Monthly Archives: July 2013

Those Crazy Don Manning Animals

I was inspired to explore some non-horsey collectibles lately.  These guys have a mystery pedigree, but they do figure into the family tree back in the roots.  Don Manning was a designer of plastic tchotchkes back in the 1940s.  His animal figures were produced in plastic by a firm called NOSCO.

Don Manning deer unicorn

Here we see some of his larger figures.  The silver doe is the same mold that was bought by Breyer and became the Modernistic Doe.  She is unmarked, although many other colors of this mold that I have seen have mold marks.  The clear version is marked “Designed by Don Manning”.  They have been found in clear, silver and bright gold.  The other two, a deer and a unicorn, are marked USA, and the multicolored unicorn is marked Don Manning.

Don Manning USA

You can just make out the mold mark on this piece.  The nice part is that the mold mark is on the outside of the leg which makes it very easy to find.  Most of the pieces I own have the USA mark.

Don Manning

Here we see the name Don Manning on the outside of the unicorn leg.  Of the animals I have on display, this is the only piece marked with his name.  I have seen other animals with his name, but it is usually the larger animals and only a few of those.  There is a horse that is essentially this unicorn mold without the horn which has the name molded on.

Don Manning horse giraffe camel elephant

Next up is a menagerie of animals.  All but the giraffe are marked USA.  That fact and that there is a similar giraffe on thermometer in package found that was produced by Raymond Industries makes me question if that piece was made by another company and designer.

Don Manning dog deer stork

Finally a few more animals.  The dog is marked USA and I have also seen him as a pin.  The stork is unmarked and the outside of the legs are textured.  That fact and the difference in styling imply that this piece as well may be by a different designer.

So there you have it, some fun art-deco era plastic animals.  These are forerunners of today’s molded plastic animals and in my opinion have just as much charm and artistry as newer, more realistic sculptures.


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My Money Manager by Breyer

Delving into the deep dark recesses of the past, I am curious how many know of Breyer’s first attempt at a children’s toy.  The My Money Manager – learn to manage your allowance and have fun at the same time!  What a fun concept!

This is actually a re-purposing of an older Breyer product – the Cigarette Host.  Introduced around 1950 it was supposed to be an attractive place for the sophisticated smoker to store several brands of cigarettes.  You could label the drawers with the name of the cigarette brand for easy location when the urge to smoke struck.  The concept was not well-received, and like most companies, the research and development department went to work to find another use for the product.

The concept of using this product as a bank was invented, and the marketing team got busy advertising the ‘edutainment’ value of the idea.  It was available in green and red, and came with a free booklet “Grow a Self-Reliant Child”.  Apparently children were not thrilled, and it was retired by early 1953, but there is evidence of its existence – advertisements and even a (very) few examples in collections.

Breyer My Money Manager ad

Here we see a full-page ad for the bank.  Interesting choice of features to emphasize – it’s proven for budgeting, to teach intelligent spending?  Yeesh, parents might fall for it (commended by Parents Magazine), but kids likely were only interested in the spending and presents drawers.  It is described as a character-builder for kindergarten through high school.  I have NO idea why that would not be popular in the toy aisle…

Breyer My Money Manager front

Yep – a dark-green My Money Manager in the plastic!  This sucker is HEAVY!  It is made of stamped plastic, not injection molded, and is very solidly made.  It has the signature drawer labels and even shows wear from use ( I am sure the contribution drawer got chipped from such frequent use)!

Breyer My Money Manager top

This shows the bank from the top so you can see where the money goes in.  It is designed to look like file drawers, so the tops of the drawers are off white with diagonal impressions to look like the tops of files.  The drawers will only slide out this far unless you ‘unlock’ the drawer to help resist the temptation to take an early withdrawal.

Breyer My Money Manager drawers

Here we see how the tops of the ‘file folders’ lift out.  The little metal tabs at the front of the drawers turn to unlock the drawer and allow for removal when you want to take out your money.  You take out the drawer and remove the top to take your money out.  Of course the diligent child will be depositing the money to their savings account, right?

Breyer My Money Manager bottom

Here is the bottom of the bank.  You can see the slots where the latching mechanisms slide when opening and closing the drawers and where the lock turn is (that diamond at the bottom of the slot).  No mold marks anywhere on the piece, you just have to know what it is.  I saw a copy of the ad in the room of Breyer History Diva at Breyerfest several years ago, showed it to mom, and she found one!  It is possible to find very rare stuff in the wild, you just have to know what to look for.

