Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ephemera: Hang Tags

What exactly constitutes ephemera? gives this very apt definition: "items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, especially pamphlets, notices, tickets, etc." In terms of model horse collectibility, that includes things like hang tags, stickers, accessories, original packaging, and catalogs---things that most people threw away or things that were lost because they were small and not integral to the piece. Each of these subjects deserves its own post (and the discussion of boxes in particular may span several blog entries), so this post will begin the subject with a discussion of hang tags.

While a variety of modern models are sold with hang tags, particularly Breyers, vintage hang tags are some of the hardest pieces of ephemera to find. Most buyers removed them from the models to facilitate play or display, and the tags were thrown away or lost over the years. In most cases, regardless of manufacturer, very few vintage hang tags are known to still exist, making them highly desirable to collectors. Most hang tags are made of paper or card stock, but a few were made of less traditional materials. I've included some examples below.

This is Breyer's Robin Hood on a white Fury Prancer with all original accessories and the original paper hang tag. This set dates from the late 1950s.

This Breyer Woodgrain Buffalo is one of about 3 known, all of which are on lamps. This fellow has the original leather and twine "Ranch Craft Originals by Dunning Industries" hang tag. The lamp dates to the mid 1960s.

This Breyer Little Bits Saddlebred is a SR from 1985. The hang tag, which describes Breyer's new partnership with Reeves International, identifies her as one of the first 500 pieces from the SR that were only distributed at the New York Toy Fair. A number of sorrel Saddlebreds were distributed sans hang tags at Breyer events in 1990-1992, making the models with tags more special.

Breyer's Susecion and Le Fire set is only about 10 years old, but they have become hot items amongst newer collectors lately. Sets with the original hang tag are consistently commanding higher prices.

Peter Stone horses rarely come with much in the way of ephemera, making this Chips model pretty unique. He is part of a run of 50 models given to entrants of a Stone show near Chicago in 2006 by way of apology for the show not being a NAN-qualifier as originally advertised.

Hang tags for china models are fairly uncommon regardless of age. This Beswick Welsh Mountain Pony by itself is not rare, but the little paper tag is pretty scarce.

Hagen-Renaker's Nataf is a highly desirable piece both for halter and collectibility showers. Finding one with a hang tag makes it all the more special.

These whimsical pieces by Walker-Renaker are not especially rare, but they are hard to find with all of their flowers and bows intact. The hang tags with the cute names add to their charm and collectibility.

This Rosenthal Small Polo Pony, already a rare piece and an old one (circa 1916), has a hang tag unlike any other I've seen. It's a small gold-colored metal plate that reads "Ertos" that is attached around his right rear leg with a small chain. Not surprisingly, he is always a strong contender in the collectibility show ring.

A close up of the tag.

Not only are they fun and interesting pieces of history, but hang tags can also give a collectibility entry a little extra "oomph" in the show ring. They can be the added edge needed to make a model stand out in a crowd.


  1. So glad to see This blog back....I did a double take when I saw the Stone. Thanks for including all the things!

  2. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

    Leather Hang Tag