Saturday, November 18, 2017

Model Horses By Mail, Part Two: Dorothy Kindell Horse Figurines

This is another in a continuing occasional series about model horses that could be ordered through horse magazine ads in the 1950s and 1960s.

Another Western Horseman magazine ad, from November 1950, shows us a selection of horse figurines -- or at least HSOs (Horse-Shaped Objects) -- available from Dorothy Kindell Ceramics, a Southern California pottery that operated in the 1940s and 1950s.




Some of the names reflect popular horse breeds and colors; for example, "Kentucky Colonel" must have represented an American Saddlebred.  And "Flicka" was inspired by literature; the 1941 novel My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara had been made into a film in 1943 (and would inspire a TV series in 1956).




I found a photo from an eBay auction of a figurine that appears to be by Dorothy Kindell.



And the Model Horse Gallery website shows some other examples of her work.

http://www.modelhorsegallery.info/K/K-companies/MHCs_Kindell.html

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Model Horses By Mail, Part One

"Where did you buy model horses before the Internet?" younger collectors often ask me.  

Collectors in the 1950s and 1960s had several sources, of course -- we (or our family members and friends) bought them from bricks-and-mortar (actual) retail stores, from other collectors, and from ads we saw in print publications -- usually horse-related magazines.

This is the first in what I hope will be an occasional series of short posts about ads for model horses in horse magazines.

Here's a small display ad from the December 1960 issue of Western Horseman magazine, showing the relatively-new Breyer Family Arab Stallion in bay, alongside the Proud Arab Mare and Foal -- probably just before the lawsuit by Hagen-Renaker forced Breyer to stop producing the old version PAM and PAF.  

You can click on this link to see my earlier post paying tribute to the FAS, which mentions the history of the Proud and Family Arabians: http://modelhorsefriends.blogspot.com/2017/07/ode-to-breyer-family-arab-stallion-fas.html

It looks like they have factory eyewhites!





Then in May 1961, another Western Horseman ad shows the lonely FAS, all by himself, for sale by another retailer.  



We'll look at other sources of model horses by mail, in future posts.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Joy of the Factory "Second"

A colleague in the model horse hobby gave me a gift not long ago: it's a rose gray Hagen-Renaker mini Arabian foal from the era when HR was located in Monrovia, California. I was quite pleased for two reasons: one, I didn't own this model in this color.  And two, this particular foal also helps illustrate an interesting aspect of HR history: that of the Factory Second.

Hagen-Renaker A-48 min Arabian foal,
tail pointing straight, first issued Fall 1959. 

You can tell from the foal's face that he has flaws that were probably incurred at the factory, around his eyes.  He has an extra chunk of clay on his right side, and his left eye is barely painted compared to my white mini Arab foal.



The reason the rose gray foal illustrates a bit of model horse history is that we know from anecdotal information and from newspaper ads of the day, that it was quite common for less-than-perfect Hagen-Renaker animal figurines, as more than one collector has described it to me, to "escape the factory."

I have to admit, the first time I heard that expression, I had a mental image of a tiny flawed ceramic horse coming to life and skittering out the back door of the factory while the employees were at lunch, to avoid being tossed in the trash.  

In reality, Hagen-Renaker regularly sold its second quality and soon-to-be-discontinued pieces from the factory itself, as described in this Pasadena, California newspaper classified ad from 1959:




 And at least one pottery store in nearby Pasadena sold HR seconds as well.  These Los Angeles Times display ads date from between 1964 and 1966.




It's also possible that factory seconds went home with Hagen-Renaker employees; after that, the seconds could have been sold at yard sales, estate sales, antique malls and the like.

And, in doing research for this blog, I've talked to more than one older person who lived in Monrovia during the 1950s and early 1960s who told me that, as kids, they used to walk by the Hagen-Renaker factory and dig through the trash looking for more-or-less intact ceramic figurines that didn't quite measure up or were otherwise not needed by the company.  (And yes, I asked them and no, they didn't still have the pieces they rescued.)




But what does a collector do with a tiny ceramic scrap of model horse history, besides display him next to his undamaged friend?