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Hagen Renaker Packaging

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.

Hagen Renaker packaging skunk box

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.

Hagen Renaker packaging box bottom

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.

Hagen Renaker packaging Little Horribles

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.

Hagen Renaker packaging deer card front

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.

Hagen renaker package card back

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.

Hagen Renaker packaging baggie front

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’.

Hagen Renaker packaging bag back

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.

Hagen Renaker King Cortez box

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 packaging butch box

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.

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Vintage Breyer Packaging

My last post covered newer Breyer packaging and suggested removing models from boxes and tossing (or recycling) the box.  New models are more valuable removed from boxes where flaws can be seen and the danger of box rubs eliminated.  There are simply more models being made today than in the past and so new boxes are more common.  Older packaging however can be collectible in its own right and there is the question, leave it in the box or remove, and keep the box or not.

Breyer cardboard box package

This is a nice example of a model and its 1970s era box.  The models were in solid cardboard boxes with either line drawings or photographs of the model on the outside.  The models were shrink-wrapped and sealed into the box so the buyer was going by what was on the outside of the box as a representation of what was inside.  Many of the boxes are collectible in their own rights.  This colorful box of an elephant is probably more rare than the actual model.  During the 1976 election Breyer played on patriotism and released the elephant and donkey in these special boxes.

Breyer stablemate cardboard box

Next we have another cardboard box, this time for a stablemate Saddlebred.  Usually the Stablemate series was released on blister cards, these boxes were mainly used for catalog book sales.  Being more rare than the usual package, this box is just as collectible as the model inside.  All of the cardboard boxes sold in retail stores were shrink-wrapped and sealed.  There are collectors who want these unopened boxes, perhaps for the excitement of not knowing what is inside (there may be a chalky, variation or a rare model in there by accident) or for the simple rarity of the unopened box.  Some very rare models in unopened boxes can fetch good sums.  It is up to the collector to decide to open the box or not.  Once opened, take the model out and display on a shelf.  Rattling around inside the box, even in the lightweight plastic bag, will cause rubs.  You may want to keep the box, they fold flat and don’t take up much room.  A model with the original cardboard box can be worth more than one without.

breyer packaging benji on card

Here is Benji on his original blister card.  Benji also came in a cardboard box with his friend Tiffany and a setup of a scene in the movie in Greece.  In this case the packaging even in rough condition adds value to the model.  He wasn’t produced for long (and really isn’t the best-looking model out there), and the card is cute with a picture of the dogs.  This model is an example of a cross-collectible, that is there are movie fans who do not collect Breyer’s who may collect Benji merchandise or famous dog collectibles.  Generally this type of collector places a higher value on the package than a Breyer collector, and wants the card just as much as the model.

Breyer showcase packaging

This Family Arabian Mare is in one of the most valuable boxes Breyer made.  She is an example of the Showcase Collection.  Previous to this time the models came in plain cardboard boxes with only the number and name of the model inside.  Retailers had a display in the store showing an example of the models they carried, and consumers would look at the display to choose the model they wanted to buy.  In the early 1970s Breyer wanted a package that showed off the model inside but also protected it from damage from handling.  This box was one of their early efforts.  It is a clamshell clear plastic with indents to keep the model from moving around too much in the box.  A catalog of their offerings for the year was generally included and there was a label somewhere on the box with the model name and number (in this case it is on the bottom of the box under the model).  These plastic boxes were quite flimsy, so after a few restylings Breyer moved to the solid cardboard box with a drawing or picture of the model on the outside instead.  The Showcase boxes are extremely rare, particularly in good condition and are usually far more valuable than the model inside.

So we see that older boxes and packaging can be just as collectible or more than the model inside.  I enjoy the artwork on the cardboard boxes and the uniqueness of the Showcase Collection.  There are more box and package styles out there, almost as many as models that are available.  I once bought an entire shipping case of standing donkeys from the 1960s with the original shipping label from Breyer and I think the receiving firm of a zoo.  I have sold almost all the models for higher price than any single unboxed example.  I sold 2 unopened to allow the buyer the fun of finding out what was inside.  Of the remaining models one was almost black the shading was so dark, one had forgotten black details such as eyes and hooves, and one was spectacularly shaded and won overall other animal champion at a live show.  The story of finding the entire case at an antique show was fun to tell and several people chose to buy a model after hearing the story.  As with most collectibles condition is a big determinant of value, and the older and more rare the box, the more forgiving collectors are of flaws.  I suggest keeping almost all older vintage packaging as there is someone out there that collects it.


