The Miniatures Thread

Who else collects miniatures?

I find them a rather ideal compromise when it comes to serious collecting. Unless you have a really, really big back yard, bulky items like trains, boats, airplanes and cars are just too darn awkward to store in any significant quantities.

I’ll begin with one of my hardest to find and most treasured miniatures. Most people here are familiar with my love of cooking. Indeed, I do collect small format cookbooks. I have my mother’s Danish girl scout cookbook and many other diminutive volumes.

As someone who loves old stoves and especially cast iron ones, there is a ne plus ultra in this given category. In the old days, a door to door salesman would travel around selling cast iron stoves to settlers. Bringing a baker’s dozen of them with you on horseback was not an option. Not even a heavy dray wagon could carry a good assortment, presupposing the team of Clydesdales you’d need to motivate the whole megillah. It was rather important to demonstrate the actual features of any given model of stove, especially when trying to convince a thrifty housefrau to upgrade from her current coal burner.

The solution was for the salesman to have a small case containing scale model miniatures of the various stoves he had for sale. However often these small models would fall into the hands of ordinary people, just as often their children would be allowed to play with them. The flat irons were usually the first parts to be lost. Other detachable items (cooling shelves and the like) soon followed thereafter. Finding one intact is nearly impossible. Locating the real thing (many cheesy knockoffs have since been made) is even more difficult. A complete cast iron stove miniature can easily fetch between $100.[sup]00[/sup] and $200.[sup]00[/sup].

Imagine my surprise and delight one day whilst strolling through the gigantic Berryessa flea market here in Silicon Valley. Sitting on the ground amidst a jumble of other household items was one of these miniatures. Careful examination revealed it was most likely authentic. This painstaking process consisted of opening the swinging oven door and examining a scrap of newspaper some child had attempted to light during a live use simulation. The newspaper was old, yellowed and of sufficiently archaic type font that I was confident as to the stove’s age and provenance.

The paid price?

All of $20.[sup]00[/sup].

Yes, I wore a mask.

Let’s hear about your tiny treasures. I’ll be back with some more later on.

I hardly know where to begin …

I have collected miniature ceramic animal figurines made by a California pottery called Hagen-Renaker ever since I was a child. Prices vary wildly, from $1 to the record price of $3200. I couldn’t even begin to count how many I own, but the number would be well over a thousand. Almost every weekend, and every vacation, sees me spending at least some time in an antique store or eBay hunting down tiny treasures. I have contributed substantially to three books on the subject and run an informative website about the company. Later I branched out to collecting vintage miniature animals from a number of other, loosely related companies, such as Freeman-McFarlin and Josef Originals. No matter how hard I attempt to contain them, there are minis all over the house. I periodically conduct a round-up and corral them in the rooms designated for them, but it never lasts. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear they breed when I’m not looking.

As if this doesn’t sound obsessive enough, it doesn’t stop there. I’ve also wound up sculpting and producing my own animals, miniature and otherwise, in porcelain.

All of this is what comes of a mother buying little things to keep her daughter occupied while she attends miniature dollhouse shows, where HRs are considered “kid’s stuff” because they aren’t all to scale, and they’re usually an unrealistic glossy finish…

I collect NASCAR diecast. Mostly 1/64 scale with a few bigger ones each month. Definetly easier (and cheaper) than collecting the real thing.

I collect some 1:18 scale cars. Probably the most impressive is the Ertl Precision 100 1964½ Ford Mustang.

Mr. Blue Sky, that is indeed one impressive model! How much did that set you back?


(Whose January 1965 Mustang is moldering in his driveway.)

It retails for $75, but I got it online for $50.00. I also have one in white and blue.

I collect Tuckers (Surprise). I’ve got a Boyd glass one, a 1:43 scale one, and *two 1:18 scale ones (one stays in the box, the other is for me to play with:D). I’ve got others, a couple of Studebakers, Packards, various aircraft, and an AMC Pacer!

I have that 1:18 one, too.

I have 10 assorted VW’s (4 old Bugs, 4 Buses, 1 Karmann Ghia, & 1 New Beetle), Porsche Speedster, Ferrari Testarossa, Ford Forty-Nine concept, Shelby Series 1, Beatnik Bandit, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, 1957 Ford Skyliner, 1950 Chevrolet convertible, Lamborghini Gallardo, and my latest acquisition, The Car (scroll down to the bottom) from the the movie The Car (also just got that movie on DVD).

Oh yeah, a Mercedes Benz 300 Gullwing, 1959 Cadillac Convertible and a BMW 635 CSi (the only BMW I ever liked the looks of).

I also have the other cars in the Ertl Precision 100 collection:

1913 Model T Speedster
1957 Thunderbird
1964 Thunderbolt
1937 Lincoln Zephyr V-12

I collect miniature figurines, quite a few kinds. You can see them here, but MSN seems to want you to sign up for a passport, these days, before they’ll let you in… sigh

I accidently started collecting pink flamingos and minature animals, primarily the Wade freebies in the tea.

My real love is cast iron anything; if I can’t lift it, I want it.


I can’t lift it either!


(Who just today bought another grill bottom 12" cast iron skillet for $2.[sup]50[/sup].)

My favorite is a three foot tall dragon ashtray; I also have a four foot high candle holder

Me, I collect gaming miniatures, the little figures of monsters that you paint in preparation for a night of good geeky roleplaying.


Is that what those are? My mother has at least a couple. She uses them in Christmas displays with six-inch stuffed-felt mouse-character figures made by one of her cousins. She even baked some tiny bread loaves and pies to add color to the tiny pots and pans. I don’t think she has any idea what they are. Should I steal them? How much are they worth?

I should clarify, the tiny bread loaves and pies and other foodstuffs used to give character to the miniature utensils are made out of special modeling clay, and baked into little rocks. Not actual food.

I collect action figures, but most of them are too large to be considered miniatures. I have a bunch of 3 3/4" G.I. Joe figures, superheroes, wrestlers, and movie characters that range from 4" to 9", and Transformers that could be anywhere from 1" to 12".