You find him a mom, of course.  One that also escaped the factory, not-quite-as-intended.  Like this Monrovia rose gray mini Arabian mare that never had her forelock painted.


A-48 foal with A-46 mini Arabian mare, also first issued Fall 1959.

Both pieces were designed with great care by artist Maureen Love, and despite not being "perfect" they have survived over the decades to land on my shelf. 

I think they look wonderful together.  






Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ode to the Breyer Family Arab Stallion (FAS)




I don’t actively collect plastic horses anymore, so I probably should not have brought him home from the estate sale.  But the Breyer glossy palomino Family Arab Stallion was sitting there all by himself on a shelf, looking sort of forlorn, even wistful.

So I sighed, paid the three dollars, liberated him and brought him home.  I'll probably rehome him with a young person who's just getting into model horses (mostly because I already have one of these guys in glossy palomino...that I found at another estate sale, all by itself and looking lonesome).

The Family Arabian Stallion is one of Breyer’s most durable and popular model horses – so much so that he goes by his initials, FAS, among collectors.  He is at once iconic and nerdy, compared to the more refined model horses of recent years, yet Breyer has produced him in countless millions in a variety of colors since his debut in the late 1950s.  He has a sturdy design with a tail like a teapot handle that children can (and do) easily hold.  He’s a great First Real Model Horse for a kid.


Non-collectors who try to resell a used Family Arab Stallion often don’t know what to make of him.  His fans (and his detractors) report seeing him everywhere in secondhand stores, from the $1 near-mint condition FAS at Goodwill to the $85 specimen at an antique mall, so scuffed and beat up that he looks like someone had force-fed him to a chipper shredder and put his remains up for sale.  (No wonder no one is buying him, in that condition and at that price. Remember, Breyer has made literally millions of pieces in this design over the decades. A nice-enough FAS can be found on eBay for between $2.50 and $20 most of the time, unless he’s a Special Run piece or has other factors going for him.)

Even though his commercial value is somewhat limited, the Family Arab Stallion is durable and deserves a place in model horse history. He is the Timex watch, the Energizer Bunny of the model horse world – chunkily graceful, forthright, kind, and enduring. And I suspect that even collectors who think he’s not very handsome, have a secret soft spot in their hearts for him, because he was probably one of the first Breyer horses they ever owned.  If they were collecting from about 1960 forward, they may have owned the matching Family Arab Mare and Foal (also produced in the millions), or, if the collector is old enough, they may have collected him with what came to be known as the Breyer Proud Arab Mare and Foal in the late 1950s.

Part of the FAS's back story is fairly well-known: he's a copy of another model horse. In 1957, California ceramics company Hagen-Renaker, Inc. produced an Arabian stallion, mare and foal called “Amir,” “Zara” and “Zilla.”  The adults stood about 9" at the ear tips -- roughly the same size as a Traditional Breyer.  These three Arabians were designed for HR by artist Maureen Love.

By 1959 Breyer Molding Co. (then based in Chicago) released its first plastic Arabian mare and foal models, later known as the Proud Arab Mare and Foal, along with the Family Arab Stallion. All three of these models bore a remarkably close resemblance to the Hagen-Renaker Arabians, and HR sued Breyer for copyright infringement; Breyer suspended production of the PAM and PAF.  But from what other model horse historians tell me, the Family Arab Stallion was different enough to be kept in the Breyer line. (The FAS and the “Amir” Arabian stallion have different forelegs up.)

Breyer Family Arabian stallion (plastic), left
and Hagen-Renaker Large Amir (ceramic), right

Rear: Hagen-Renaker Amir; front, Breyer FAS


In about 1960-61, the FAS was joined by the Family Arab Foal and Family Arab Mare.  These two were different enough from the Hagen-Renaker horses to keep the lawyers happy.  This story is pretty commonly-known among collectors. 

But the Family Arab Stallion may have another back story that not many model horse collectors know about: it's plausible that the large Hagen-Renaker “Amir” and the Breyer Family Arab Stallion owe their existence to one real Arabian stallion -- the legendary Abu Farwa.  


Abu Farwa (photo by Gladys Brown Edwards)
in a 1950s issue of Western Livestock Journal.


Gladys Brown Edwards works on her sculpture
of the Quarter Horse stallion Tip Top.

Maureen Love sketches an Appaloosa
at a Southern California ranch in the early 1960s.

The back story begins just outside Los Angeles, California, in the 1950s. Equine artist and sculptor Gladys Brown Edwards had recently divorced her husband Cecil and moved from Oregon back to Southern California, and was trying to support herself as a freelance animal artist.  A 1955 letter from Gladys to Cecil, preserved at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library in Pomona, California, notes that she had designed some dog figurines for a local pottery called Hagen-Renaker, Inc.  (HR collectors never knew this until the letter surfaced last year, and the librarians and I were able to connect what Gladys had written to Hagen-Renaker’s dog designs.) Gladys’ letter says she greatly admired the other animal sculptures by HR designer Maureen Love, so much so that she introduced Maureen to a friend who owned, as Gladys put it, “some good Arabs.”  That friend was local horseman Herbert H. Reese, and the “good Arabs” he owned were some of the leading stallions of their day: Alla Amarward, Ferseyn, and Abu Farwa.  Maureen Love visited Reese’s ranch and made numerous sketches of the three stallions.  In turn, she created several iconic ceramic horse designs for Hagen-Renaker. 


Abu Farwa, from an old issue of Western Livestock Journal magazine.
Hagen-Renaker 9" "Amir" Arabian stallion, first issued in 1957.
(Yes, this one has suffered many breaks and repairs over the decades.)

Ferseyn, from an ad in an old issue of Western Livestock Journal.


Hagen-Renaker "Ferseyn," first issued in 1958.



Hagen-Renaker mini Arabian stallion, first issued in 1959.

We can infer that the big Hagen-Renaker “Amir” was based on the real Abu Farwa not only from Maureen’s sketches of a prancing chestnut Arabian stallion with a distinctive blaze and on her sketchbook cover notes that name Abu Farwa, Alla Amarward, and Ferseyn, but also from a May 1970 article in Arabian Horse World magazine by Carol Mulder. The magazine issue was a tribute to Abu Farwa, who was one of the most important Arabian sires of the 20th century. In summarizing his life on H.H. Reese’s ranch in the late 1940s and 1950s, Mulder wrote of “Ab” --

“During this period of his life, AB was sculptured by the very talented artist, Maureen Love (now Mrs. Calvert).  The result of her many hours of sitting in AB’s paddock with him is a very true-to-life likeness, which was sold for a short time as well-done, artistic ceramic work. These beautiful works of art are no longer available, but cheap imitations formed in some sort of material like plastic seem to be on sale in most drug and/or dime stores.”


It would appear that Ms. Mulder was one of the Family Arab Stallion’s detractors, and she does have a point – he’s not nearly as handsome or graceful as the more-fragile, less-available ceramic “Amir.” 

But you don’t have to be gorgeous to have an impact, at least not if you’re a model horse.  Even though he may not look a lot like the real Abu Farwa, the Breyer FAS was, and is, one of model horsedom’s most potent gateway drugs, the entry-level collectible that has powered a million model horse-shaped dreams for girls and boys all over the world.  

And the FAS is like the proverbial potato chip – once you have him, if you like him, you’re not satisfied with just one color. And you need the mare and foal to go with him, and ooh, they come in a variety of colors, too, so in addition to the palomino and the bay and the alabaster you can get the Appaloosa Family Arab set, and they came in glossy and matte finishes, and then there are all the Special Run colors over the decades (including this year's Breyer blue and gold Decorator releases), and….

The Family Arab Stallion prances on and on.  I wonder if he knows how much a part of history he may be?
_________________________

Footnote: Hagen-Renaker and Breyer had a more amicable professional relationship in the decades to come. During the 1970s, Breyer renegotiated with HR and started producing the PAM and PAF again. Breyer also licensed several Designers’ Workshop (Classic size, to Breyer collectors) molds from Hagen-Renaker to produce in plastic, including the HR Arabian stallion “Ferseyn” mold as the Breyer Classic Arab Stallion along with the Classic Arab Mare and Foal (also originally HR designs by Maureen Love); the Classic Quarter Horse Family, and the Classic Mustang Family. 

