Collector's Classes are the place to showcase your most prized pieces at a model horse show. In a Collector’s Class, the entrant will display a small collection of model horses (usually 8-12) in an informative and visually-pleasing manner. Woodgrains, decorators, vintage treasures, and limited editions often take the spotlight in these competitions, but overall presentation also plays a key role in putting together a winning entry.
Many live shows offer at least one Collector's Class – there may be separate classes for novices and open (experienced) showers. The BreyerFest Open Show, for example, splits the Collector Class division into Novice and Open, then further divides the Open division by “commonality” (for example: a Collector Class containing only Wedgewood models, or only models on the Huckleberry Bey mold) and “variety” (for example: a selection of rarities from throughout Breyer’s history, or a collection of different Breyer racehorses).
Typically, the Collector’s Class judging criteria includes condition, rarity/age, presentation, and variety or suitability to a requested theme. When selecting models for your Collector’s Class entry, be sure they are in top condition. Choose only models with no chips, breaks or rubs. While a tiny ear rub may be forgiven on a 60+ year old decorator model, it won’t be ignored on a recent special run.
Rarity and age are also very important. This is often what makes the difference between a really good entry and an outstanding entry. If you have some old models – pre-1970, for example – in excellent condition, consider including them. If you’re a youth or noivce exhibitor, don’t worry if your models aren’t that old. Other youth competitors will likely have newer models, too.
Try to choose some rare models such as Web Specials, which are created in limited editions of around 350. Over the years there have been countless limited edition, special run, BreyerFest raffle, and test run models that could be excellent additions to your entry.
Variety can be interpreted in several ways: size, color, finish, breed, regular run, special run, test run, etc. Unless the rules specify a certain scale (Breyer Traditional or Stablemates, for example), you may also help your entry stand out by including multiple different sizes of models.
Select colors and finishes that look good together and show variety, if necessary. While a Collector’s Class of eight Woodgrain models could rate high in age and condition, they would score low in variety if not in a commonality-based class. Instead, two Woodgrains, a decorator, two old glossies, and three matte models would be more balanced.
If possible, try to incorporate different breed types – ponies, drafts, stock, and light breeds. Unless the rules prohibit it, collections aren’t limited to horses. A Breyer dog, bull, elephant or other animal can also be a great addition.
An entry incorporating other Breyer animals alongside horses
When it comes to tack, only include tack that was original with the model: for example, a Holiday Horse with its Breyer-produced costume or a Western Horse with its plastic saddle and chain reins. For a neater appearance, remove any leg tags used in other classes.
To present your collection, use boxes as risers to make varying heights to create an attractive display. Any sturdy box will work, provided it’s a suitable height - it may take a few to achieve the desired “shelves.” Another popular option is acrylic risers.
Practice at home so you know everything will fit. Remember to adhere to any specified space limitations. If no size is designated, 32” is reasonable, as an eight-foot table divides evenly into three 32” spaces.
Use a cloth drape to cover your boxes and pull your entry together. Be sure the edges are hemmed or folded under, as frayed edges look messy. If the sides are a bit too long, neatly fold them under. Many collectors are also starting to include other fun additions such as lights, rotating platforms and backing boards in their entries to help them stand out from the crowd! Finally, place your models on the display and arrange them so they look balanced and are facing in the most pleasing directions.
If you don’t have too many rare models in your collection, don’t give up on creating a Collector’s Class entry! Just because you don’t own eight one-of-a-kind models doesn’t mean your entry can’t be competitive. A creative and well-themed setup can make up for a lack of rarities, especially in commonality-style classes.
Once you have figured out where each riser and each model goes, take a photo of the display with your phone (or take a photo and then print it out) to refer to at the show. Shows can be hectic, especially if you’re participating in multiple divisions. Your photo will save you time and stress on show day. Before you pack your models for the show, be sure each is clean and dust-free.
The final step is documentation. Each model should have a small, neatly-printed label that includes the model’s name, number, year(s) produced, number produced (if known), and any other important information (such as BreyerFest Celebration Horse or Breyer Collector Club Special Run).
Vintage Proud Arabian Mare models showcased with documentation
If your model is signed, you may note this on the label. To show the signature, place a small mirror underneath the model’s belly so the judge can see it.
Depending on your space and display, you may choose to include certificates of authenticity, a page from hobby publication/website printout about your model, or other documentation. Be sure it adds to your display. If it looks crowded or distracting, just stick with the labels you have made.
As you can see, a lot of planning goes into putting together an outstanding Collector’s Class entry. Through careful selection and proper display, you’ll have an entry you can be proud of!
When presented tastefully, boxes, ephemera, and additional documentation can add extra dimension to an already-competitive entry.
Check the show packet before planning your Collector’s Class entry! Regional trends and individual show rules may vary. You’ll need to know: