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Value of 1948 Arrow Development Co Cast Iron Carousel Horse

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I would really like to try to nail down a value on my cast iron carousel horse. You guys have some of these photos before. The prices I have heard for cast iron carousel horses are all over the map and maybe you guys can find something I have missed in trying to determine an accurate value. I'm not selling it, this is one of those "pry it from my cold dead hands" kind of pieces that I would never part with. It comes from a carousel I grew up riding as a child.  I just want to know for my own sake and for an insurance value.

Here's the history.

My horse was made by Arrow Development Company in Mountain View CA in 1948 (The carousel has a date plaque on it) Arrow went on to produce some of the classic rides for Disney such as the Matterhorn, Pirates of the Caribbean and many others. The carousel my horse is from was installed in Happy Hollow children's park when it opened in 1961. Where it was between 1948 and 1961 is uncertain. I suspect it took a while to get the park opened and operational.

In the early 1970's the original horses were removed from the carousel and they were replaced by fiberglass sea animals, which are still there now. That was when I got my horse, when the old horses were put up for sale in the 70's. We paid $130 at the time as I recall.

About a year ago, Happy Hollow was remodeled and the last five horses were put up at auction. The park kept one for a history display. As you can see in the photo below, the condition of the remaining five wasn't as good as my horse, and although they all have Arrow factory paint, the remaining five were not quite as attractive as the ones that sold earlier on. At auction, the five remaining horses sold from $500 to $2000 and there was no significant differences between them. I think the auction price had more to do with availability and suspect that had there only been one horse the numbers would have been different.

Cast iron carousel horses are transition pieces, falling between the collectible and highly valuable carved wooden animals of yesterday and the fiberglass animal castings of today. I've tried contacting carousel collectors clubs, but they regard horses like mine as more or less worthless.

Here are the photos of my horse, note the factory painted Arrow letter "A" on his chest:

Here are the horses recently sold at auction, prior to being dusted off and put on the auction block. Although all the remaining horses are of the same casting as mine, with the raised head, there were at least two different poses, three as I recall. The carousel is a three-abreast ride. You can see them if you look closely at the 60's photo of the carousel.

Here's the horses cleaned up, waiting to be auctioned:

Here is the carousel in the 1960's when the horses were still on it. Nothing fancy, but we kids loved it!

Here is the old Arrow Development Co shop today. It is now an auto body shop, but the guys there still talk about how Walt Disney used to come there to check on projects back when Arrow Development was in the building.

So aside from the auction prices that I have posted above, can anyone find a value on full-sized, original cast iron carousel horses, preferably by Arrow Development in order to get a baseline value? There are a lot of repros that were never on actual carousels, watch for the position of the pole. Repros are usually skewered through the middle and are impossible to ride.

Thanks all!

No luck here on finding an Arrow Development horse price for comparison.  This site has some horses ranging from $895-1450 but they do not look like Arrow's.

The Mexican repros seem to sell for $300-500 so I would think yours would be in the range of $1000-2000 at least.  I think the outside horses are valued more because they were fancier (on wood carousels anyway).  Is your horse an inner, an outer, or in the middle?

There was no difference in the size or decoration on these horses. Mostly just head and neck positions were different. Looking at the old photo from the sixties, it looks like the horses with their heads tucked down were on the exterior in at least one or two rows. I can't recall if every row was like that or if the horses were in mixed positions. I'll see if I can find some more old photos online.

No luck finding old pictures, the ones that come up are of the sea animals or of the smaller horse carousel that was added to the park later. I did find something interesting. The carousel may have been purchased in San Diego CA.

"...In 1959, my husband was named chairman of the project by the Jaycees. My favorite memories are the ride to deliver Danny to the park, a donated mynah bird with language too salty for children to hear, a trip to San Diego to purchase a merry-go-round."

I'm going to follow up and see if I can track down the lady who was quoted in that news article!

The National Carousel Assoc. has some very incorrect data posted.
It credits Allan Hershall (a wooden carousel carver!) with making the carousel, has it listed with two rows instead of three and has it dated to the 1950's when the plaque on it says 1948!

Tales, just been searching and came across an interesting point in two different places....... are you sure your horse is cast iron?

".......Aluminum Carousel Horses, originally earliest late 1940's or later, from the Allen Herschell or Parker Company....these have been copied and reproduced many time over and imported from Mexico...some reproductions had Coca Cola Bases." (seems similar in style to yours)

"In the 1930s the Hershell Spillman Carousel Company began crafting horses for their Merry-Go-Rounds out of aluminum. They had their best carvers carve these detailed two piece wooden molds for use in sand casting the aluminum horses. These molds are extremely rare! This one is for an outside jumper. He measures 46 long x 22 high x 8 thick. Quite an exciting find!"

You likely came across this history already (search - Arrow Dynamics)

Going to see what I can find on this.......a functioning Arrow Carousel at Sea World, Australia  ;)


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