An Introduction To Breyer HorsesBy Jeffrey Rolo
Breyer horses have quickly become a favorite among collectors and horse lovers due to their impressive level of realism and quality. Additionally these pieces easily bridge the gap among generations of horse lovers, for to children they can be delightful toys whereas for adults they can be true collectibles that fetch upwards of $1,000.00 for the rare models. A Breyer horse never really goes out of style; like a fine wine its value just improves with time when well preserved.
A Breyer horse (often misspelled as Bryer horse) comes in four different model lines: Traditional, Classic, Paddock Pals and Stablemates. Actually Breyer does produce other horse-oriented products such as their Ponies line, but the aforementioned are the "big four" when it comes to plastic models.
While they all share the Breyer name, each of the four models is significantly different from the others and suited for its own purpose. The Traditional and Classic lines are generally prized by collectors due to their larger size and more realistic features/creation, whereas the Paddock Pals and Stablemates are remarkably genuine for toys, but remain toys nonetheless.
Their dimensions are as follows:
Breyer horses can vary widely in price depending on the product line and rarity, ranging anywhere from $5.00 to over $100.00 for new pieces. Traditional pieces, the line most prized by horse collectors, generally average between $35.00 to $50.00 dollars when released and still readily available.
What makes Breyer such an exciting gift for collectors is the continual additions to the product line. Every year a new catalog is released, as well as many special edition collectors’ models that can be limited to numbers as low as 1,000 – 1,500 released worldwide! Such offerings may be exclusive to a particular store or catalog (JC Penny, Toys R Us, etc.) or a particular event (BreyerFest).
Earlier I mentioned that Breyer also produces other types of horse-related products, so I'll touch upon them briefly. The Breyer Ponies line is designed with the younger horse lovers in mind as they feature "real" manes and tails that can be combed as well as a variety of props that can be incorporated during play. They are cute and of high quality, but definitely not recommended for a serious collector.
Breyer makes a line of stuffed horses that any young horse lover (or anyone young at heart!) would be delighted with: The Breyer Plush line, which features a nice assortment of different horses ranging from well-known historical equines such as Seabiscuit to Breyer originals. Horses in the Breyer Plush line can vary significantly in size since they do not possess standardized dimensions like the Breyer model horse lines.
Collectors will sometimes find rare porcelain editions of Breyer horses, whereas children will find fun card and board games, so by no means is the above list all inclusive. Breyer will likely forever be most recognized for their collectible Traditionals, but they also have plenty of offerings for the younger crowd.
Still not convinced that Breyer horses are a phenomenon worthy of your attention (assuming you aren't already hopelessly addicted)? Their following is so significant that Reeves International (Breyer's parent company) publishes a magazine dedicated exclusively for Breyers' collectors: Just A Horse, or JAH for short. You can find more information about this magazine on Breyer's website.
Read our article on the history of Breyer horses to learn more about how these collectibles came to be and what goes into the creation of each.