Royal Doulton model horses are coveted fine china and porcelain figurines. These were once called Beswick figurines. Royal Doulton is now owed by Waterford Wedgewood Royal Doulton or WWRD. Horse lovers have long admired their model horses. Royal Doulton model horses are not only collected, sold and traded but compete in model horse photo shows and model horse live shows. But in order to compete, sell or trade, a collector needs to know the model numbers of the horses he or she has in stock.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Internet connection
- Beswick or Royal Doulton figurine(s)
Go online and go directly to the Model Horse Gallery website. Scroll down the home page and click on the boldface letter B. This takes you to a list of manufacturers. Click on Beswick/Royal Doulton. This takes you to a brief overview of the company and a menu of horse breeds. If you know nothing about horse breeds, just click through them all. This is one of the most comprehensive catalogues of Royal Doulton model horses on the web. Otherwise, you would have to go to Amazon.com and buy a rare, used copy of Marilyn Sweet's "Collecting Beswick: A Guide to Horses, Ponies and Foals" (1992), the only known book devoted to Beswick/Royal Doulton model horses. It averages £130 (US). If you still cannot identify your horse's model number, go to Step 2.
Go to eBay. Go to the Model Horse category and search for Royal Doulton horse or RD horse. See if there is a match to your figurines. Alternately, try ModelXChange, an online website just for model horses. However, ModelXChange has much fewer auctions than eBay.
Take clear pictures of your mysterious Royal Doulton horses. These photos can be used to send to other Royal Doulton collectors. Keep the model at least three feet away and use a telephoto lens in order to get a detailed shot. Photograph the Royal Doulton against a plain background so nothing distracts the eye from the horse. Photograph the model from different angles and sides.
Join a model horse community such as Haynet and ask if any Bewick/Royal Doulton collector can identify your models. Send the photos directly to the collector, or if the model horse website allows, post the photos on the site. If the collector does not know, they should be able to point you to a collector that does. It is a small, tight-knit community.
Tips and warnings
- You can contact Royal Doulton about a model horse number, but since Royal Doulton has rarely made model horses since 1995, the company may not be able to help.
- From 1995 to 2008, the Beswick brand was resurrected on model horses by John Sinclair of Sheffield, but these should be stamped "Beswick" and not "RD."
- Check any unidentified Royal Doulton model horses closely. Be sure it has an RD or Beswick logo. Some Royal Doulton figurines were repainted by their owners in order to be more competitive in model horse shows. If the colour is wrong but the shape or mould matches, then you may have a repainted Beswick/Royal Doulton figurine.
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