Thursday, May 16, 2013

Collecting and Detecting

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.

Earlier this week I was pondering my collections past and present and thinking about the history of how they came to be. And how I'm so much more paranoid about fakes when looking at "antiques."  I've been on ebay and etsy looking for toys (because I want to buy myself a present) and saw one of my toy horses listed for over $4500.00. I'll show you that in a bit. I don't know about others, but I'll buy a cute thing regardless of it being real or reproduction as long as it's not misrepresented. And that usually sets me off on another collection ..... It starts with that one cute, probably repro thing .....

I overheard a collector calling them "re-dos."

Rocking horses came first. I was nuts over them. Right up until I wasn't. Fickle me had discovered vintage childs' chairs (which are almost all painted and gone now.) For a few years there were little chairs everywhere in my house. People asked when I was going to start hanging them on the walls. I tried to identify the old chairs, but no one was trying to trick anybody.

For some reason I turned my sights to the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Luckily no one is faking knick-knacks. I mean, really. The White Rabbit was followed by white rabbits, lower case. Rabbit clutter started to make me crazy so I sold most of them out of my booth. I kept Bad Rabbit, Spare Rabbit and the White Rabbit (the three on the far right, above).

I stumbled upon Dedham pottery and the Roseville Juvenile Rabbit pattern. Be still, my heart! This was the first hard lesson. I started to collect those ... oh how I love that Roseville rabbit, especially the creamers! Then I learned mine were all fake, every one, and that changed everything. Was collecting going to be no fun anymore? Now when I see an old piece of big name pottery, I ask myself 'How badly do you want this fake?'

 My current passion is German, vintage, pull-toy horses, preferably paper mache, and I am haunting ebay and etsy to see what's there. While searching for The Pull-toy of My Dreams I was sidetracked by vintage ride-on horses. While pull-toys can be alarmingly expensive, the ride-on horses are surprisingly affordable. And they are so darn cute! My house has slowly filled up with the little guys and I still don't have a pull-toy. And before I loose interest (like I do) and move on to Naked Mole Rats or something, I thought I'd show you my little collection of vintage horses. And one honest reproduction.

Presenting: The Horses

It started innocently enough with one tin horse. (I didn't know Mobo horses were a collectors item when I found this one.)

My reproduction platform horse is fairly new and came from a chain furniture store. Horses like mine are being sold as "vintage" or "antique" on ebay for big whopping amounts of money. Don't buy one!  On a rocking horse forum I read: "If it's on ebay, it's fake." There were 5 of these horses on ebay, all but one claiming to be 100+ years old.

Check out this ebay listing. Yikes! That's a heck of a mark-up on a $150 horse from a bed store. Look at the shipping! Wow.

Seriously, how cross would it make you to buy this then go by Big Lots and see about 30 of them?

My poor worn plastic horse has had a rough life. But he's authentic!

Couldn't help myself. I know these are a dime a dozen.
 But look at this face!

My super-awesome rubber horse has remarkable detail. He was so dried out when I got him that I treated him with Armour-All which, besides softening the brittle rubber, brought out some of the original color.

Another Be Still, My Heart moment! A Mobo horse and cart! YAY! Finally! I've waited years!
Happy dance, happy dance.

 This odd little horse sounds like 300 baby rattles when he rolls.
It's loud and annoying. :-)

My very rare Davey Crockett glider.

I can't fit another ride-on toy into the house, but there's room for a vintage German paper mache horse. On ebay and etsy there are three I really like. Then I noticed they had the same head and the bridles was painted on, very poorly. Hmmmm, I thought. Something smells fishy. Okay, another lesson to be learned. Let the research begin!

I found a website that compares real and fake antique toys and GUESS WHAT? Armed with information, it looked like the horses I liked were fakes. When I looked closely they appeared spray painted or airbrushed. And the paint was too shiny. Well, RATS! At least my bigger, ride-on horses aren't worth reproducing. (But beware of rocking horses! They're another story.)

So what clues am I going to look for?

This was the one horse listed that I would bet is real, but it's fairly
new - 1940s. See all the cracking and chipping? This was the only horse with aging paint that I saw online. His accents appear to be sprayed but I think they were doing that by the 40s.

This is the real deal, found in Denmark.
No mistaking this is old. I want it, but the owner wants it, too.

 Here are the 3 "German" horses on the US ebay that I was thinking about. Any one might be real, but it's those heads! Plus the shine doesn't look like old paper. Where's the peeling? At least the bridle isn't painted on the left-hand horse.

What do I do when I can't find what I want? I go to the source, in this case Germany and I open with Google Translate.

It's the real thing....

One from Germany and one from Denmark.
Germany. I just gotta think this one is old. :-) Notice the harness was pretty detailed and the paper mache is tearing. On the fakes the paper mache is made from pulp so it hardens to feel like ceramic. And, oh yeah,
its face is missing.

Denmark. Paint is cracking, harness is detailed and the eyes are glass. This is the one to buy. The seller took it off ebay early for whatever reason and broke my heart. If there was an honest copy of this horse,
I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Eternal optimist that I am, I found two horses in England I want to bid on, as soon as the sellers send me shipping quotes.

Looks real (enough) to me judging from the crackled paint and
chewed off ears.

Swoon. I could make room for this even if I had to carry it under my
arm all the time.

Wish me luck on my bidding!

See bunny at 
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  1. Isn't it funny how we can love something, collect it and then, poof, no likey anymore? What is really annoying is when I've decided I like something that I either owned once, or could have bought years ago for cheap. Oh, well, we are all allowed to change our minds. I would never in a million years try to pass something off but just because I wouldn't means I have to remind myself that others don't follow the Golden Rule. Thanks for reminding me...Wish more people talked about the Golden Rule because it stands the test of time.

  2. OMGoodness I love your horses! My favorite is the pulling the wagon and the last one. So cute. Thanks for the smile. So glad you joined us this week at Transformed Tuesday.

    Peggy~PJH Designs