Monthly Archives: August 2013

Passage to the Pacific 2012

Tonight will be a fun review and look back at the Breyer Premier event Passage to the Pacific.  Held in San Diego in the fall of 2012 this was a very limited availability event open to members of the Breyer Collectors Club.  It was held over 2 days and was pretty all-inclusive.  Transportation to and from the activities was provided along with several meals.

Passage to the Pacific 2012 Museum


The first night opened with an evening at the San Diego Museum of Natural History.  They were holding a special event on the influence of the horse on human history, and we also had the run of the rest of the museum.  After enjoying the exhibits (especially the chocolate exhibit) we had a social on the roof with food and drinks, music and a preview of the special models.

Passage to the Pacific 2012 Friesians

The next morning we were split up into two groups, with one visiting each farm in the morning, then switching after lunch.  My group started out with Friesian Focus, a wonderful ranch in the far distant San Diego foothills of Murrietta.  It was wonderfully foggy and cool, and watching the horses in the fog and quiet was enchanting.  This was an amazing and immaculate place, with grooms even dedicated to the horses manes and tails.  We got to see many horses and activities including liberty, costume, dressage, and a few lucky participants got to ride in the carriage!  The hosts were wonderful, providing music, snacks and drinks, and we had a box lunch before getting on the bus to move on to the next farm.

Passage to the Pacific 2012 Saddlebreds

The afternoon found us at the Scripps Miramar Saddlebred Ranch.  Again the hosts pulled out all the stops.  I was bowled over that they brought out all their carriages to the arena and had an expert touring them all day.  We got to dress in costume and have pictures taken with the horses, take carriage rides around the ranch, and they had out many saddles and bridles covered in show silver.  To top it off they had an entire parade just for us!  All the horses were decked out, no holds barred, from circus calliopes to full show parade regalia.  It was truly amazing.

Passage to the Pacific 2012 centerpiece


That night was a delightful dinner poolside, with prize centerpieces that were really fun.  We had a great time socializing, but since it was outdoors in San Diego in the fall the evening precipitation sent most attendees back to their rooms (or the bar) fairly early.

Passage to the Pacific 2012 waiting


That morning was the much awaited Breyer Store with special very limited models just for this event.  They assigned random numbers so your spot in line was up to chance.  There was an avid viewing gallery and customers exiting were interviewed quickly by friends to see what treasures they purchased.

Overall I had the most amazing time.  I really can’t say enough good things about the hard workers at Breyer that put this together and the good-natured hosts that really pulled out all the stops for us.  One of my favorite small touches was the incredibly cute stablemate running stallion that they had painted up to look like a lion, even to the pads on the bottoms of his feet.  I give this event an A+ for effort and achievement and will positively put their next event on my ‘must do’ list.




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Clinky Classic 2006

I thought we would take a walk down memory lane tonight and revisit Clinky Classic from 2006.  Yikes, 7 years ago already?  Where does the time go?  Kristina and Paul Francis are the congenial hosts, entertaining a bevy of chinaheads chatting away about our favorite dirt.  This is a great show, we get to see where the magic is created and drool over in-progress sculptures and Kristinas well-curated collection.  What can you see at this show?

Clinky Classic euro chinas


Wonderful, wonderful Euro chinas!  Just wow.  A Royal Copenhagen windswept drafter, Rosenthal foal, Bing & Grondahl drafter, Pour Horse Otto, Animal Artistry mini Arabian stallion, Breyer Galaway Warrior, Lakeshore Status Symbol, what looks like a claybody custom Black Jack Davy.  What a great table of horses.

Clinky Classic Spinnaker


Spinnaker is one of my favorite horses.  Sculpted by the talented Sarah Minkiewicz for the Realistic Equine Sculpture Society he can show as many breeds and looks lovely in any color.  This one sure looks like a Leslie Kathman custom glaze, but I did not keep any records of the horses as I photographed them

Clinky Classic Roan Lady


Ahhh, such a lovely Hagen Renaker Roan Lady.  Sculpted after a Tennessee Walking Horse mare by Maureen Love this mare is just about perfect.

Clinky Classic dinosaur


This guy is totally cool.  The impressively-named Allosarus fragilis (love it!) was sculpted by Kristina Francis, and this mold won a Silver award at Wonderfest in 2003.  Incredible detail and wonderful glaze job, he is amazing in person.  Oh, but I kind of wish they had set the models down so he was chasing the Maureen Love birds in the background!

