I want a super rare, glossy, gold charm running foal! Easy-peasy…if you’ve got the cash, you can find the horse! Start with Ebay…if you can’t find one there you could try the Model Horse Sales Pages, make a posting on one of dozens of dedicated Facebook pages, or message boards, or chat rooms (do they still have those?), or maybe even Craigslist. It might take you a couple hours, or worse, a couple days, but you’ll find that elusive plastic treasure...it’s almost a guarantee. But wait…we didn’t have any of those things in 1989. The internet as we know it today existed only in the imaginations of people who are now much richer than I’ll ever be. Those of you who are children of the 1980s and earlier know what I’m getting at…the internet has changed the face of Breyer horse collecting forever. It has influenced values, changed our perceptions of what is truly rare, and produced an entire generation of kids and young adults who have no idea what an LSASE is.
hope the elusive Appaloosa yearling (I was going to name Sandy) or dapple grey Proud Arabian Stallion would be at the IGA the next time I was there (they never were).
The catalogs introduced me to models I’d never seen before. Occasionally, I’d find a discontinued model still on the store shelf. With trembling fingers I’d grab the rarity and hold it close, protecting it from the imaginary prying, covetous eyes of fellow shoppers. In my young mind finding new in box models with catalogs as far back as 1984 was like finding a rare antique in a flea market. The “old” catalogs were a highly prized part of my collection.
As a subscriber to Just About Horses, the Breyer model horse publication, I learned of rare and unusual models from the prehistoric era of the 1960s. They were called “Woodgrains” and “Decorators,” there was the “Old Mold” Proud Arabian Mare and various Special Runs of decades gone by. These elusive models seemed far beyond my reach…they were so rare, how could I ever hope to own one? I dreamed of walking into an antique store some day and finding one of these priceless plastic horses…even to see or, (dare to dream!) touch it would be an honor beyond imagination.
or I would write down the model I wanted on a piece of paper, put it and a check for the correct amount into an envelope, stick it in the mail and hope that the model would show up on my doorstep in a few weeks’ time. Sometimes, the check would come back with a note explaining the model had been sold. Luckily, I never ran across a dishonest seller who simply cashed my check without sending a model.
On some of the lists I received I found some of those rare models from yesteryear with exorbitant prices due to their extreme scarcity:
Woodgrain FAS +3 (few rubs) $350
Gold Florentine Running Foal +2 (chipped ear, rubs) $2500
1990 Commemorative Edition (like new) $1500
I could only dream of such riches to add to my collection!
Some of you may be eyeing those prices and wondering what happened? How could anyone ask those prices? Especially 25 years ago?
There are a surprising number of Old Mold Proud Arabian Mares hanging around the internet. Not nearly as common as a Woodgrain Family Arabian Stallion but still possible to get the most common, the glossy Alabaster, for an affordable $50-$60, less if you’re not too picky on condition.
The “ultra-valuable” Limited and Commemorative Editions? Yup…nope. You can’t even get your money back out of those anymore. I’d seen the 1987 Limited Edition “Precipitado Sin Par” on a sales list for over $100 and therefore was tickled pink paisley plaid when I found the same model still on a store shelf in 1989 and snatched it up for a measly (but expensive for the time) $24. That Commemorative Edition ASB weanling from 1990? I saw that on a sales list for $1500 in the early 1990s. Picked it up at Breyerfest a few years ago for $20.
Not as much as in the 1980s but still pricey. Black point Proud Arabian Family? Still rare but you can find them as well. Pre-internet you’d better be prepared to pony up several hundred dollars each. Now, less than half that – much less depending on the day and your bidding competition.
I guess overall it’s a good thing…for the buyer anyway. I’ve been able to fulfill a couple childhood dreams at an affordable price. It is still a little disheartening to discover some of the models I thought were such treasures really are not – kind of like discovering Superman is really that geeky guy changing his clothes in a public phone booth.
Oh, and for those of you under the age of 25 who defied the odds and stayed with me all the way through this long post: an LSASE is a Long Self Addressed Stamped Envelope. That means you write your address on a business-sized envelope, put a stamp (or two) on it, fold it up and put it in another envelope and mail it to the address you want to get a sales list from.
Young collector, old collector, or somewhere in between…happy collecting and appreciate the benefits of living in the age of instant gratification.
A pre-internet purchase. Found this PAF on a sales list in the early 1990s. An oldie from the 1970s, I longed to add her to my collection. Bought sight unseen (as they all were then). Condition is pretty good but the factory overspray on the hind leg was not mentioned in the description. I think I paid $25