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How to sell Breyer horses in 2012
April 24, 2012 8:32 AM   Subscribe

What happened to the resale market for Breyer and other model horses? Do you know what is going on in the world of Breyer collectibles?

Years ago I was a horse girl, and it's time to part with a large collection of mint condition discontinued and special run model horses.

After 30+ years of excellent resales (so, not a Beanie Baby flash-in-the-pan) and steadily increasing prices which withstood even the onslaught of eBay, the market has totally fallen out and resale values are 20% what they used to be; many eBay sales go without any bids and the current auctions lack the knowledge, diversity, and good products of earlier years (where are the gorgeous customs and resins??)

1) What changes are behind the community and market shift for BREYER MODEL HORSES?
2) If you were selling such a collection, what would be your strategy?
(individuals? lots? CM or OF first? Are Stablemates still "the thing"? Is it seasonal?)
3) Is there another site or off-line activity that today's model horse people have moved to?

Thank you, but I am NOT looking for "it's the economy, stupid" or "duh, collectibles suck" because though they are true, I need to go beyond that to understand what's been going on in this specific collectible subculture and how to make some open space again from something I enjoyed immensely as a child. Don't worry, I already got my money's worth.
posted by whatzit to Shopping (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think the answer is a more general "where is the market now ? " as in, what is fashionable or "in" for collectors.

eg even on Antiques Road Show, you'll hear the appraisers saying things like "5 years ago xxx was really hot, but xxx doesn't sell for as much now". Or the semi-opposite of "xxx is starting demand higher premiums at auction".

Who/what guides and influences what's in vogue or not, I can't say. And in a niche-specific market, even harder to say.
posted by k5.user at 9:06 AM on April 24, 2012


This is a recent article by Terry Kovel that speaks about changes in the market for 10 different formerly collectible items, and these points would be relevant to your items in particular, so I'm altering them to suit your situation. I've been selling antiques and collectibles for years, and I find this to be true. This is also some of what I'd tell the clients at our auction house at roadshow-type events.

* The generation that appreciated these is now downsizing or dying off, dumping them back into the market by the thousands. Younger generations have little interest in buying them.

* Anything made to be collectible in not necessarily valuable in the long term. The company sells a wide selection of “limited edition” items, but there’s little resale market for any of it. Anyone who wants a certain product usually buys it from the company when it is being heavily advertised.

* "As with most other “limited edition” toys, these were toys in name only— most were never played with, just set aside as investments, so they never became any rarer. Meanwhile, Mattel issued so many different limited-edition Barbies over the years that few collectors could collect them all, and most stopped trying."


1) What changes are behind the community and market shift for BREYER MODEL HORSES?
2) If you were selling such a collection, what would be your strategy?
(individuals? lots? CM or OF first? Are Stablemates still "the thing"? Is it seasonal?)
3) Is there another site or off-line activity that today's model horse people have moved to?


1) See above - the Breyer market parallels the Barbie market
2) Offer it as a lot, researching Fair Market Values (what pieces have sold for lately) and put ads in some of the free Antiques Weekly papers in your area, plus CL and Kijiji with good pictures, and be willing to deliver or ship.
3) Craigslist and Kijiji happened. Ebay's fees, and Etsy's weirdness and the inability of other sites to compete with those powerhouses means that items that once seemed rare are more available on platforms that are more direct to the consumer, and without needing to be competitive, which is what drove prices up. Fair market value is what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller in an open market with all conditions known and no time constraints. The fair market has changed.

It's not that there are horse people, it's that people who aren't horse people are just dumping stuff on CL and horse people (and teak people, and other collectible item people and vintage clothing people) can scoop it more easily there, rather than compete with each other in what used to be the only deal, ebay, in a real-time auction where emotions, rather than sniping software and "Buy it Now" options, were involved. Now people can have a store online, and set their price and wait, with no retail store costs. So prices are down on everything, not just Breyer horses. So, what I'm saying is, nicely, as I would to my clients, that you are what's happened to the market. You're not buying new ones, and you're putting your old ones back on the market.
posted by peagood at 12:05 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's an interesting answer on this forum page (Google cache), about three-quarters of the way down the page (search for "robertsonwf" on the page).
posted by bluefly at 12:50 PM on April 24, 2012 [2 favorites]



I think the answer is a more general "where is the market now ? " as in, what is fashionable or "in" for collectors.


peagood has it.

You know, this makes sense to me in terms of selling toys. The collector market, in my experience of buying/selling toys back in the day, is only partly comprised of those serious collectors who want one of everything in mint condition. I'm not as familiar with Breyer, not being American, but it happened with My Little Pony for a while - some of it was collecting, some of it was people buying custom bait, but a lot of it was fuelled by nostalgia.

People get to an age where they get some more disposable income, maybe they're having kids or thinking back to being a kid, and they want to collect their old favourites, and so you see a spike in sales with whatever toy was popular thirty years before - Care Bears (and t-shirts with them on), Big Trax, etc. Then there's the point where this generation decide to sell off to pay their mortgage, but those ten years younger weren't part of the craze of the time, so it holds no appeal for them. You're ready to sell your horses off, but the people in their 20s and early 30s who are of an age when it seems a good idea to re-collect your childhood toys are going to be too young for Breyer to hold any nostalgic resonance with them, and those older will either retain their old collections having rode the eBay wave or, like you, are deciding it's time to sell off.

I used to be a Blythe collector, and even though the modern dolls were manufactured from the start as collectables and tended to hold value, the market is dying off as people are getting older and/or can't afford to drop £200 on a doll.
posted by mippy at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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