Monday, August 11, 2014

Mystery Horses Update Summer 2014

As much as I've dug up over the years, the Mystery Horse mine continues to turn up precious gems.

Giant 24" H-114
Model courtesy Heather Jackson-Lain.

The Giant molds seem to be the rarest survivors. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps fewer were ordered from the potteries? The littler guys were probably much cheaper at wholesale. Maybe retailers ordered fewer of the big guys because the little guys were easier to display and sell? My gut tells me that the Giants were so big that moving them from household to household was cumbersome. Shipping them is a pain, so we seldom see them on eBay for anything besides "pick up only". 

What happens when a Giant breaks? Does it immediately go to the dump as over-sized broken junk? Nope. Somebody felt this Giant was worth saving, despite missing an entire leg. Maybe the Giant's size, in that antiques dealers sometimes associate size with value, is what saves them when they are damaged?

A-9 and H-114 in Black Pearl
Lusters are costly, and it seems the Giants get less than the small models.
Model on right courtesy Heather Jackson-Lain.

Calif USA

Giant H-114 models demonstrating exactly why the mold was retooled with bent legs.
Black Smoke (known to be Lane Ceramics) and Black Pearl (possibly Marcia of California)
Model on right courtesy Heather Jackson-Lain.

Giant H-114 bent legs in Black Pearl
Lane or Marcia? I don't know.
Unknown photo source

The smaller open-bottom P-239 ("leg-out")
One of two P-239 open-bottom Pearls that appear to be OF.
I have a White Pearl photo on file that is owned by Worthpoint, so not shown here.
Photo courtesy Jayne Kubas.

In summary, I have now seen all the 239 Leg Outs including ring-neck (except the first version H-15 of '62), both leg styles of H-114, and A-9 in both White and Black Pearl.

I have no record of any of the small H-1 facing right rearing guys nor the Giant H-11 in a Pearl.

Seeing as H-1 v. 1 and H-15/'62 are what I think are the earliest molds, I'd hazard a guess that the Pearls were later colors. 

How about something else we've not seen here, before? What if they made the A-9 Naturals in a color similar to a bay? Don't get excited, no eyes, but it's quite different than the other Naturals!

Photo courtesy Joan Berkwitz.

Derivative molds abound, but the fact that some colourways matched the Lane/Marcia colors is quite charming. One could display a matching set, even with derived later mold versions. This so appealed to the average home decorator of the time. Picturing a living room with one of those old enormous cabinet TVs, topped with an entire set of gold-purple-whites, arranged on huge lace doilies, just tickles me.

This doesn't look right: someone forgot the Gold!
Both H-1 v.2

H-1 v.2 displayed with 1156 (a derived mold), close but not the same gold application.

Another 1156, different green, and still not the same in gold application.

Have you found a mold/color combination not previously recorded on this blog? Email me!

Thank you to Joan Berkwitz, Jayne Kubas, and Heather Jackson-Lain for some of the images in this post!


  1. The natural one does have eyes, he is looking UP.

  2. I wrote you on an old post, so glad you found the folded feet one that is soooo beautiful, I would be glad to take some pictures of the dusty grey horse, I guess you could call him smoke. I saw one on ebay today, but it is very poorly painted, the eyes are not in position, one foot has an over spray on it, it is a nice brown, but the neck is full of ripples where the glaze was running. Mine the smoke one, is really nicely done. It's eyes are not painted in, just the same color as the face. I still have not found your email, mine is

  3. oops I forgot, the bottom says H 15 USA, I thougth it had no markings, but thery are there.

  4. here is the link to the ebay horse for sale now, it is the 17 inch legs out model

  5. Joanie: Interesting, I couldn't see eye deco in the photo, but that's neat!

    Jean: The auction you linked is the ring-necked mold version, one of the home ceramist/hobby molds. The seller says it is Lane, but that is not the Lane/Marcia mold version. I will email you for photos of the other, thank you!

  6. Can anyone out there help me valuate a 24" Marcia horse I just bought?

    1. I can say that certain colors are more popular than others. Also, without the factory backstamp, it can be easy to confuse a hobbyist-glazed horse with a genuine Marcia or Lane. Sadly, the larger pieces seldom fetch more than $125, since shipping of one is about $70 on up, depending on USPS regional rates. The 24" models are USPS oversize before they even enter a box. I have seen sellers on eBay "asking" for more than $125, but those sit unsold for a long time. If it is unbroken, a genuine factory piece, and a good color, without any chips or cracks, you may expect $125. If the glazing is sloppy or the mold detail soft, it is unlikely to bring more than $100.

  7. I have the gold H-1. It was left to me by my great grandmother. I'm interested in the history of these horses. This is the first site I've found with photos like it.

    1. Would you like to share a photo of your gold H-1 horse? Is it solid gold, yellow with gold, black with gold, white with gold...?
      Thank you, I have been researching these horses in this blog for 5 years. The history is a work in progress.

  8. I think I have a diffident one - marked H-15 usa- how can I send pic? It's white with gold leg bends down not out

  9. I have one of these horses . In great condition! It's black and gold.