Well, that was an interesting couple of posts on Breyer packaging, but there are a lot more companies in the world producing collectibles – what about them? Never fear, I enjoy the obscure topics as much as the next collector, so here is a post exploring the exciting world of Hagen Renaker packaging! Be still my beating heart!
All pieces must have come in some sort of a box for shipping purposes. Mostly these were simply cardboard boxes with all the figurines for that particular order inside and were not intended for retail display. The Hagen Renaker mini animals came attached to small cards with the company name and location printed on the card. This served two purposes, help protect the fragile china figurine and promote the company so the customer would hopefully look for HR products for their next purchase. HR made some efforts throughout the years for more attractive displays and packaging and boxes for the models to attract purchasers and help protect from damage.
This is one of their earliest attempts. In the early 1960s HR would take a few existing miniatures, glue them to the same card and sell in a clear plastic box. The card is glued down to the box so the figurines are protected inside the box from breakage. They made several sets with different animal families and small props such as logs and a skunk family with an atomizer.
This shows the bottom of the box with the name of the company and location. Hagen Renaker had production facilities located in Monrovia from 1946 to the mid-1960s. The card is a light purple or blue and this color was only used in this facility, once they moved to San Dimas they changed to the light tan color cards. This piece is quite rare, as are all the boxed sets. In this case the skunks alone are quite common, it is the display card and box that add to their value.
Next up is a Little Horrible with box and advertising ephemera. This line was only produced for a very short time in 1959. All the figures in the line were designed by Nell Bortells, and David Renaker named them and came up with the pun for the inside of the card. Due to the short-lived nature of the line, all the figures are quite rare. Most were taken out of their box after purchase for display and the paperwork that goes with them was often lost; so the accompanying items are even more rare. As a historic point of interest they originally retailed for $1 each. In my opinion they are all totally adorable, and I take everything out of the box for display, but do keep them together.
This item I have not been able to find out much about. It is a mini fawn on a folded thin cardboard display with hole punched at the top for hanging on a display. The piece is quite attractive with nice font, color and design choices. I have had this piece for many years and have seen very few others.
Here is the text on the back of the box, promoting Hagen Renaker and their products. Interestingly there is no city listed or contact information, just to ‘watch for new items to build your collection’. The .70 cent price tag likely dates it to the 1970s. This packaging was intended for retail display, and most buyers probably removed the animal from the display when they got it home. The fawn is quite common, but still intact on this packaging is quite rare.
Next up is another interesting point of sale attempt. Now the figurine is in a plastic bag attached to a paper hanger with hole punch for hanging. This packaging would take up less room on a spinner or pegboard style-display than the previous design, but leaves the animal inside more open to damage from banging around in shipping and consumers leafing through the items. The colors on the header are fewer and the hanger simply reads ‘California Handcrafted Miniatures, Hagen Renaker Inc’.
This is the other side of the piece, identical front and back makes for easier display maintenance. The price tag is for Pier 1, has an SKU and the piece is priced at .99 cents. Again, I have only seen a very few of this style of packaging, likely due to the fact it was designed for retail display and customers removed the animal and discarded the rest when they got home. The chipmunk is very common, it is the package that is the valuable part of this piece.
A more modern Hagen Renaker box is this one designed for a King Cortez special run. The packaging was quite elaborate with custom-cut foam insert in a velvet-lined box inside another cardboard box. This was a 1,000 piece special run in 2001. To my knowledge HR has not used such elaborate packaging before or since. Unfortunately the run size was quite large, and many collectors were not enthusiastic for the color on the model either. Due to this the model does not have much value, and the packaging really does not affect its value one way or the other.
Hagen Renaker is no longer in as many retail stores as in the past, and mainly figurines are available through on-line retailers. They have brought back some of the Designers Workshop horses for sale and although you order from a retailer, the horses are direct-shipped to the customer from the factory. This is an example of the box the new horses are shipped in. They are shipping boxes only, not meant for attractive display in a retail environment. The nice part is the model is labeled on the outside of the box, so for storage or resale it is quite easy to find the appropriate box in your storage area (although I don’t think poor Butch has much chicken in him). The box is simply filled with egg crate foam pieces, with no custom cutouts or inserts. There is no particular reason to keep the box for collectibility purposes, it is not attractive for display nor is it more rare than the model itself. These models are being marketed to collectors, so everyone that wants one can buy one, and they are not disappearing into non-collector hands. Keep the box if convenient, or reuse to ship something else, I do not see modern HR packages becoming collectible in their own right.