Saturday, March 17, 2012

Identifying Collectible Breyer Animals

I've been asked *how* someone would be able to identify these collectible horses. It's really a matter of knowing a few details about the different companies.  I'm going to break this info into three posts for each major company. These posts won't cover every single in and out because it's just too much to digest all at one time.

 First of all, just having a Breyer horse in hand won't guarantee a high price tag. There are many variables and condition is a huge factor. However, when you come across a Breyer it may be worth a second look. There are many sites online to help you identify your particular horse, which we won't do here. We're just looking at how to tell what it is you might have. goes....

 Generally, you will get your first clue when you pick the horse up and hold it in your hand.  Run of the mill cheaply made plastic horses will feel exactly like what they are-light weight inexpensive plastic will poorer quality detailing with seams that gap, etc. Breyer's tend to feel more substantial in hand for their size.

Breyer horses come in different sizes, but we tend to stick with the larger items.
 The largest examples are referred to as "traditional scale" which would be approximately 9 in. x 9in.  "Classic scale" horses are slightly smaller at approximately 5 in x 5 in.
"Paddock Pals" (formerly Little Bits) along with" Stable Mates" and "Mini Whinnies" are the smallest. All sizes have Special Runs, Show Models and Limited Editions.

 Breyer horses/animals are fairly easy to pick out because most of them are marked in some way. Sometimes you will have to look closely, and locations can vary depending on the scale and mold of the model. These marks did change over time because this company has been around since the '50's.

Typically, horses will have a stamp or engraving of " Breyer", "Breyer Reeves", "BMC," a plain "B"or "Breyer Molding Company" or some combination of these. Stamps/marks will be on the inner back leg or on the belly. Very lucky people will find a horse with a blue ribbon or gold foil sticker. DO NOT REMOVE THESE! You've found yourself a horse that is (most likely) pre-1970! Congrats!

Below are a few examples of Breyer mold marking variations.

This 3rd example is from a Pharlap mold, re-released as Black Beauty in 2000. The other leg is stamped with "Breyer Reeves".  The pic of the stamp above reads "1984 AMD TM 20th Century Fox". So in this case, both legs are stamped. Breyer did lots of weird things with their marks, so if it IS marked don't worry too much but be sure to do some homework.

Speaking of homework...

OK, this where things can get complicated. The mold is just the body of the horse/animal. The model is the color, name or number the company assigns to the animal at the time it's produced. This is where the sites to help you ID your horse will come in handy.  

Breyer  made other animals, too. ALWAYS keep an eye out for the other animals. There aren't as many floating around out there.  There are dogs, kittens, cattle, bison, hogs, donkey, mule, mama bear and cubs, a deer family, a moose, elk, big horn rams, prong horn antelope, mountain goat and an elephant. The elephant is  rare to find (and came in pink and blue, too!)  and could bring you a nice chunk of change!

 We found a Breyer Rin Tin Tin/German Shepherd with a red tongue variation which we sold for $75. I think we paid $4 for him a couple of years ago.Without that variation he would not have sold for quite as much.

These horses/animals were also mounted on lamps, mantel clocks or made into music boxes. Some were even turned into night lights with the bulb inside the body. These examples weren't strictly made by Breyer beyond the horse/animal mold. Other companies bought the molded horse/animals and converted them.

Got all that??  No??  It's ok. Don't sweat it. Just go by your regular thrifting rules. If you come across something and wonder if you should buy it, maybe this info will help some. I always figure if it's cheap enough it might be worth the risk. Have fun hunting!


Veronica said...

Thanks for the post, for sharing your knowledge. Now I have an idea of what to look for.

BBV said...

Thanks for asking the question! I do have a couple more posts to do on the other 2 brands. We're working o them and will get them up soon.

BBV said...

*on* We're working *ON* them LOL sometimes I really hate my keyboard and it's random jamming of keys.