Thursday, August 11, 2011

Collectibility Reference Materials: Chinas

Now that the madness of Breyerfest is over, it's back to blogging! Here is the promised second half of my reference materials post.

The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Hagen-Renaker is a classic insurance guide for Hagen-Renakers. Written by a long time collector, it is a thorough compendium of the pieces made by HR, including the Designers Workshop horses, dogs, cats, and other animals, the Miniatures line, the Little Horribles, the Disney pieces, the early decorative ware (plates, bells, shadow boxes, etc), and more, as well as pieces produced by HR offshoot companies like Freeman-McFarlin, Loza Electrica, Walker-Renaker, Made With Love, etc. Each section details the specifics about various molds, such as production dates, model numbers, colors, and detail variations. The photos are in black and white and the values are somewhat out of date, but it’s a very complete resource in terms of identifying pieces. (There is a newer edition from 2003 that has a section of color photos. The book shown in the post below is from 1999.)

Hagen-Renaker Pottery: Horses and Other Figurines by Nancy Kelly is a must-have for collectors interested in the history of HR and its artists. This book truly tells the story of HR---its beginning, it various factory locations, its spin-off companies, and the biographies of the people involved. Most importantly and interestingly, it devotes a number of chapters to the artists and designers, often including memories of their time with HR in their own words. It’s a terrific read full of fascinating anecdotes, color pictures, and wonderful insight into the people of HR.

Hagen-Renaker Through the Years, also by Nancy Kelly, is a follow-up book to the above with further information about the company, its rivals and copyists, and many more photos of unusual and test run pieces. I don’t have a copy of this book myself, but having had a chance to peruse another collector’s copy, if you enjoyed HR: H&OF, you will love this one, too.

The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Beswick Animals (later editions are titled Beswick Animals: A Charlton Standard Catalogue) is the best guide available to collectors of Beswick horses. It appears to be updated every few years, and like other Charlton guides, it presents a catalog of the figures produced by Beswick with production date information, notes on rare colors, and general estimates of value.

Royal Worcester
Once again, Charlton is my go-to source with their Charlton Standard Guide of Royal Worcester Figurines. A few years ago, they broke the guide into two volumes, one for figures and one for animals, so keep that in mind if you are not buying the most recent edition.

Other Companies
Finding reference books for other companies, especially from non-English speaking counties, can be tricky. Here are a few I’ve found, though I don’t yet own them.

Rosenthal Porcelain Figurines by Ann Banduhn

Nymphenburg Porcelain

Royal Copenhagen Porcelain: Animals and Figurines

Allach Porcelain 1936-1945 (Volume 2 has the animal figurines)

Online Resources
Ed Alcorn has amassed a phenomenal Hagen-Renaker collection, much of which can be seen on his Hagen-Renaker Museum website. The site is a terrific resource for color photos of hundreds of pieces, including images of the items from Maureen Love’s estate sold on ebay several years ago.

Audrey Falconer has a website devoted to Rosenthal figurines, including a page with a number of pictures of the horses:

Kaiser, Hutschenreuther, Meissen, Albany Fine China, Hereford, and Boehm also produce or have produced porcelain horse figurines that are collected by many chinaheads in the hobby. Reference books for some of these companies exist, but they are often geared toward tableware, so buyer beware. I have found that the collectors on the Breakables Yahoo Group are a terrific source of information for some of these companies, especially the more obscure ones: