Is My Beswick Shire Horse Valuable?

Beswick horses are always highly sought after at our auctions, but most especially their range of shire horse figures

Since the beginning of Potteries Auctions, we have always dealt with Beswick. In the 90s, no other auction house sold Beswick in the manner we did. Selling Beswick quickly became a cornerstone of the business and helped us develop into what we have become today.

Beswick specialised in animal and wildlife based art within ceramics. In their prime, their figures were second to none as the company employed the best. The sheer quality combined with the accessibility of models of animals and wildlife created a wide market which is still going strong today. One of the most desirable lines of Beswick models is that of their ‘818 shire horse’ line, the ‘818’ referring to the model number.

The main thing that determines the rarity and value of a 818 shire horse is the colour of the model, among other details which can identify when the model was made. For example, in the earlier stages of manufacturing, six holes were punctured into the feet and underside of the model to ensure ventilation of hot air during the firing process, as when hot air is trapped inside wet pottery the model will burst. As years went on, the manufacturing process was refined and the holes were no longer visible on the model. This is a great way to identify the earlier pieces Beswick produced, as the holes show a naivety to the company’s early process.

Two of the most common and least valuable models from the line of 818 shire horses are the ones in colours referred to by collectors and simply just ‘brown’ or ‘grey'. We can see from these two pieces that the paint job is much simpler and minimal, sticking to set colours and not utilising other deeper shades of colour or patterns like the rarer and more desirable models do. Most recently, a grey model sold with us for £45, and a brown model sold for £38.

The Beswick grey shire horse design brown shire horse design

The Beswick grey shire horse design brown shire horse design

The next step up from the simple grey and brown designs is that of the rocking horse grey model. Compared to the normal ‘grey’ shade, the rocking horse grey model has much more distinct pattern and much darker shades of grey which can be easily distinguished from that of the normal ‘grey’ model. This model has sold in the past with us for £576.

The Beswick rocking horse grey model

The Beswick rocking horse grey model

From this point onwards, we see a much greater shift in value, since the pieces start to become much rarer. The chestnut shire horse can easily be identified by its vibrant yet simple shade of brown, whilst white in its features - not to be confused with the less valuable standard ‘brown’ model. The chestnut brown model has sold with us in the past for £348. Similar in value, the next step up would be the piebald model, in reference to the black white blotches which feature throughout the model. This model has sold with us in the past for £2280.

A Beswick chestnut shire horse and Beswick skewbald shire horse figure

A Beswick chestnut shire horse and Beswick skewbald shire horse figure

Similar in design to the piebald shire horse, the skewbald model features the same blotched look, but with a black base amongst chestnut and white patches featured throughout. Earlier this year, we sold one of these models for £5280!

The Beswick skewbald shire horse

The Beswick skewbald shire horse

At one of our previous auctions, a one-off piece known in a colour labelled as ‘Strawberry Roan’ sold for a total of £8250. This colour deems this model incredibly rare, as the process to produce this colour is very difficult and was only produced in the early stages of the company. This is the only one of its kind we have ever seen come to light, so who knows what other shire horse models may be lurking out there!

The one-off Beswick strawberry roan shire horse

The one-off Beswick strawberry roan shire horse

Selling Your Beswick Shire Horse at Auction

If you have a Beswick shire horse for auction, get in touch and we can help you with a valuation. Talk to our team of experts who will be able to give you an accurate auction estimate of your Beswick horse. You can join us at one of our valuation days every Tuesday, email us for an appointment on [email protected] or call us on +44 (0)1782 638100 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

If you can't come in and see us in person but would like to submit items for auction or valuation, send us an email to [email protected] with details and a photograph (eg make, model, model number, measurements, condition) and one of our experts will provide information and auction estimates. Alternatively, give us a call on 01782 638100 to arrange an appointment.

Go back