The original Breyer Classic Thoroughbreds Man O’War, Silky Sullivan, Terrang, Kelso, and Swaps were all Maureen Love’s designs for Hagen-Renaker ceramics before they were licensed by Breyer.  

The Breyer “G1” Stablemates are licensed copies of Hagen-Renaker miniature horse figurines – all designed by Maureen Love. Indeed, the G1 Stablemate Arabian stallion was either inspired by Abu Farwa or his own stable mate, the stallion Alla Amarward (both real horses were chestnut, and HR collectors who’ve seen Maureen Love’s original sketches disagree on which stallion became that tiny Hagen-Renaker mold).  

Breyer still uses some of Maureen Love’s designs – the recent “Coeur de Leon” Appaloosa is the “Terrang” mold, the Stablemate “Coco” in pinto is the Hagen-Renaker Thoroughbred mare mold.  Breyer’s choice for its commemorative model celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Man O’War in 2017 is that same “classic” Maureen Love design.

Artist Gladys Brown Edwards, who introduced Maureen Love to Abu Farwa, went on to become one of the twentieth century's best-known equine experts, specializing in writing about Arabian horse history and conformation. She was also very well-known for her horse art.
________

For Further Reading:

Kirsten Wellman has told the story of the Proud Arabian Mare and the lawsuit between Hagen-Renaker and Breyer on her blog: 

If the Breyer Family Arabs have a Super Fan, it is model horse hobbyist Sue Sudekum.  http://fassue.tripod.com/fasgallery/fasgallery.htm

The Hagen-Renaker Online Museum has lots of pictures of Maureen Love's horse designs and more:


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Farana Goes Home, Part Two



Here's a link to Part One of this story: http://modelhorsefriends.blogspot.com/2017/06/farana-goes-home-part-one.html

I realize that most model horses belong in individual private collections. There are millions upon millions of model horses in the United States alone, and the point of mass-producing model horses -- in plastic, ceramic, porcelain, metal, resin -- is for people to be able to enjoy them. 

Having said that, I believe that a small number of model horses need to be in a place where they can be appreciated not only as art, or craft, or expressions of pop culture, but also for their unique connections to history.  

Farana, painted by Gladys Brown Edwards.
Photo via Western Horseman magazine.

They may not even have great commercial value, but model horses that represent real horses, and/or the art of significant sculptors, can help us understand the context of the times in which the real horses lived and the real artists worked.  

Metal horse and rider designed by Gladys Brown Edwards,
produced by Dodge, Inc. during the mid-20th century,
on its way out of a Southern California estate sale, 2017.
The Kellogg Arabian stallion Farana was the inspiration for this GBE work.

The metal horse statue of the Arabian stallion Farana that I found at an estate sale is one of those model horses.  Much as I liked him, I knew he needed to be at home -- his original home, so to speak.

The old Kellogg Ranch stables have been preserved and
adapted for use as offices at Cal Poly Pomona. 

Home, in this case, being the Kellogg Ranch, where the real Farana lived.  The large stretch of land outside Los Angeles was acquired in the 1920s by legendary cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg for his Arabian horse ranch.  Kellogg subsequently donated the property to the state of California, with the caveat that there always be Arabian horses on it.  After several twists and turns, including a stint as a U.S. Army Remount Center during World War II, the land is now the home of Cal Poly Pomona University, the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, and the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library.

Plaque of W.K. Kellogg and twin Arabian foals outside the Kellogg Library.

Kellogg Library exterior display cases.


Kellogg Library interior display case,
when Gladys Brown Edwards' art was on display.

One of the great things about the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library is that it's part of the larger Special Collections unit of the main library at Cal Poly Pomona.  Special Collections includes resources on local history, so it's appropriate that local (as well as national and international) horse history be included.  

The Library holds a wealth of information -- books, magazines, photographs, letters, and more -- not just on Arabian horses, but on many horse breeds.  Part of the collection came from the estate of Gladys Brown Edwards, the artist who designed the statue of the cowboy on a horse after the real Kellogg Arabian, Farana.  The Library didn't have a Farana statue in its collection, so I donated the one I found, to the Library.

