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It's a Wrap! The Evolution of Breyer Packaging

By Laura Diederich, Stephanie Macejko and Corrie McDermott

Through the years, Breyer models have come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and so has the packaging. Finding an older Breyer with an original box is of some value to collectors. Let's take a look back at the early boxes used for Traditional sized models.

albino Mustang
Courtesy of Sara Roche

The first box style that I can remember was a plain white box with a space for a mailing address. The Breyer name and address was stamped on the side along with the model's name and number. This style of box was used in the 1950's and 1960's. The store merchants would take the model out of the box and display the model on the store shelf. The blue ribbon sticker on the model would indicate its item number. When the model was sold, the salesperson would then provide the customer with the original box.

In the late 1960's, Breyer used a white framed box style called a "display carton." These boxes had a decorative printed border, with the Breyer name in bold lettering on the box's side.

Packaging Showcase
Showcase Collection ad

The model was attached inside the box with an elastic string. A 1969 sell sheet noted that this package incorporated "the advantages of visual display while maintaining the unique aspect of touch-ability inherent in the quality of a Breyer Animal Creation." Breyer came out with a full color version of this for the My Favorite Horse collection in 2010, so that shoppers new to the brand could feel the quality of the model's material. However without the full window in front, the packaging did not consistently ship well without damaged corners and was discontinued.

In the 1970s, the next generation of packaging was called the Showcase Collection, which was a group of regular run models housed in clear plastic carrying cases. Available from 1970-1972, these boxes fully displayed the model on all sides. The models contained in these special cases were given unique item numbers. Breyer wanted very much to show off their beautiful models!

In the '70s, Breyer used a fully-closed white cardboard box with a full color photo of the model inside. This photo was displayed on a color background with original pen-and-ink sketches unique to each breed - for example, the Family Arabian Mare displayed dressed Bedouin Arabian horse and rider illustrations.

Palomino Arabian Mare 70's Packaging
Courtesy of Kelly Weimer Courtesy of Kelly Weimer

 

The model's name was printed with bold black lettering on the front of the box. Later in the decade, the white box with colored backdrop was replaced with a brown, tan and gold background and fresh logo, but retained the model picture and bold black lettering. Gift sets were packaged in heavier cardboard boxes with a plastic carry handle.

Misty Package Family Box
Courtesy of Kelly Weimer Courtesy of Kelly Weimer

 

In 1975, the Classic Thoroughbred Racehorses were introduced and packaged in custom cardboard boxes. The boxes were white with a photo of the model inside as well as full color drawings of the horse. The model's name was written in bold red type. Also that year, the new smaller Stablemates series horses were sold on black colored blister cards.

604 Swaps Classic TB Box
Courtesy of Kelly Weimer Courtesy of Kelly Weimer

 

Classic scale foals sold separately from the family sets were sold on blister cards of yellow, pale green or orange with Breyer in white letters and the Breyer Animal Creations logo visible beneath the foal through the packaging.

Late 70's early 80's
Courtesy of Sheryl Leisure

During the late 1970's, Breyer experimented with a new type of box. This style had four sides and a back, but the front of the package displayed the horse in a hard shrink-wrapped plastic casing. This generation of packaging had brown, tan and gold accents. Although well-suited for display purposes, this design was difficult to open and was only used for a short time.

A photograph of the horse against a gradation of black to gold background color graced the next closed-style box. Bright yellow gold letters, a new font, and a contemporary look brought the packaging into the early '80's.

Horses or sets sold by catalog companies during the 1980's, were often packaged in the white cardboard boxes with a photo of the model(s) inside gracing the front of the box.

20 Misty Packaging
Courtesy of Kelly Weimer

In 1985, when Breyer became a division of Reeves International, the packaging was updated so that the detailed models inside could be seen easily on the store shelf. Creating a window box for so many styles of horses, some with heads turned this way or that, or tails flipped, or a wide stance - made making a single style of package for the entire line a challenge. Further, the slightly top-heavy weight of a model horse, coupled with an average weight of about 12 ounces, further complicated the effort to ensure that the horses remained securely and beautifully in place during shipment to stores. Zip ties were required to hold the horses in place, and later a film laminate proved necessary to cover the internal printing to ensure that the ink did not rub off on the horses. After months of development, the final result was a sturdy window box with yellow as the dominant color, accented by the blue and gold Breyer logo and blue and red striping on the panels.

