Limited Edition Breyer Gallery Horses
Breyer collecting is very popular among both the young and the old. Some very rare Breyer horse models sell for thousands of dollars. Values are based on age, rarity and condition. Any rubs on the paint will reduce the value greatly. Broken ears and other chips may reduce the value to near zero except for possible remakes. High gloss Breyer models tend to sell for more than matte finishes, yet there are exceptions. Some of the Breyer models have been reintroduced a number of times since their original introduction there for are so common they sell for original purchase price.
In the 1950's the toy industry began to grow rapidly, coinciding with the baby boom. Toy horses had always been a favorite so it was natural for Breyer and other companies to begin their manufacturing with horse toys. Many famous horses have been reproduced in plastic, but probably the most famous are the ponies of Chincoteague Island, which is located off the coast of Virginia. Misty, Stormy, Sea Star and other Chincoteague ponies were written about in Marguerite Henry's best selling children's books. Based on true stories, Misty and Stormy are children's classics.
To begin collecting one needs to be aware of what to look for. Few can afford to collect all the different Breyer models available. Here I will present different variations of Breyers that you may wish to collect. You will want to narrow down your choices.
Regular runs verses Special Runs. Regular runs are simply the annual production manufactured and offered in any number of stores. Some models are made for specific stores or for special events. These are called "Special Runs". These models are sometimes in high demand and need to be reserved in advance.
Model colors. These will vary somewhat and each collector must decide which looks the best in his or her eye. I have seen a collector spend an hour looking over 40 to 50 models in an attempt to decide which one has the best color. You will note that names and printed matter will not always truly represent the color that you are looking at.
Decorator and other Special Colors. Currently there are six different colors. Four of them have been made since the early 1960's . Two more were introduced recently. Their models are prized by collectors. When collecting decorator colors you will want to become familiar with the following terms: Gold Charms, Wedgewood, Copenhagen, Silver Filigree, Woodgrain, Antique Bronze and Antique Gold.
Recent technology in painting has lead to special run models that have pictures hidden in the markings. You can see these on the Halloween models. This is sometimes called camouflage art.
Markings will vary from what is pictured in catalogs or on the internet. Examples of this is the star strip and snip. (white markings on the face of an individual horse) or you may see three white socks on one model and four on another model of the same number. This is because these markings are hand painted by a number of different people and skill levels will vary. The important thing is to note the differences on the same models. The white of the eye, and other painted details like the chestnuts and hooves, dappling and roaning. These will all have an effect on the value of the models you decide to collect.
Most model collectors use a rating scale to describe their model to buyers. The scale runs from 4+ to 1 or 0, with 4 being absolutely perfect and 1 or 0 suitable only for remaking. As a collector, you must learn to be critical. Look at every detail. Above all be honest and your reputation as a collector will be respected. Models that have been touched up or restored in any way should always be labeled as such. Again your credibility is at stake. Future sales will depend on your accuracy in describing what you intend to sell. There are a number of books and news letters that will help you learn in detail how to value your Breyer horses.