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Breyer Misty of Chincoteague

Misty was a real pony made famous in Marguerite Henry's beloved fictional children's book, "Misty of Chincoteague". Breyer introduced the Misty model in 1972, the year the real Misty of Chincoteague died. She has been produced continuously since then (almost 50 years!) and has endured more revisions than any other model Breyer has produced. Misty's most famous foal, Stormy, was released as a Breyer model in 1977 and has also undergone some interesting variation.

4-eyed Misty (glossy)

Produced only in the first part of 1972, the aptly-named 4-eyed Misty has a white spot over her left eye in addition to the tan spot over her right eye. The earlier versions of Misty are easy to spot: look for the scalloped edges of the pinto pattern and the dark grey hooves. Legend has it that Marguerite Henry thought this pinto pattern was not accurate enough to the real Misty, so the white eye spot was removed after 1972. There is also a matte variation of this particular version, but it is much harder to find than the glossy. I'm still on the lookout for her!

Marney Walerius Culled

4-eyed Misty (glossy)

Marney Walerius was widely regarded as the "godmother" of model horse collecting. She worked in quality control at the original Breyer factory in Chicago and brought home many test runs and culls. After she passed away in 1992, her massive collection was dispersed and much of it purchased by serious collectors. I bought this experimental Misty from a long-time collector who allegedly bought her from Marney's estate sale and believes that Marney saved Misty from the regrind bin. She has lots of scuffs and paint under her gloss and some odd, experimental drill holes where her tail blows over her hind leg. She is evenly yellowed, so I suspect she left the factory this way.

3-eyed Misty (matte)

The 3-eyed Misty, also called the monocle Misty, was Breyer's first attempt to correct Misty's pinto markings by removing the fictitious white eye spot. However, Henry still wasn't satisfied with the revision, so this pattern was only used for the latter part of 1972 and 1973. 

3-eyed Misty (glossy)

The glossy variation of the 3-eyed Misty is much harder to find than the matte. It took me awhile to find this one.

Misty Gift Set with Carrying Case

This gift set containing Misty, a seafoam green cardboard carrying case, and a paperback copy of Henry's book was produced until approximately 1981.

Notice that Misty's pinto pattern has changed again; it still differs greatly from the real Misty, but is very nearly the same pattern Breyer still uses today. Of course, it's impossible to tell if a model being sold with the gift box is the model that came with the box, but in my experience, the models that came in these gift sets tend to have obvious nose pinking and dark overspray on the legs (Breyer used to use steel stencils for pinto markings instead of the newer, crisper masking method). Also notice the shell-colored hooves, which are more accurate for a pinto with white legs.

My model has a small freckle in the white blanket on her right shoulder (likely a paint drip or overspray) as well as a slightly larger tan eye spot.  

The box features a history blurb on one side and a short essay by Henry on the other.

Flockie Misty & Stormy

This special edition flocked set was only available in the 1984 Sears Wishbook holiday catalog. They are made of plastic and created from genuine Breyer models, but the manes and tails have been removed and replaced with a sort of long faux-fur. Their bodies are "flocked" in patterns similar to the painted models, meaning a soft powder is glued onto the bodies. Their jet black eyes and hooves and bright red nostrils are a little unnerving to many collectors. They are quite delicate and their value varies greatly based on their condition. My set includes the original box and they were not removed until I bought them in 2018.

Cold-Cast Porcelain Misty

This Misty was limited to only 1500 pieces and available exclusively from the 1992 JC Penney holiday catalog. Instead of plastic, she is molded in "cold-cast porcelain" which is quite heavy and not actually porcelain at all. Mine is hand-numbered #102/1500 and has her original Certificate of Authenticity (signed by Peter Stone, son of Breyer founder Sam Stone), padded Breyer box, and shipping box from JCP. A run of 1500 is not particularly limited, but these models are difficult to find due to their delicate nature, purported manufacturing problems, and the fact that they were marketed for children in the catalog.

Hagen-Renaker "Performing Misty"

Hagen-Renaker is a well-known pottery company known for their animal figurines. This Misty figurine was designed by Maureen Love, sculpted by M.L. Calvert, and distributed by Breyer in 1993. Misty is performing a trick she loved, standing on a stool to shake hands. The first releases came with the stool attached to Misty's foot, but due to breakage, Breyer started packing them in separate pieces. My Performing Misty came with her original box and the original instructions for gluing her hoof to the stool. This figurine can be difficult to find and/or relatively expensive (for one without breaks). She is often photographed incorrectly posed, with her raised hoof resting on the stool. 

Autographed Misty

This Misty has met some special people in her lifetime. She is signed by Marguerite Henry (author of "Misty of Chincoteague"), Maureen Beebe Hursh (granddaughter of the owners of the Beebe Ranch where the real Misty was foaled, and main character in Henry's novel), and Peter Stone (son of Breyer founder). I bought her on eBay from a lady in Virginia who said her daughter's 4H leader had a pony descended from Misty, and had therefore met Henry and Beebe. It's likely that Stone signed Misty during one of his tours with Breyer. She can be dated to the 1980s or 1990s since Henry passed away in 1997.

My "Carpet Herd" Misty 

This is my childhood Misty & Stormy from the early 2000s. She & Stormy used to play in my Breyer barn, but they're in nearly perfect condition. Notice how Misty's white markings have more of a gentle, rounded shape compared to the above version, especially on the right side. 

Belly Stamp Misty

Some Breyer dealers hosted events in the early 1990s that offered stamping a Breyer logo on models' bellies in ink. There were several different styles of stamp and the ink can be rubbed off rather easily (or so I'm told). I have not come across another stamped model in the wild, but there are surely many out there.

"Eyeshadow" Misty

These two Misty models have what Identify Your Breyer calls the "eyeshadow variation": her tan eye spot is pointy and elongated rather than round, and touches the tan spot on her neck instead of being separated by white. They also both have almost zero nose pinking, making them look a little less realistic. 

The Misty mold has had a USA mold stamp inside the left leg since 1972. The boxed model has the USA mold stamp like the out-of-box one, but the bottom of the box is labeled "Made in China", leading me to believe that this model was made around 2005-2006 when manufacturing moved over to Asia. It is because of this anomaly that I haven't freed her from her box. 

Post-2006 Misty

Mistys produced after about 2006 do not have the USA mold stamp, meaning they were molded in China. The boxed Misty includes an information card. Note the variation in color. Beginning in 2009, Breyer began adding VIN numbers to their models to comply with the US government's Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Due to lack of VIN numbers on these models' hooves, these were likely produced before 2009.

Breyerfest Misty & Stormy

This Misty and Stormy set was reportedly purchased at Breyerfest 2014. They were sold to me from the original buyer with their original Breyerfest plastic wrap. Note the VIN numbers on their hooves as well as the modern shading and crisp, almost angular masked markings.

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