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New in package – good or not?

Collectors can be a pretty picky bunch.  Condition, rarity, age, color, provenance, finish, quality and more are all factors that determine what someone is willing to pay for an item.  Each specific group of collectors has their own ranking for judging value, and one group can put one thing high on the list while another doesn’t particularly care.  The specific factor I am going to discuss today is packaging.  In many groups, such as Barbie collectors, new in mint packaging can raise the price of a specific item.  If the box has a ding or crinkle it can discount the price by quite a bit even if the item inside is mint.  As a general rule model horse collectors are almost the opposite.  We want the box and packaging gone so we can see the model to evaluate for condition.  New in box items can even go for less than unboxed items.

Today I will touch on modern packaging, how and why it affects value and when to take something out of its box.  One of the biggest criteria a collector will consider when choosing to buy a model is its condition.  Everything from hoof edge and ear tip rubs to shiny marks in the finish will bring the value down.

Breyer packaging christmas

Here we see a typical new Breyer in box.  The packaging was created to be able to show off the model for prospective buyers while also protecting the model from damage from prospective customers handling the model.  The box serves this purpose admirably.  Unfortunately it also can harm the original finish of the model in several ways.  Any model that comes with tack or decorations attached is asking for color transfer.  Any item of tack that is dyed (pretty much everything), if that tack is touching the horse, the color will stain the model.  It is especially true for dark tack on light horses, but you can even stain bay and black horses.

breyer packaging boots bling\

This is a model offered at Breyerfest this year.  You will notice that the model is tied into the box with metal twist-ties on the legs.  These ties are double-wrapped around legs and pasterns quite tightly to hold the model in to the box and keep it from moving around in the box.  Unfortunately this can also have the side effect of the ties rubbing the paint.  The metal ties are coated in plastic, but they can rub the paint and are quite difficult to remove without damaging the model further.

Breyer packaging classic

Here we see another model still attached to its original box.  You can see more clearly that Breyer did recognize the rubbing problem and created custom plastic molds to keep the legs away from the box back and conform to the anatomy of the model to prevent breaking.  However if you look up at the shoulder and barrel, these areas can rub against the box back directly.  In the older yellow boxes you would get large yellow stains on the areas of the model that touched the cardboard back.  Newer boxes have a coating on the cardboard so at least you don’t get the staining, but the motion of the model rubbing on the cardboard during shipping and sitting in the warehouse will leave shiny marks on the areas of the model that touch the backing.

Breyer packaging stablemate

Here we see a stablemate blister card.  The model is not tied against the card, the custom-fitted plastic blister bubble holds the model against the card.  Again, the card is treated with a coating to reduce color transfer to the model, but the model is still free to move around a bit in the package leading to shiny spots on the high points such as barrel, hip and shoulder.  Color bleed does still occur, and is more likely the longer a model is in the package.  It is also more likely in a lighter colored or white model than a dark one.  The shiny spots are more likely on the dark and matte models.

breyer ornament package

This is one of the Breyer Christmas stablemate ornaments.  Here we see the model is in a reverse-custom blister pack.  Instead of being held against the back of the box, it is pressing against the front.  It also has the metal-plastic wire ties to hold it in.  In addition the blister pack is very detailed and custom-fitted, holding the model tightly in several areas such as the legs and tail.  Now we have another problem to add to rubs, the nature of the tight custom-blister pack can cause the model to break when you try to remove it from the package.  Porcelain models seem to be particularly susceptible to this problem.  Removal takes several specialized tools to be sure you get the model out undamaged.

In these cases of modern boxes and packaging, the value of the model is almost always less to the collector if it is in the box.  Not only do we have a huge headache of trying to get it out without damage, we have potential damage from the packaging.  In addition, collectors look for good paint shading, clean markings and little over spray.  Collectors want to be able to examine the model closely to make sure the off-side is as nice as the show side that is facing us.

breyer bubble wrap

This is an insidious example of potential packaging damage.  Many new special-run Breyers come in a plastic baggie wrapped in bubble wrap.  There is a reason that the model is in the baggie first, then the bubble wrap around.  Plastic bubble wrap can melt easily under not especially high temperatures and damage the models that they are wrapping.  Bubble wrap can still be the wrap of choice due to it being lightweight and soft, but always be sure that the model is in a bag of some sort so the bubble wrap does not touch it, and to be especially sure wrap the model bubble-side out.  It is the thin bubble side that is most prone to melting.