So now little Farana is in his new, old home at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library.  (The librarians kindly let me take a picture of him.)  I don't know if he'll be on display all the time, but at least he's now in his proper context -- a link to a time in history where horses were still an important part of life in Southern California and indeed, the rest of the world.



Here's a link to the website for the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library. #wkkahl

http://www.cpp.edu/~library/kellogg-arabian-horse-library/

If you're looking for information on horses, the CPP Library has a searchable database:

https://opac.library.cpp.edu/


Here's a link to a video of the old Kellogg Ranch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2JdtSYwB-M

Here's a link to a vintage British Pathe' video of the Arabians at the Kellogg Ranch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5Pq0-sOKjI


Author Carolyn Martin has written extensively on metal horse figurines, including works by Gladys Brown Edwards: 

 http://www.metalhorsefigurines.com/


Mary Jane Parkinson literally "wrote the book" on the fascinating history of the Kellogg Ranch:  

http://www.wkkelloggarabianhorsecenter.com/the-horse-center/wkkahc-merchandise














Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Farana Goes Home, Part One

I spend at least a little time every week searching through online ads for estate sales and yard sales that have model horse figurines. Sometimes I see something I want for my own collection; sometimes I alert my collector friends if I see a horse I think they'd want.  

And other times, I know I need to rescue a horse because of its significance, even if it's not in great condition. That's what happened a few days ago, after I'd spotted a dusty metal horse in western tack with a rider holding a lasso, in a small picture in an estate sale ad.




It was difficult to see.  But once you hunt for model horses for a few decades, you get an instinctive feeling about these things. I felt certain that this was an example of the work of Dodge, Inc., a Los Angeles-based trophy and metal figurine manufacturer that was active during the 1930s to 1950s.  I grabbed my copy of Carolyn Martin's indispensable book Gladys Brown Edwards' Equine Works in Metal and riffled through the pages until I came to the section titled "Cowboys." 


Yes. The tiny image looked like the mold labeled 88.001, a prancing horse with a western saddle and bridle on page 58 and following. Martin's book told me that not all the pieces of this design by Dodge are exactly alike.  Some have richer finishes; there are variations in the horse's tails, in the bases, in the detail on the saddles. The horse was issued with and without the cowboy and saddle, which were separately molded pieces. 

But enough research: it was time to trust my feelings, get in the car (much too early in the morning), and drive to the estate sale.  When I got inside the house, another potential buyer (a reseller-for-profit) had noticed the damage on the base and the missing reins and set the horse back down on the mantelpiece.  

I pounced. I paid.  I kept a straight face. I left the property.  I set the horse down on a neighbor's low fence and took some pictures.






And then I allowed myself to smile. Because damaged as he was, base cracked and reins missing, this was not just another metal horse to me. This was Farana.  And he needed to go home.

He cleaned up fairly well, after an application of baby oil with a cotton ball. I added some temporary faux leather reins.





The renowned Arabian horse artist and author Gladys Brown Edwards designed this piece for Dodge, Inc., and in so doing captured for us a glimpse of a true equine athlete who excelled -- once his humans figured out what really interested and motivated him.


Farana, Mark Smith up, at the Kellogg Ranch in Pomona, California

The real stallion, Farana, was foaled in 1929.  He was one of the famous Arabian horses owned by cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg, stabled at the Kellogg Ranch outside Los Angeles. By all accounts he was an incredible equine athlete, but it took the people who worked with him awhile to figure out what interested him.  Author and historian Carol Mulder writes:

...Farana had potential for greatness, if the right job could be found for him. Because of his extreme agility, nimbleness, quickness, and lightness on his feet, it was decided that [Kellogg Ranch trainer] Mark [Smith] would try Farana as a stock/reining horse. This fast, keen and demanding work caught Farana’s full interest and also gave him the full physical engagement he liked. He took to reining/stock work wholeheartedly. He never became bored with this work. He put his all into it - and became famous.

Farana, by Gladys Brown Edwards, from an article in the April 1949 issue
of Western Horseman magazine.  (I found the magazine at an estate sale too.)


