Breyer Horse Collecting: Cracking the Code

About two years ago a mystery fell upon Breyer collectors. As they opened their new Breyer horses many noticed something a bit different. Upon close inspection the hoof of their new horse had a series of numbers and letters on it. Many questions have come up concerning these letters and numbers but now that the code has be deciphered it can be an important collecting tool to help collectors learn more about their horses.

In spring of 2009 Breyer horses first began entering collectors hands with a few little black numbers and letters hiding under one hoof. There are two types of these combinations, one that begins with the letters VIN and one that begins with the letters A. Each of these combinations, while cryptic, can tell us a great deal of information.

In 2008 the United States Government implemented the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in response to recalls stemming from imports. One of the stipulations in this new act was that all imports need to bear an identification number that can be traced to a factory in case of a recall. On traditional horses, this number can be found on one of the horse’s hooves. On the smaller scale models, this number has been found on the actual packaging of the model.

The series of numbers and letters beginning with VIN or A then tell us which factory the models came from, but there’s another key piece of information that is very valuable for collectors. On horses marked with a VIN the three letters that follow will be the month the model is produced, example SEP or MAY.  Two digits will then follow the month which will be the year the model was produced. on models marked with A four digit number will follow, example 0311, the first two numbers indicate the month the model was produced and the second two will indicate the year.

A Model Made in March of 2011

A Model Made in September of 2010

A Model Made in May of 2011

A Model Made in May 2009

This cryptic information can be especially helpful for collectors as variations happen with certain runs and horses are reintroduced all the time. Breyer has finally created an easy to follow system for collectors to date their models with and all with a few tiny numbers and letters! Have you gotten a new model from Golden Oak Stables recently? What do the numbers tell you?


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