So there you have it, take your models out of their boxes and free them!  It makes storage take up less space and is one less thing to have to keep track of.  You can throw that box away, we aren’t interested in it for the most part.  If the box has an interesting sticker or information card you can cut it out and throw the rest away.

There are always exceptions, but for most modern (post-1990) models we want them out of their boxes.  The next post will cover collectible packaging you may consider either removing the model from and keeping, or sometimes keeping the model in.

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A Sad Sunday

Breyerfest, how quickly you leave us.  It seems we just arrived at the Clarion with hopes and dreams, and now we are left in a room full of chaos and packing material and too much stuff to take home.  We laughed, we sang, we shopped, we told tall tales, we sweated, we commiserated just missing the one that got away, and now we part.  Until next year, adieu.

What brings us here?  Why do we return to Kentucky every July?  I know my reasons – friends, finds and fun.  Everyone comes with their own idea of what Breyerfest is, and here are a few things that keep us coming back.

Breyerfest 2013


Friends – this is my happy place.  Seeing everyone you only see once a year, sitting up until midnight each night laughing, that is my essence of Breyerfest.  I have selling friends that I sit and exchange info with on what is hot, what is not and recent finds and events.  We help each other price stuff, set up our rooms and help sell in between all the chatter.  I have line-standing friends.  There are enough lines here each year to make Disney World in July look uncrowded.  We reminisce about the Shannon line, laugh when cash registers go down (again), and make lemonade runs to help each other keep hydrated.  This year I made a bunch of new friends.  From a new Twitter pal to the wanderer I hope to run into and swap stories with again and again, I added to Facebook friends and I look forward to catching up next year.  Then there are the friends from many years ago.  We can say one word and go into gales of laughter.  We have gone through life keeping in touch and this time to reconnect is precious.

Breyerfest 2013 Room Sales


Selling – for me I like to make money to pay for coming to Kentucky each year.  Besides helping defray the hotel bill, I also enjoy helping people find what they are looking for.  From the buckskin Quarter Horse Gelding that one man shared with his grandmother to the Peter Stone jumping horse grail model for a young girl, I enjoy finding models good homes.  There were shoppers looking for models to start practicing customizing on, children wanting to play horses with their friends and collectors looking to fill holes in their collections.  When I rescue a model from a thrift store with a huge sticker in a box of broken toys, clean it up and share with a shopper the story of what that chalky Adios went through, that is satisfying.  There are pieces out there that need to find someone to appreciate them, and I don’t want more rare items disappearing into the abyss of a home that does not know and appreciate them for what they are.

Breyerfest 2013


Buying – this is about collecting, after all!  I wouldn’t be coming if I didn’t enjoy the models.  I have a collection with holes to fill, and I hope by keeping the money in the hobby we can keep it going around.  What I buy this year may end up in my room for sale in a few years when the collection changes focus again.  There are a lot of items out there to choose from.  Chinas, plastic, tack, wagons, customs, resins, jewelry, backdrops.  The rooms are full and I enjoy room shopping just as much as room selling.

Breyerfest 2013 Smart and Shiney


Horses!  We can’t forget there is a real horse out there inspiring the artists to create.  We can find a portrait of our own favorite horse or enjoy a representation of those we admire.  Watching the horses perform in the covered arena, warm up outside, get a bath and drowse in their stalls we are reminded of our partnership with them in the hobby.  The owners who bring horses to Breyerfest are a wonderful bunch, letting us pet them, get our pictures taken and answering endless questions about them.

Breyerfest 2013 raffle


Raffles!  The excitement of having your name called, the anticipation of the next ticket called – adrenaline is high.  This year one gal got picked who only had 6 tickets.  It only takes one and you could be the next lucky winner.  It can be more fun to win a raffle model than to find a wonderful, under priced model in the hotel.

Breyerfest 2013 Saturday 001

There are a million more reasons, but this sight is one that draws me every year.  Seeing the welcome sign lets me know that just down the drive is a horse park full of friends, finds and fun.  Horses alive and full of spirit, and models that can capture the essence.  Excitement and anticipation are potent reasons to return to our one and only Breyerfest.

