Yep, I am a collector. My whole life I’ve enjoyed collecting things like books, leaves, rocks, yarn, and things with pansies on them. As a kid, I had a collection of electronics components that my dad would bring me home from work. He inspected things ranging from telephone poles to potentiometers for Western Electric/AT&T. He’d bring me rejected items and tell me what they were. I had them in shoeboxes, all labeled. Later he brought some very early printed circuit boards and explained how they worked. That led to my first “real” job after high school, which was working in a printed circuit board plant – wow, some of those were HUGE, thick, and sturdy.
Anyway, I had a fun serendipitous addition to one of my collections yesterday. You see, right after we moved to the Hermits’ Rest, I bought a beautiful little resin horse figurine as one of our first Christmas decorations. It lived on the mantel, and I got a few more as years went by. They are from the Trail of Painted Ponies collection, which, I soon discovered consists of a LOT of little horses. People collect them and apparently pay some pretty ridiculous prices for them.
As time went on, I got a few more Christmas ones, and branched out to some that weren’t Christmas, too. I like the Native American ones. Each is painted by a well-known artist, though some by lesser-known people who win design contests. A large part of the sale of each figurine goes to charity, which made me feel better for buying them.
Originally, they were large statues in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is why so many of them feature Western themes. Since I have had a small (growing smaller, thanks to our house cleaner) collection of porcelain horses my whole life, this was a natural outgrowth. Plus, Lee liked them. The pansy items I collect, not so much.
A year or two ago, Lee got me a nice hutch to display the horses in, since the mantel was getting full. It housed my ten or so horses and a couple of other nice things. Which leads us to yesterday!
I was finished with work, and just browsing around, when I got one of those random Facebook notifications that there was a garage sale coming up in Rockdale. I like to occasionally look to see if there are any glass items for my office, so I opened the link. There, in all their glory were a LOT of Trail of Painted Pony boxes. The guy said to ignore the prices on the boxes (that was good, since the lowest one was $75, and I’m not paying that).
I asked Lee and Kathleen if they wanted to go for a ride, and they said they would, so off we went to Rockdale. How spontaneous, right?
There, we met an interesting guy who does auctions and is selling off inventory from a store he used to own (hence the price tags). It turned out the horses were all from the early years of the Trail of Painted Ponies, starting in 2004. The newest ones were from 2007.
So, Kathleen helped me look through all of them. Not all are to my taste, but a couple were really, really cool, like Willing, here, who is a heavy metal horsie, with a fake hair tail and tassel. Whoa. You just have to have THAT.
I ended up selecting nine horses, which was over my initial goal, but some of these were just SO cool, and I knew they were all retired (and some first editions with 1E labels) and would cost a lot in a store or on eBay (I went to a store in some tourist town that had most of them, but some were over $200, and I don’t want any figurine THAT badly). We settled on a price that was reasonable, after I made a ridiculously low bid, because I apparently can’t multiply by 9.
Lee agreed that it was a good deal, so I am happy and not broke.
The seller also threw in this beautiful Fenton pitcher, since it has a little crack. I don’t care, because it’s just going to set on a glass shelf, once I have them. Right now it’s in the entry room at the Pope Residence, but that’s just a temporary location.
I love that each horse comes with a story, and that they are so detailed. They aren’t just painted, but they have engravings, accessories like leather reins, and other trimmings. These older ones aren’t labeled on the base like newer ones are, but that’s an easy way to tell which ones are old!
It’s hard to say which of the horses is my favorite, but two of them stand out. The Saguaro Stallion has a beautiful moonrise painting on it, along with very interesting lines embossed into the mold. I love the colors. And the base has rocks on it.
The other one I love is a very traditional looking horse, all dressed up for a parade. Plus, he’s a paint.
I you enjoyed this journey down the Trail of Painted Ponies. I enjoy looking at them every day, and they fit in nicely with the ranch theme of our house. Last year I wasn’t feeling too well, and didn’t get a holiday horse or any other, but I plan to make up for it and get at least one horse every year. It’s something fun to look forward to.
That’s what collections are for, right? Fun. Share what you collect, if you’d like to.