Large Champ, Black - Split Mane version w/ White Tack On Palomino Plastic!
Here is a rare horse, indeed! This is one of Hartland's earliest models, the large Champ, which inspired Breyer to create their Western Horse. The large Champ underwent changes over time, but this is the original with the mane on the right. This is called the "split mane" version, as there's a split or part in his mane about halfway up his shoulder that allows the breast collar to show through it. Early versions of the mold included a hole in the horse's back and corresponding peg under the saddle to help hold it on, as they are cinchless saddles. He is made of the original Tenite, the same material Breyers are made from. Made only at some point between 1947 - 1954, the black Champ was sold with red, brown, or white tack and no rider. The white tack appears to be the hardest to find these days, though all are very scarce. They were also offered both with the usual ball-style chain reins or plastic lace reins, and the latter is harder to find because they often broke or were untied and lost.
As you can see, this guy is the rarest of the rare: He has the hole in his back and his saddle has a matching peg. He wears white tack and white lace reins. As if that wasn't enough, per Gail Fitch in her book Hartland Horsemen, pg141, states: "One matte black with white bling was molded in tan plastic." This one also was molded in tan plastic or repainted at the factory from a palomino. You can see just a tiny stripe under his jaw that they missed (see closeup) - The only indication, as they even painted the bottoms of his feet.
He's rated Near Mint with just one tiny rub/white mark on his right girthline and a couple pinpoint ones elsewhere. That said, his paint job isn't perfect - There are some dull spots (mainly where the saddle rubs) and it's put on thick with a hint of a drip here or there (not really a drip, just a thicker area of paint, nearly invisible). His paint is high satin or semi-gloss. His saddle carries a Diamond I mark - Horse has no mold marks. What a magnificent piece from the very beginning of our hobby!
Size: 800 Series
Hartland Model #unknown/none assigned