In about 1950, the first toy horses were introduced in America. Since then, these toys have continued to grow in popularity. Along the way, toy horses became more than just a horse toy. They became a popular hobby that includes horse painting, photographing, prop and tack making, exhibiting and collecting valuable model horses.
Breyer capitalized on the growing collector hobby by introducing a hobby magazine in the 1970ís. Then they launched the first limited edition artist resins model horses in the 1980ís. By the 1990ís, the collectors hobby blossomed and continues to be very popular today. Limited edition artist resins are released now with very limited editions of a few hundred pieces, or in some cases only 50 pieces. These pieces usually sell out quickly. After these toy horses are sold out, they increase significantly in value in the collectorís market.
By 1996, Breyer toy horses were no longer the only game in town. Stone horses were introduced with horses just as detailed, some would argue more detailed, than Breyer. While Breyer caters to the huge toy market as well as the collectorís market, Stone focuses more on limited edition collectibles. Other brands also entered the market including Hagen-Renaker Horses. Today, Schleich and Safari also offer detailed, hand-painted model horses. However, Schleich and Safari are more popular as toys rather than collectibles, perhaps due to the smaller size of their 1:24 scale horses compared to the larger 1:9 scale for Breyer and Stone horses. Despite all the competitors, Breyer still dominates this market for both toy horses and collectibles.
Our company was first introduced to the world of model horse toys in 2007 when we added the Breyer products to our store. Since we already carried a lot of other toys, we assumed these would be just another toy category. We were surprised last year when Breyer gave us a gift of a few limited edition artist resins with a suggested price of $300 each. We thought they would never sell but we were wrong. Our customers were eager to pay that price because these were no longer just another horse toy to them. These toy horses had taken on a whole new value as rare collectibles.
What began as a horse toy has developed into a full-blown hobby with thousands of devoted hobbyists all over the world.
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Joe Kanooga is a father of two kids, a successful business owner and the author of numerous articles about horse toys. Click here to download a free toy horses guidebook filled with hobby tips, ideas and information.
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