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Record Keeping for Model Horse Collections: Simple Method

Easy Ways to Keep Track of a Horse Model Collection and Value

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Model horse NAN  (North American Nationals) card

An index card file holds records and NAN cards for each model horse.

Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Once you've acquired several model horses, it's hard to keep track of their names, ages, breeds, pedigrees, purchase price and more. Entering multiple photo shows each month grows quite difficult when you have dozens of horses. It's embarassing to realize you've listed a horse as a stallion in one show, then made him into a mare for another!

The easiest solution is a simple record-keeping method using index cards and an old-fashioned index card box. Other methods include using scrap books and computer programs, but the index card method (or sheets of loose leaf in a binder) work well for young collectors and beginning collectors.

Simple Record Keeping Methods

An index card file holds standard 3 x 5 inch cards. Dividers printed with the letters of the alphabet provide an easy way to organize horses by name. One of the benefits of using this size of card holder is that NAN cards fit easily into the box next to the horse's index card. NAN stands for "North American Nationals" and is a special championship live model horse show held annually. The North American Model Horse Show Association approves classes or entire live shows, and points and placings won at those shows may earn your horse a NAN card. Think of it like the golden ticket into Willy Wonka's factory; once your horse has earned a NAN card, you can show at the nationals!

But that may be a long way off for most beginning collectors. Other reasons to use a simple, standard card file include:

  • Inexpensive: You can start keeping records for a few dollars worth of supplies.
  • Easy to use: No special computer skills are needed, just a pen and a card.
  • Fast lookup: Flip through the box, find the card, and the data is at your fingertips.
  • Standard: This size box also makes it easy to print photographs of your horse models and add them to the box. If you photo show your models using prints mailed to a show judge, you can store them in the box in between shows.

Information to Record for Each Model Horse

It's up to you what information you'd like to record for each model horse. Collectors usually recommend writing down the horse model's:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Breed
  • Previous owner, if any
  • Make
  • Model Number
  • Customizer or Sculptor, if known
  • Purchase Price
  • Date and Year Purchased

You can also add the horse's pedigree or sire and dam (father and mother) to the back of the index card. Store any NAN cards or other papers in the box next to the horse's identification card. Some painting artists, for example, provide a small certificate along with each horse model they've painted as a way to verify their work. These can be stored inside the box next to the index card bearing the horse's information.

Alternatives to Index Cards

Another very simple method is to use a three ring binder and pages of loose leaf inserted into the binder. Simply write the record out on sheets of paper and insert them into the binder. Photos of the models can be printed on the computer and the pages punched with a 3-hold punch, then inserted into the binder next to each horse model's record.

Importance of Recording Model Horse Information

There are many occasions when having the information about your model horse at your fingertips comes in handy. Aside from having the facts for photos shows, if you choose to sell your horse model at a later date, you'll want to know your original purchase price so you can ask at least that much, if the value of the horse model merits it. Having the make, model number and manufacturer at hand also enables you to look up the present value in a good collector's guide.

Many years ago, several artist resin model horse manufacturers received bad batches of the chemicals that comprise the resin material used to cast model horses. Such model horses could not be painted, and companies issued recalls to replace defective models. Knowing if your horse was from one of those companies and when he was purchased was essential to claiming a refund.

Still another reason for good record keeping is in the unlikely event that a tragic fire, theft or water leak damages your model horses. Most thieves will bypass a china cabinet of Breyers but you never know; models do get stolen. Fires happen, as do floods, and damage to valuable horse models can ruin their value. If you decide to insure your model horses, your insurance agent will need to know all the details you've kept in your records to provide an accurate replacement value. Having those index cards up to date and handy will help you communicate all the important details to your insurance agent.


This is the easiest, simplest, and least expensive method of record keeping for your model horse collection. As your collection grows, you may want to explore more elaborate record keeping methods, but this will help you corral your unruly herd.

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