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Satchmo (Lipizzaner - Special Release Item)

Mustang Stallion, Black

Some of Linda's Collection

Linda's Rare Bulls

Rare Horse Wall Display

Schleich Stable with Figures

Schleich Horses with Backdrop
A Brief Look at Collecting Schleich Horses by Linda Marikar

The Schleich Company was founded by Friedrich Schleich in Germany in 1935. It was originally an industrial supplier and producer of plastic parts. In the 1950s the company diversified into the manufacture and sale of “comic character” figures including The Smurfs and Snoopy.

The company remained a family owned business until 2006 when it was taken over by the European private equity investors H.G. Capital, who paid over 160 million Euros for an 80% share. The company’s two Managing Directors hold the other 20% of shares.

In the early 1980s a range of animal figurines was added to their already existing products. These include dinosaurs, sea life, farm animals and wild animals. Schleich currently offers a range of approximately 300 animal figures. Each year about 30 – 50 figures are retired, but are replaced by an equal number of new models.

Some people try to collect all Schleich figures (probably an impossible task now if you’re just starting out), while others prefer to concentrate on a particular group. My personal favourites are the “Farm Life” horses. I bought a couple of figures a few years back as they reminded me of the “Britains” and “Timpo” horses I’d had as a child. Then Paul from work gave me a Schleich catalogue and I was hooked. I had to have them all! I scoured all the local department stores and toy shops and then hit the internet. I’m always on the look out for those figures missing from my collection. Keep your eyes open at garage sales, op shops and second hand dealers. You never know when one will turn up.

www.toydreamer.com.au is probably the best internet site in Australia for Schleich figures. It has all the new figures as well as a large range of retired and hard to get figures. The official Schleich website is quite comprehensive unless you’re looking for older models. eBay is another excellent source for older figures. There are Schleich figures being sold every day on eBay, but you need to know what you’re looking for. “Retired” doesn’t necessarily mean “rare” as a lot of sellers claim. Many retired figures are still available in toy shops a few years after their production has ceased.

I thoroughly recommend the “Collector’s Guide For Schleich Animals” available from www.toydreamer.com.au. Although a little out of date now, this book is a comprehensive list of all the Schleich animals produced until 2009. It’s a great guide to let you know how many more figures you need to complete your collection.

It’s important to thoroughly research your particular field of collecting. Don’t limit yourself to only one or a few sources of information. Join clubs, groups on Face Book, visit forums on the internet or even Google for information on what is available.

Sometimes Schleich releases special edition figures such as “82140 Black Forest Stallion” with the ‘Schwarzwalder’ (Black Forest) brand on it’s rump, released in 2010 with a limited release of 3000 worldwide, or “82141 Isabel Werth’s Satchmo” also released in 2010 in a limited edition of 5000 worldwide.

The “Satchmo” figure immortalizes the gold medal winning dressage champion horse from Germany. You can find footage of the real Satchmo in action on You Tube.

The special edition release horse figure for 2011 is “72002 Rearing Pinto”. Like the majority of Schleich special editions, this is an older model, painted differently and re-released in limited numbers. It was originally released as “13621 White Mustang Stallion” and “13624 Black Mustang Stallion”. The White Mustang Stallion was retired at the end of 2010, but The Black Mustang Stallion is still available. Satchmo was originally released as “13293 Lipizzaner Stallion”, which is still available.

Probably one of the most sought after of the Schleich Farm Life horses is “13241-1 Pinto Stallion old painting” produced in 1999. This figure, also known as “Super Pinto” in collector circles, is quite possibly the result of a small batch being painted incorrectly, but this small mistake has driven collectors around the world crazy. I recently saw one fetch more than 300 Euros on eBay.

Not all the unusual and differently painted Schleich horses are rare or limited edition figures. Some people sell Schleich horses they’ve painted themselves, as a hobby. These are usually advertised as “custom” or “custom painted” horses. Whether or not you want to include these figures in your collection is entirely your decision. It’s your collection. The selection criteria is up to you.

Collecting Schleich horses (or anything else) can be a great way to spend your time and money, but don’t let it become an obsession that takes over your life. Always make sure there is a roof over your head, food on the table, the bills are paid and your car is roadworthy before you buy that “must have” item. Some things are more important than others.

Happy collecting!

Written by Linda Marikar

Tips and Hints for Collecting Schleich Horses by Linda Marikar

So, you’ve decided you want to collect Schleich Horses but aren’t really sure what to do after you’ve bought all the figures available in your local toy store.

This basic guide will get you started with finding figures and safely displaying your collection.

Research as much as you can. A thorough knowledge of your chosen subject will make it easier for you to hunt down those elusive figures missing from your collection and will also help to prevent you from purchasing figures made by other companies – unless you want to collect them too.

You need to be able to recognize Schleich horses by sight and to differentiate them from other contemporary brands such as Papo, Safari, Breyer and Collect-A as well as older brands such as Britains and Timpo. To the untrained eye these figures all look similar and it would be easy to waste money buying the ”wrong” pieces.

A simple Amazon search for books on Schleich can result in such diverse subjects as quantum physics, subterranean rodents or model railways. This is usually because either the author’s or publisher’s name contains the word Schleich.