Not only was Farana a star attraction as a stock horse at the Kellogg Sunday afternoon exhibitions, and at fairs and other exhibitions, but he was also shown on a limited basis in both halter and stock horse competition. He was always sensational. During his short competitive show career, he won a first or second in every stock horse class in which he was entered, against the best of competition. He was Champion Arabian Stallion at the 1933 California State Fair, also winning the Light Weight Stock Horse class. He was again champion at the 1933 Coronado National Horse Show, and the same year was Champion Stock Horse. In 1933 Farana was 4 years old. Soon competitors became disinclined to show against him and so he was retired from competition - although he continued for years to give exhibitions.


Farana and Mark Smith must have been something to see.  Mulder wrote:

In his 1958 book, The Kellogg Arabians, written in collaboration with Gladys Brown Edwards, Herbert H. Reese (the shaping manager of the old Kellogg Ranch) described Farana’s work, saying that Farana showed “speed and precision,” and “dizzying spins” with “electrifying response to the rein.” 

Mr. Reese continued: “A spectacular worker, Farana was especially good at spinning, a type of showmanship demanded of stockhorses in those days to indicate their reining ability, and he could whirl so fast that he occasionally ‘spun’ right out from under his rider. Farana slid to the straight ‘figure eleven’ stops as well as any low-headed Quarter Horse, with instant take-off into a run when so indicated. Stockhorses in those days also had to work with the rope and he held the ‘calf’ with a taut rope at all times..... Farana could out-perform all exhibition stock horses of his day. He could also back faster than the average horse can trot, and would back uphill out of the arena at Kellogg’s at a fast clip as a finale to his performance.”

Farana's impressive high-speed backing skills were featured on the cover
of Western Horseman magazine's September/October 1937 issue.

My Dodge, Inc. "Farana" by Gladys Brown Edwards still needs to take one more step -- forward, this time -- before he can truly be at home again.  We'll talk about that in a future blog post.
________________________________________

You can read about Farana's extraordinary career here:  http://diablovista.homestead.com/farana.html

One of Farana's best-known descendants in recent decades was a stallion called Reign On, who was an outstanding show horse and sire.  Reign On excelled in park horse classes.  You can watch the late, great Huell Howser's public TV program that includes the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center here; Reign On appears starting at about 6:45 in.

https://blogs.chapman.edu/huell-howser-archives/1993/12/10/historic-horses-californias-gold-402/

(Make sure you also watch the clips near the beginning of the show, with the vintage footage of the Kellogg Ranch.)

Reign On's show career was impressive:

  • 1989 Canadian National Champion Park Horse
  • 1989 Scottsdale Champion Park Horse

  • 1986 Scottsdale Champion Park Horse

  • Reign On sired 194 foals between 1983 and 1997.  

    Reign On's descendants are still living at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center at Cal Poly Pomona. 

    http://www.wkkelloggarabianhorsecenter.com/2017-foals
      
    And the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library at CPP has a wealth of information on the development of the Arabian horse and its history in California:

    http://www.cpp.edu/~library/kellogg-arabian-horse-library/

    You can read one of my previous blog posts about Gladys Brown Edwards' equine art, here: 

    http://estatesalechronicles.blogspot.com/2014/08/part-arabian-foal-by-gladys-brown.html

    Metal horse books author Carolyn Martin's web page is here: 

    http://www.metalhorsefigurines.com/





    Saturday, August 13, 2016

    The Enduring Appeal of the Model Horse Conga Dance, or The Chorus Line of the Small Equine




    Some of my model horse collector friends and I met recently at an estate sale that advertised model horses. We'd lined up together prior to the sale's start, having agreed to support one another in our quest for the horse or horses we wanted for our own collections.

    "I just have to get that model," one friend said to me, of her grail du jour. "I conga that mold."

    The verb form of "conga" means to dance that particular dance, but in model horsedom, it has also come to mean collecting every possible variation of a single model horse mold.  (I guess you could also call it having a chorus line of small equines.)

    Compared to most of my friends' collections, mine is pretty small. And generally speaking, I don't conga model horses. If I have one copy of a certain mold, I'm pretty happy.  