My favorite goodbye?  See you in 51 weeks!


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Saturday Night Fever

Saturday, the day we look forward to and dread.  A full day of fun and shopping, but with the knowledge that tonight will be the last time to see many friends until next year.  I would say today was not quite as hot, but it was still bad enough to send many people to the first aid station and some to the hospital with heat stroke.  Stay hydrated and seek the shade whenever possible.  Not even special runs should endanger your health.

I would say tonight was much slower with fewer shoppers and far fewer sales than I usually see.  Saturday night is usually the last big hurrah with late night shopping and full rooms.  Tonight our room was never full and sales were anemic at best.  The hallways were quieter than last night and I saw people carrying fewer bags and packages than the last few days.  I actually closed early (11:30) as customers had disappeared.

For our tour today, I thought I would spotlight some vendors from the covered arena.

Breyerfest 2013 wood art horses

First up we see some wonderful wood horse art.  These pieces are hand-made by Wood Art by Eli.  He had a great booth full of a myriad of animals and flowers cut and pieced together.  Their three-dimensional nature makes them really stand out.  I particularly liked the pony in a paddock, and was quite tempted to buy this piece for some future lucky friend.  From natural to artistic he had art for every taste.  Some favorites were a pelican on an old weathered board, a hummingbird and a crazy guy with antique keyhole covers for eyes.   The artist is also president and associate publisher for TravelHost of the Bluegrass, a tourism magazine, so he is quite the busy guy!

Breyerfest 2013 Justin artistic horse

Next is pretty unique.  This is Justin the Artistic Horse.  Yes you see right, that is a horse who actually paints.  I have seen an elephant who paints in Arizona using her trunk, and Justin holds a special paint brush in his mouth to paint.  His human helper may suggest colors, but he actually applies the paint to the canvas and decides when it is done.  He had a wide variety of artwork available, all with different appearances.  Some are darker, some lighter and more open, many have hoof prints, and one looks almost like a portrait of a horse.  He is quite talented and enjoys creating new art.

Breyerfest 2013 Jane Tilton horse art

This is the quite talented Jane Tilton of Black Horse Studio.  She was very popular, offering to draw an original charcoal sketch for people of their horses.  There was a long line waiting, and she can work from something as easy as a cell phone picture of someones horse.  Her prices are more than reasonable, and even as quick worker she still had enough people on her wait list to keep her up almost all last night and tonight.  I hope she continues to come to Breyerfest to offer her talent to us, and she also has a website to take custom orders and special commissions.

Breyerfest 2013 horse purses

This booth was wonderful and I actually bought one of their purses.  Pony UP Kentucky creates original purses for the equestrian set.  Their products are all hand made, and I love the fact you can change out the purse straps for different colors and styles.  The straps are all actual horse halter leather straps and there are many fabric patterns and purse styles to choose from.  The best part is that 100% of their profits go to help retired and rescue horses.  A great product for a great cause – double your fun!

Breyerfest metal dogs and cats

Finally I will wrap up with probably my favorite vendor.  Creature Comforts by Erica is a line of hand made cat and dog miniatures created out of sheet metal.  She captures each breed personality perfectly.  I had to get a dachshund and a corgi for myself, and will likely get the Siamese cat even though I am not a cat person!  They are that perfect.  You can see the stretching cat in blue pattern in the middle of the picture.  She sells mainly to wholesale gift shops, so look for them at your favorite small retailer.

There is more to Breyerfest than new plastic ponies.  I hope you had a chance if you were there to explore the individual artist booths and chat.  They are amazing people, working hard every day to create wonderful things for us.  If you didn’t go, check out the hot links in the blog for the artists web sites.  I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did creating it!

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After Midnight Already?

What a long day it has been.  I got to sleep in, relative to the years I used to do the Ninja Pit of Death, getting up at 7:30.  Breakfast and off to the first official day of Breyerfest.  I taught a jewelry making class from 10-12 and I think my group had a great time making a necklace and 2 key chains.  We walked around a bit but found the lines for both stores too long for my taste, so we stood in line for lemonade and a gyro instead.  Hot topic of the day was the broken cash registers that put the special run lines an hour behind.  Luckily they were back on track by my time of 3:30, so I only had to stand in the hot sun for about 1/2 hour.