The Little Bit models were sold on blister cards when they were released in 1984. The card was a golden yellow on the bottom with a photograph of a girl and a bay horse gracing the top.

Yellow cardboard boxes with a blue and red stripe and the Breyer logo with a gold colored plastic handle were how classic scale sets were distributed.

The 1990's saw similar packaging to that of the late 1980s for Traditional models with the exception in the late 90s when some of the models were presented in more scenic and decorative full color printed backgrounds.

Rust colored packaging with a red stripe at the top and the Breyer logo were introduced for dolls, saddles, jumps and other accessories in 1992. This color packaging was short lived and in 1995 yellow packaging with a red and blue rosette and the Breyer logo took over. In this year Little Bit models were reintroduced as the Saddle Club and sold in yellow boxes with the red Saddle Club logo and the Breyer logo.

The Stablemates packaging looked similar to that of the Traditional and classic sets with the yellow blister card and the red and blue stripes with the Breyer logo.

Special run Stablemates sets in the mid to late 90s came in blue hat-box style packaging with textured paper and fancy gold lettering embossed on the outside lid and black flocked plastic in the shape of the models to hold them inside the box.

Dale Evans
Courtesy of Kelly Weimer

At the turn of the century most Traditional scale models (both regular and special run) featured eye-catching photos of scenery or real horses. The boxes continued to show yellow and the familiar blue logo that collectors had come to connect as a part of Breyer. Also the plastic ties that held the models to the background were replaced with plastic coated metal twist ties.

The Saddle Club Series was released as Paddock Pals and were blistered carded on a card in the shape of a barn. The top was yellow with the Breyer logo, a new Paddock Pals logo of two blue horse heads and Paddock Pals in red type. The lower portion of the card looked like a horse stall with a window, manager of hay and a bridle hanging on the wall.

Regular run Classic horses had yellow boxes with a white fence on the outside and a stall background.

Stablemates single horses were released on a card in the shape of a rosette with the edges of the rosette in blue. New horse and riders sets were sold on a rosette shaped card with blue, white, yellow and red around the rosette's top. And sets of four horses or more were in a yellow box with the Breyer logo.

Companion animals and a new line called "Ponies" were released on yellow cards with distinguishing features.

Currently porcelain models are protected in solid foam inside boxes with colorful photographs of the models gracing nearly all sides.

Models sold from catalog companies or directly from Breyer are shipped in white boxes with blue horses running across the box.

With the introduction of the JAH Connoisseur line, these special models are shipped in the above white boxes and the horses come in a dark blue velvet drawstring pouch, satin lined with the Breyer logo embroidered in gold.

Traditional size Holiday horses come in green or red boxes with holiday scenes behind the models. Ornaments commonly came in a red box and a photo of the ornament hanging on a tree gracing the front.

WEG Package
Courtesy of Kelly Weimer

As the first decade of the 2000s drew to an end, new color schemes emerged. Purple Paddock Pal blister cards and pink for the Pony Gals Stablemates line. Pinks and teals and light blue for Wind Dancers, Pony Gals and the My Dream Horse activity sets. Special packaging is often created for events, retail stores and special editions. A unique graphic treatment is also used for Hollywood licenses such as Spirit or Flicka, and big events such as the World Equestrian Games

Today most of the Traditional and Classic scale models continue to follow the yellow and blue color scheme somewhere on the packaging that collectors recognize. But inside, each model has their own colorful photographs separating them from other models in the line. The boxes are now made of lighter weight cardboard and use less plastic.

Breyer packaging continues to evolve and change, keeping the models safe and the design eye catching for collectors.


If you enjoyed this article on Breyer packaging, check out Corrie McDermott's Breyer Box Blog at http://breyerboxblog.blogspot.com!

 

 

 

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