At this point in time there is really only one Schleich book worth owning. Gascher’s Collector’s Guide For Schleich Animals. Is an excellent guide to every Schleich figure made until 2009. It includes a colour photograph of each figure with the catalogue number. It also includes the year each figure was introduced to the market, known as the “birth year” and the year manufacture ceased, or “retirement year”. Each item has a checkbox so you can tick off each figure as you acquire it, a handy tool to help you keep track of what you have and what you need. This book is readily available from www.toydreamer.com.au

The internet can be an excellent tool when researching Schleich horses, but can be quite daunting for the beginner. When using the internet for research you need to set aside plenty of time and have a lot of patience.

A Google search of Schleich Horses will result in around 700,000 sites, most of these relating to on-line stores or mostly expired eBay auctions selling Schleich figures. To save you time I’ve included a couple of reputable sites to get you started.

www.toydreamer.com.au This site, while primarily an on-line store with an amazing variety of current and retired stock, has some excellent information on the history and availability of Schleich figures in the “Toy News” section.

www.schleich-s.com This is the official Schleich web site. It is also an on-line store, but only sells items from the current catalogue. There is a brief history of the company in the “Chronicle” section of the site.

Once you have exhausted the resources of your local toy stores, second hand dealers, opportunity shops, markets, garage sales and trusted online dealers don’t discard them. If you have time, visit your on site and on line dealers regularly. They are constantly receiving new stock and their next shipment could contain that elusive figure you’ve been searching for.

Build a relationship with your specialist dealers. Give them a list of the items you are searching for. If you are a regular and loyal customer they will be happy to let you know if they have the figures you want.

No guide would be complete without mentioning eBay. This can be a marvelous source for figures (or anything for that matter) but without the proper cautions can be a terrible experience full of pitfalls.

This is where your knowledge of Schleich figures is of vital importance. Just because the word Schleich appears in the description of the item for sale doesn’t necessarily mean that item is actually a Schleich figure. Sellers use terms such as “like Schleich”, “similar to Schleich”, “Schleich?” and “not Schleich” so their item will appear in any search for Schleich figures. Read the description carefully and compare the photo to your copy of Gaschers Collector’s Guide. If it’s not in the book it’s another brand, a repainted figure or a newer (post 2009) figure. If it is a newer figure I recommend you buy it from your regular supplier. Repainted figures will be discussed later in this article.

If there is no photo accompanying the item I recommend you don’t bid. You can’t be sure of what you are getting and you will be saved the hassle of trying to get your money back if the item doesn’t meet your expectations.

ALWAYS check the postage costs before you place a bid. I recently saw a show jumping course (40181) for around $12 “Buy it now”. This item usually sells for much more than that so I was a little suspicious. Upon checking I found the postage costs were over $80, far in excess of what could be considered reasonable and much more expensive than buying it at the regular price.

If you’re new to eBay, restrict your initial searches to “located in Australia” or “available to Australia”. This option can be found in “Advanced Search” where you can also choose to have the auctions shown in Australian dollars, a very handy option to give you a better idea of what you are actually spending.

Once you are comfortable with the process and have a few purchases under your belt you may feel ready to search worldwide.

There are a few more pitfalls to watch out for here. Many international sellers will only post within Europe or the USA. This can be quite frustrating to Australian buyers, especially if the item is one you particularly need to complete your collection. If you find yourself in this situation you could try contacting the seller and they may make an exception for you, but don’t hold your hopes too high.

Language is another barrier when navigating through an international eBay search. The majority of international auctions are located in Germany (the home of Schleich), so you may want to keep a German/English dictionary beside your computer or save a good translation website. Never buy large items such as barns from overseas. The prohibitive postage costs would make this a very expensive venture.

During your eBay searches you may come across items described as a “custom”, “custom painted” or “repainted” model. These are figures that have been purchased and repainted by members of the general public. Some are quite well painted. You may want to add these to your collection, especially if you find a particularly talented artist. If you want to try repainting figures yourself You Tube is full of instructional videos to get you started.

There are many ways to display your collection. Make sure your figures are not in direct or even reflected sunlight. The UV radiation can discolour your figures, destroying their beauty and forever ruining the resale value.

If possible put your figures in a sealed cabinet to prevent dust accumulation. If you can’t keep your figures in a dust free environment, try to run a “Go Duster” regularly over your collection. This uses static electricity to transfer the dust from your figures to the duster, but must be done regularly as a build up of too much dust will render the duster ineffective. Repeated friction based cleaning methods can damage the paint. Immersion in water will definitely damage the tag.

Put some thought into your display. A few horses on the mantel piece can create interest, but several dozen will just look messy. If you have a lot of space you may want to display your figures in scenarios, or on labeled shelves in chronological order. If you choose to display your horses in chronological order, make sure you leave spaces for the figures you have yet to acquire. This will save you the trouble of rearranging your collection every time you buy a new figure. If scenarios are your choice, have some fun with them. Add something that won’t be noticed upon first glance. Put some wildebeest in your cattle round up or a dinosaur in one of the stalls of your barn.

Try to place your displays in low traffic areas avoiding knocks and bumps that will cause your horses to fall. Repeated occurrences will result in scuffs and scratches on the paint work and in extreme cases, can even erode the plastic – usually the ears or hoof edges.

Don’t become too obsessed with collecting. Missing out on an auction is disappointing but it’s not the end of the world. There are still a lot of figures out there. Don’t spend your life hunched in front of a computer trolling the internet for figures. Go out! Have a coffee with friends, spend time with your family, join a community group, or take an evening class.

Collecting should only be enjoyed as part of a varied, balanced life.


Written by Linda Marikar
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