Back to the hotel to open up for room sales.  I thought tonight was a trifle slower than last night, but too many people were standing in line for the swap meet.  I wanted to tell them it was the same stuff as room sales, and there was no need for another line, but I contained myself.  Since the last post was heavy on chinas, I focused on some non-model stuff for tonight.

Breyerfest 2013 Wagons

First up is the wagon master, Bill Duncan.  He had a wonderful display of everything from sleighs to hearses.  His detail is astounding and quality all the way.  These are live show quality and each part is totally functional.  He also does saddles and tack and can make just about anything you can throw his way.  Each piece is historically accurate and researched for period details.

Breyerfest 2013 Arabian costumes

Next up are some very impressive Arabian costumes.  Cary Nelson is another stickler for details, and the incredibly tiny finish work on these costumes are amazing.  She creates the whole shebang with bridles and accouterments, and from the tassels to the embroidery work they are a wonder to study closely.

Breyerfest 2013 bronze thoroughbred

Now we see a one-of-a-kind bronze piece.  This is jockey Gary Stevens on champion Point Given winning the 2001 Belmont Stakes.  Sculpted by Candace Liddy this sculpture has great detail and captures the spirit of the horse and jockey.

Breyerfest 2013 jewelry

For a change of pace you can find purses, plates and jewelry in wide variety.  There were wonderful blouses and purses by Laurel Burch, a great wooden horse head purse and the neatest cell phone purse owls.  The silver insect jewelry was very fun with spider bracelets and pins and great beaded necklaces and earrings.

Breyerfest 2013 horse furniture paintings

This was some amazing painted furniture by Morning Glory Equine Art.  Charlene Schnarr takes quality pieces of furniture and hand-paints detailed horse art onto them.  My personal favorite was a set of dining room chairs with beautiful horse scenes painted on the back.  She also had pictures, purses and decorative pieces available.  Everything was high quality and wonderfully done.

Well, I hope that satisfies a bit of Breyerfest fever, as I need to get to bed and get ready for another full day tomorrow.

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It’s only Thursday?!?!

1 AM and I am just now sitting down to share another crazy breyerfest day.  We had to switch rooms today due to a room assignment snafu and I am now settled in to my amazing room smack dab in the lobby.  Mom and I spent the day antiquing, stocking in food supplies and setting up the room for selling.  From the time we opened our door at 4 PM to midnight the place was hopping!  I may have sold a third of what I brought!  The frenzy tonight eases my mind that I wont have a lot (if anything) to have to ship home on Monday.  Here are some highlights from the day.

Breyerfest 2013 Large Lane Horse

Here’s one for  Kristina. This guy is huge!  I doofed out and forgot to check the base for markings.  I have forgotten myself on home tours and picked things up to look at the bottom, turned over dishes in restaurants to see the mark, but do I remember to check something that is actually for sale and may be interesting?  Of course not!  This is the bent leg facing right horse, from what I can tell, the hobby version.  These were sold as bisque to hobbyists to finish on their own.   He is pretty well done for a home-painted horse, and in good condition for the fragility of the pottery used and the age of the piece.

Breyerfest 2013 Room Sales

Here I am setting up the room for sales.  I am about 1/2 way unpacked and quickly running out of room for models.  We had to fly this year, so only one set of shelves and the shipping boxes don’t stack to be able to use as shelves like paper boxes do.  It is all plastics this year, but some nice pieces made the trip.  Some old Breyerfest special runs, Palisade and Hear Me Roar from Passage to the Pacific, horses in old 1970s cardboard boxes and lots of Maureen Love classics and PAF’s.  I set up the room for shoppers to get around as easily as possible, but that wall seperating the entry from the room can be a bottleneck.  At several points there was a bit of a line to get in!  The best part of the night was meeting all the first time visitors and sharing tips to make their experience better.

Breyerfest 2013 Markin custom

These are some customs by my absolute favorite Breyerfesters.  Diane’s Designs, just down the hall in the 100s.  She does such nice work, very creative and VERY reasonably priced.  Her etchies are amazing, the appliqued horses are striking, and the little extra setups she does are so cute!  That Lassie is carrying a bucket of Coca Cola, and she has ponies with picnic baskets and the cutest Mesteno rocking horse.  I send as many people as I can to her room.  She is so sweet she hands out note pads and pens to anyone who needs them to keep track of the rooms and stuff they are looking for.

Breyerfest 2013 Janice Starr

This guy is too cute, and quite rare.  A ceramic by Janice Starr from 1990.  She sculpted, poured, and finished her models herself and was a pioneer in ceramic and customs in the hobby.  This pony was from a limited edition of 12 and is well-done even  by today’s standards.  The Laf’n Bear Genie in the background is a resin by Lynn Fraley and totally adorable.

Breyerfest 2013 Share the Love

Next we see some beautiful new pieces by Share the Maureen Love.  They are replicas from Maureens own molds, newly rescued and put back into use.  The quail are low-fired pottery and matte finish, the gull heads are more of a semi-glossy finish.  It is great to see these fine pieces of art rescued and shared with collectors.  I highly recommend these as a nice small reminder of the wonderful artistry that Maureen has created.

Breyerfest 2013 Stablemates

Finally we see something that makes me smile.  All around the edges of the picture are G1 stablemates still in original packaging.  Some have the original price tags from long-defunct stores.  There is a black card/wrong card Arabian Mare (on the Stallion card) in the upper left, lots of white and yellow backed cards, and some with the original blister back support.  These pieces are great history, I especially love the line drawings on the backs of the cards.

I am off to bed now.  I teach a jewelry-making class in the morning, work a booth and have special run times in the afternoon.  Evening will be more room sales.  Hope to share another post tomorrow night!

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The Madness Begins

Wednesday July 17, 4:30 PM, arriving in Louisville.


There was a room snafu, so I could not set up and start selling tonight, so I had to prowl the halls shopping.  Darn!  I wandered mainly the 100’s and 300’s, so sightings are heavy on the ceramics.  Plus I am a chinahead at heart, so that is what catches my attention.

Breyerfest 2013 Pour Horse Saucy

First purchase was a Pour Horse Saucy.  She is a grey draft mare made in 1995 by Pour Horse Pottery.  Only 94 pieces were made in grey, and this horse is special as she still has her original hang tag attached.  Also purchased was a pin from the NAN Auction Committee as a thank you in 2001.  The pin is sculpted by Sarah Minkiewicz Breunig and produced by Lyn Raftis.  This piece is also quite special as it is still on its presentation card in the original box.

Breyerfest Maureen Love

Here is a drool-worthy piece.  I tell everyone that you can see anything at Breyerfest and I submit this a proof.  What is it?  A piece of art that Maureen Love sculpted and finished, then enjoyed in her yard as yard art!  I can’t believe this is still in such great shape from sitting out in southern California weather for decades, but there you are.  Never intended for retail sale this is an example of an artist creating for themselves and it is wonderful it was rescued and is being preserved.  With permission from Maureen Love’s estate some of her amazing sculptures are being recreated released for collectors to enjoy.  Please visit Share the Maureen Love blog for more information on these incredible pieces.

Breyerfest Hagen Renaker

Next up we see another rare piece, the Hagen Renaker Little Horrible Napoleon Bat.  This line was only produced in 1958 and 1959 and the pieces were sculpted by Nell Bortels.  They have cute names and came with folded cards with a line drawing and bit of explanation.  This particular piece was never produced by the company for retail, so this guy is either a test or a small run created before the decision not to go ahead with it was made.  For more information there is an incredible Hagen Renaker Museum online, with more information here: Hagen Renaker Little Horribles.

Breyerfest Lamps clocks

Here we see what many collectors come for, a room with an amazing variety of stuff for sale.  We can see Breyer Ranchcraft woodgrain lamps, Western horse next to and on clock, Fury Prancer with clock and on plaster lamp base, crystal Espirit, and Porcelain Adriano as well as a Maureen Love Running Horse and a Hagen Renaker re-release King Cortez.  This room was full of a huge variety of items for sale.  From Hagen Renaker Disney pieces to Beswick Jumping Horse the shelves were full.  There has been exhaustive research done on the Lane Ceramics releases of Maureen Love Sculptures here: Lanes Merge Ahead.

Breyerfest china horses

Finally I will leave you with a drool-worthy table of stuff for sale.  Many Animal Artistry pieces including the 2000 Holiday Special Friesian mare and foal vignette.  There is a North Light Friesian, Hagen Renaker Morgan Foal Roughneck and mini Zebra baby, and medallions sculpted by Jenn Danza.  What drew my attention was the fine bone china Valor Thoroughbred Stallion in glossy bay, produced by Alchemy for Thomas Bainbridge.  Only 21 total were made, 7 of 3 different colors.  This is a very rare guy to see in person.


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