    But my recent trip to Breyerfest, a purchase from a friend, and a couple of other lucky finds allowed me to pick up multiple examples of some of my favorite miniature Hagen-Renaker molds: the American Saddlebred, the Morgan stallion, and the standing Arabian stallion.


    .
    Left to right: Hagen-Renaker Collectors Club Special Run mini Saddlebred in buckskin with red ribbon and star;
    Monrovia white with blue and black  ribbon and "bird" or "comma" eyes;
    Monrovia brown with blue and white ribbon and "comma" eyes (not as pronounced as on the white one).
    So many collectors love the A-458 Style One mini ASB. Only three inches tall, it was made in the brown matte and white matte colorways, originally issued between Spring 1959-Fall 1963, and again between Spring 1967-Fall 1969.  In 2006, it was reissued as a black Special Run of 1,000 for the Hagen-Renaker Collectors Club.  It had four different color ribbons and with or without a star marking on its forehead.  The 2007 SR Saddlebred for the HRCC came in four colors, 120 each of four colors, with four different ribbon colors.

    I've always had a soft spot for the A-389 HR mini Morgan stallion. 


    Hagen-Renaker mini Morgan stallions.
    Left to right: 2007 Special Run in gray colorway;
    San Dimas palomino; Monrovia chestnut with "comma" eyes.

    Designed by Maureen Love, he stands 2.75 inches tall at the ears, and was released in matte chestnut and matte palomino from Fall 1959 to Fall 1973. He was re-released in four different glossy colors in 2007; only 50 of each color were produced as part of a set that also featured the mini Morgan mare and foal.

    I think the three little stallions in my small conga line exemplify the reason collectors want variations on the same mold.  Look at the differences in their detail, facial shading and expressions.  They're all handsome for different reasons.




    My longest mini HR conga line so far is the A-47 Standing Arabian stallion. Designed by Maureen Love, he is 3 inches tall at the ears and was produced in gray and white matte colors between Fall 1959 and Fall 1972.

    I believe I bought my first HR mini Standing Arab stallion from one of the real treasures of the model horse hobby, Linda Walter. Linda has long been esteemed by her fellow collectors as the editor of the Model Horse Showers Journal (back in the day when such newsletters were painstakingly typed and illustrated by hand). Linda was, and is, one of the best at articulating the joy, the history and the ethics of model horse collecting.

    I used to tell myself that I only needed one of these little guys.

    HR mini Standing Arabian stallion, San Dimas doeskin color.
    At Breyerfest in Kentucky this past summer, I ran into Linda in the hallway of the host hotel, and coincidentally came across not one, but four more variations on a theme of mini Arab stallion the same week. (I now have three white and two doeskin; I still need to find one in the older Monrovia rose gray color to have at least one of each color.)


    The San Dimas mini Arab stallion on the left is slightly smaller 
    and has a more pronounced matte finish than the one on the right.
    An old fairy tale is told of the Swan Maidens, "each one more beautiful than the other." That principle applies to the conga line of small horses: how could you say which one is "best," when each one has something different going for it?

    Headstudy of five Hagen-Renaker mini Arab stallions.
    The one on the far right has great detail on his mane and a sweet expression. The one to his left, has an almost semi-gloss finish.  The one in the middle has the old "comma" eyes from the time when HR was based in Monrovia, California (before the company moved to nearby San Dimas). The second one from the left has nice detail and even shading. The one on the far left may be the best example of all from a technical standpoint: excellent mold detail, even shading, nice eyes.



    Except that he's missing part of a leg.  But I felt I had to bring him home from Kentucky; I couldn't leave him there....

    I think I will send him to an artist friend for restoration. Then he can take his rightful place in the dance of the model horses.

    _______________________________________

    References:

    Ed and Sheri Alcorn's Online Hagen-Renaker Museum: 
    http://hagenrenakerhorses.com/DirectoryHorses.html

    The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Hagen-Renaker, 
    Second Edition, by Gayle Roller.

    Hagen-Renaker Pottery: Horses and Other Figurines, by Nancy Kelly (a Schiffer Book for Collectors).