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Tips for Shopping for Bargain Breyers and Other Horse Models

How to Get the Best Value for Model Horses Via the Secondhand Market


breyer horse model found at an antique mall.

Bargain Breyer in mint condition found at antique mall.

Copyright 2011 by Jeanne Grunert. Used with permission.

Breyer collectors love the thrill of finding new models to add to their collections at flea markets, yard sales, antique malls and other secondhand markets. Although eBay and Model Horse Sales Pages (MHSP) are two of the most popular places to find Breyers and other model horses, most collectors on these sites are savvy enough about knowing the value of their Breyer horses that it's rare to pick up a good bargain. On the other hand, flea markets, antique malls, yard sales and auctions often yield surprising treasures at amazing prices. The trick is to know the value of your favorite molds.

Know the Value of Your Favorite Breyer Horses

Breyer horses are often tricky to price because age alone doesn't determine the value. Condition and rarity often dictate price more so than age. Some of the oldest Breyers on the secondary market, for example, are also the most common. In the company's early days, models were produced in a handful of colors for many years. Later on, the company issued more colors but fewer models, making some molds in certain colors highly collectible.

The Breyer Animal Collector's Guide by Browell et al should be on every serious collector's bookshelf. Not only does it provide great photos, it provides information on how condition affects pricing, price range for mint condition models and more.

Make a List of Your Favorite Breyer Horses

While you can't lug the Collector's Guide around with you to every flea market in town, you can make up a small index card with your favorite molds listed and any "holy grail" or special models you need to fill a hole in your collection. Let's say that you love the Breyer Family Arabians and are amassing a collection of all possible colors produced since the mold was introduced in 1959. List the colors and molds you need on your card along with prices for mint condition models. You can easily slip the index card into your wallet or purse. When you come across the molds at a yard sale, you've got a quick reference card at hand.

Set a Budget and Stick with It

Antique malls, flea markets, yard sales and auctions entice collectors to spend money, sometimes more than they bargained for! It's hard to pass by a Breyer sitting on a vendor table, but if it's overpriced, pass it up.

If you're at an auction, know your upper limit and ask a friend to help you stay within your budget. If you're at a yard sale, work up the courage to offer a slightly lower price on any Breyers you feel are incorrectly priced.

Don't argue with the seller about the pricing or information. Some collectors act like knights in shining armor determined to set the world right about the value of Breyers, but the truth is that to most antique dealers and auctioneers, Breyers are plastic horse toys, not highly desired collectibles. If them model is way overpriced, calmly offer what you feel is the value and don't take offense if the seller seeks to make more. When the model doesn't sell, eventually he'll lower his price!

Make Sure It's a Genuine Breyer

Copies of Breyer horse models abound, whether sold new or in the secondary market. Learn the characteristics of authentic Breyer horse models, such as:

  • Sizes models were produced in
  • Plastic and other materials
  • Logo and logo placement

Determining the Value of Breyer Horses

For more information on determining the value of Breyer horses, you can use the Breyer Animal Collector's Guide. There are also guides for Hartland figures and other major brands.

The following websites also provide helpful information to identify and determine the value of Breyers:

No matter what Breyer you find at a sale, buy what you love. That's the collector's Golden Rule and it applies to horse models as well as every other type of collectible. After all, if you buy what you love, you'll never be disappointed!

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