the book Breyer Animal Collectors Guide by Felicia Browell, the website Identify your Breyer and the discussion forum Model Horse Blab.  Let your fingers do the walking, ask questions and pay attention.  The previous picture was my fabulous find after reading about the Silver treasure hunt on Blab.  If you don’t know what is out there, a great piece could be under your nose and you wont know.  For advanced learners there are blogs like Muddy Hoofprints, specialty message boards like Breakables on Yahoo Groups, and fabulous books by Nancy Kelly on Hagen Renaker and Freeman McFarlin.

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Next – get out there and hunt!  Flea markets, yard sales, antique stores, pawn shops – heck even bars, preschools and your neighbors front window all have potential.  Yep, I have found and bought models from all these venues.  On the world wide marketplace of the internet there is stuff for sale everywhere.  Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, and Ruby Lane are some big ones, but you can search out more obscure sites like Apron Thrift Girl with Thrift Share Monday.  The previous picture is a recent Craigslist find.  A future post will specifically cover how to find buried treasure on Craigslist since it is a gold mine if you know where to look.

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Finally utilize your resources.  At least teach your friends and family to call you when they see a horse shaped object.  Cell phones are your friend.  If someone sees something have them take a picture and send it to you immediately.  This can help end the conversations that start “well, I saw a horse at a yard sale this morning – you don’t want the weird blue-colored ones, right?”  Teach the dealers in your area that you know your stuff and want to help them.  If you treat them right they can be a resource for years to come.  Pay fair prices, don’t tell them that woodgrain mustang is common and buy it for a song, they will find out and then wont bring you their next collection of decorators.  The previous picture is a Hagen Renaker plate a friend found after I gave her a quick run down on the difference between HR and Metlox pottery.

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I hope this helps start your enthusiasm for the hunt.  There are models surrounding you, I want to help you find them.  I have boxes and tables full of horses I found just since last July that will be coming to Breyerfest for sale.  They came from eBay, Craigslist, local auction houses and yard sales.  I found some, mom and friends found some, and I even had one person call me and offer their collection.  Don’t believe the old line that there isn’t anything good out there anymore.  I can show you fabulous finds; you can either buy them from me (or another friendly reseller) or enjoy the thrill of finding them yourself.  Either way, lets keep enjoying our horses, of course!

 

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Welcome and a Contest!

Welcome to the Horses, of Course blog!  This is a new adventure for me, so thank you for coming along for the ride.  I hope to create a place that will be just like the rooms at the Clarion at Breyerfest in July – there will be stuff for sale, information, news, and fun.  I welcome ideas, suggestions and feedback, so let me know what you want to see here.

A bit about myself.  I have been collecting since I was 8, attended my first show in 1991 and have attended every Breyerfest since 1993.  I started selling models soon after I started attending Breyerfest and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.  My primary interest is in history and have a bit of a knack for finding the rare and unusual.  From a herd of Designers Workshop cats that got bought in Salt Lake City and sold at Breyerfest last year to a Hartland horse-over-the-clock with original hang tag that is coming to Kentucky this year for room sales; I hunt out the treasures and want to share my knowledge and tips with you, my new readers.

In my opinion, the more information we share, the better for everyone.  I was in a store buying a mini Hagen Renaker Morgan stallion when the dealer told me she had bought two horses, but the other had a broken leg, so she threw it away.  I panicked, and actually got the dealer to go through the trash and find the otherwise mint mini Hagen Renaker Morgan mare and her leg, which was a clean break.  I did a quick educational seminar on model horses and gave her some internet resources to help.  We will lose many rare pieces if we keep knowledge to ourselves in search of only cheap fabulous finds, so go forth and help preserve history.

I will start my blogging career with a contest.  I think it will be a fun and popular way to get the word out there is a new resource in internet-town.  Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your barber and your dodge ball team.  What can you win?  Your choice of models in the latest collection I bought, pictured below.  Only one entry per person please.

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What is the contest?  Find the ceramic model in the picture below and email me the name of the model.  I will run the contest through June 15 at 5 PM Pacific Standard Time.  You may email your entry (plus your information on how you want to be contacted should you win) to me at christinaldils@gmail.com.  I will write the names of all the entries with correct answers on slips of paper, shuffle them around and pick one at random as a winner.  I will contact the winner and make arrangements for shipping your prize later that night.

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Like I said this is a new adventure for me, so let me know what you want to see.  I have some plans and ideas and I want to provide value for you.

The most fun will be my trip to Breyerfest in July.  I will post my prep work getting ready for the trip and show – including sneak peeks of for sale items.  As I travel I will share my adventures, and fabulous finds.  I will live tweet interesting stuff I find in the stores, so go follow me on Twitter @ChristinaDils.

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