Clinky Clasic Ottopia


Finally one of the many giggles of the day – an Ottopia!  This was just after Otto was released by Pour Horse Pottery in 2005, so collectors had fun comparing the variations in glazes.  Sculpted by Sarah Minkiewicz and finished by Joan Berkwitz this German Shetland Stallion has presence to spare.

A short post tonight, I will work on getting back in the swing of things.  Hope you enjoy!

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Breyer Nightlights

Good evening – I hope your computer screen is bright enough to read by because you don’t want to turn one of these nightlights on.  The heat generated from the older nightlights is enough to melt and bubble the models plastic.  They are collectible enough to not want to update them for an actual light source, so if you must have a Breyer nightlight to use, please buy a new one made with modern lower-heat emitting lights.

Breyer nightlights are an odd species.  Generally Breyer collectors do not count items that simply used a Breyer model in an after-market production setting as an ‘official’ Breyer collectible.  Anything home made goes in the custom category, and any item produced by a company that bought Breyer models wholesale and then made something with it tends to fall in this category as well.  There are many items, however, that are counted in Breyer ‘canon’ that are simply a model that has been used in another item’s production.  The sewing poodle, grooming Arabians and candy ponies all fall in this category.  They never were in a Breyer catalog, and the general consensus seems to be that since they were advertised in national Christmas gift catalogs, the models were likely special-ordered from Breyer for the purpose and that is enough to count them as a Breyer ‘sanctioned’ product.  Again, there are differences of opinion, so this is just a general trend.

Breyer Family Arabian Mare nightlight right

Here we have a glossy bay Family Arabian Mare nightlight on base.  The nightlights could be on base or off and had very distinctive assembly characteristics, indicating that they were likely all produced by the same company.  I am going to show these characteristics across a couple of models so you can see the similarities.

Breyer Family Arabian Mare Nightlight belly

This is a detailed closeup of the FAM belly/left side, showing how the nightlight is assembled.  She has a rotating switch on her shoulder, the cord comes out from between her front legs, and there is a large belly hole for the nightlight.  The nightlight clips in for security, and the hole is large enough to get the light out when you want to change it.

Breyer Western Horse Nightlight left

This is an example of the black pinto Western Horse nightlight.  This horse is not on a base, but has a similar technical arrangement.  The switch has moved to the middle of the withers instead of the shoulder, and the large hole is now in the back where the saddle covers it up.  The plug wire still comes out from between the front legs.

Breyer Western Horse Nightlight top

Here you can see the top of the horse with saddle removed.  The nightlight clips in to the large hole where it can be changed out easily, and this one faces forward so the light is still in the middle of the belly area.  I don’t really touch up models or fix them, so this one has the same nightlight as when I bought it at the antique store.  I have never plugged it in and turned it on, so I have no idea if the horse would glow red or not.  All Western Horse nightlights show these characteristics.

Breyer Western Horse Nightlight palomino

This is a palomino Western Horse nightlight.  Again, no base with these, and in this case the model has no electrical wiring, so from first glance you would never know it was a nightlight.  Only the slight concave spot in the mane just below the saddle horn indicates what this model is.  I was on a kick one year of literally picking up every horse I saw for sale (except at Breyerfest, where it it likely physically impossible).  That year I found a ton of rare models that I would have passed up otherwise.  From almost any angle this model looks very common.  It was just because I took the time to pick it up I discovered its secret.

Breyer Western Horse Nightlight palomino top

Here we see the model from the top with saddle removed.  There really isn’t much damage or chipping around the holes to determine if the model was ever wired or not.  There is some scuffing along the top about 1/2″ back from the large hole, leading me to believe it was wired at some time, as that is where the light clip would have rubbed.  It is on the project shelf, if I ever find a damaged nightlight I can disassemble and rewire this model.  I would prefer to use vintage wiring, as it shouldn’t really be used, so wiring with modern electrical wire would be a bit pointless.

From the models found and the advertisements in magazines these models were likely produced from the late 1950s to at least the mid-1960s.  There are glossy PAM and PAF models to matte sorrel 5-Gaiteds, elk and poodles.  Again, there is some debate over which nightlights are a part of Breyer history, I have seen nightlight disqualified from shows simply because no-one there had seen that particular nightlight before.  I have also seen some pretty obviously home made nightlights presented as Breyer products, so you have to be knowledgeable and buy because you like it, not because it is showable.  When you see one pick it up (with permission) and check out the assembly and materials used.  They can easily be rewired, so modern wiring is not necessarily a tip off that a model is modern or home made.  This category of model is always under discussion and new information comes out fairly regularly.  It is a fun and different type of Breyer to collect, so I hope you found something new and interesting.

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