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Article: Trail of Painted Ponies Value

Trail of Painted Ponies Value

Trail of Painted Ponies Value

Trail of Painted Ponies, Origin and Value

How a life sized art installation in southwest America turned into a worldwide collectible phenomenon. Learn how to assess the value of Trail of Painted Ponies Figurines & Ornaments. Plus, a buyer's guide for highest value Painted Ponies.


Since their inception, The Trail of Painted Ponies have captured the hearts of horse lovers in America and beyond.  Personally, I have been a collector of these high-quality Collectible Horse Figurines for many years; professionally, we have sold them since they first made their way into the marketplace a couple decades ago.  How did this fad get started?  Do Painted Pony Figurines increase in value over time?  What do the numbers on the bottom of the statues mean?  In this blog, you’ll learn how a small group of artists turned an idea into one of the most creative and successful public art projects ever unleashed.  We’ll also help you understand values, what those numbers mean, and so much more.  Join us as we mosey along down the long and winding Trail of Painted Ponies…

History of the Trail of Painted Ponies

The Trail of Painted Ponies story began over twenty years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a public art project that was hugely successful. Artists were given life-size horse sculptures and were told to let their imaginations run free! The finished works of art were then exhibited throughout the State as a means of raising awareness and funds for non-profit organizations, something that continues to this day.  To date, The Trail of Painted Ponies has raised over $1 million for many worthy non-profit organizations and anyone who has purchased a Painted Pony over the past 15 years has contributed to this cause!

The Collectible Trail of Painted Ponies we know today began shortly after the first Artist’s Exhibition, and the earliest Figurines were based on the life-sized sculptures created.  Over the years, many artists have contributed to the plethora of Ponies that have stampeded into the marketplace making them among the most cherished collectibles around the globe. 

 Each year new designs are released and design submission is open to the public. While the company relies on their many established artists to create new designs, many of these public design submissions are turned into new Painted Pony figurines. In 2019, we even tried our hand at Painted Pony design and submitted Island Breezes Blow.  Sadly, although we got great feedback, our design wasn’t chosen to become an official Trail of Painted Ponies figurine.  She does, however, stand proudly in the middle of my own personal collection of Ponies.

What do the Numbers on the bottom mean?

On the bottom of each figurine is a number that looks like this:  1E/1,003.  The first number is the edition number of the design run.  The second number denotes the figurine number in that particular run.  First editions (1E) are generally the most desirable and the lower the run number, the better.  Individual Figurine numbers up to 15 are considered to be Blue Ribbon Editions and hold the highest values. Some editions are released in a very large run (10,000), while many designs are released with a limited run (1,000 – 2,000).  Obviously, the smaller the run, the more valuable these Ponies become over time.  

 Some Figurines continue to be produced year after year; Storm Rider is a very popular example of this. Originally released in 2011 this particular pony is up to its 4th edition run and still selling strong.  When there is high demand for a particular design, the company decides whether or not to  continue to make them and will issue new editions for as long as interest remains high.

 Medicine Horse is another example of a Pony that went on for many years and is still sought after today.  Originally released in the summer of 2004, this Pony hit 11 Editions before finally retiring in February of 2011.  It goes without saying that anyone harboring a 1st edition, low run number on this one is sitting on a pretty valuable Pony!

 Crossing Rainbow Bridge is another Pony that will probably go on for a long while.  Originally released in 2018, it has become a very popular gift for grieving horse owners.  Still on its 1st Edition run, this is a design that we continue to stock so it's always available when the moment arises. 

Trail of Painted Ponies Value

 Once a design is retired, no more Ponies of that design will be created and they, with time, can become quite valuable.  One of the highest valued Ponies we have ever sold was Twilight Fairy Pony.  Released in 2009, it had one run of 7,500 and became highly sought after.  We only had one copy of this Collectible Horse Figurine and, after hanging onto it for several years, eventually sold it for $300.

 Retired in 2012, Wounded Knee is another figurine that continues to increase in value as time goes by.  We have sold several copies of this one over the years and, while the initial retail price was only $35, we have sold this one for as much as $200 (a signed 1st edition).  Again, it all depends on popularity, condition of the Figurine and box (and I can’t stress this enough:  save those boxes!), and those very important low edition numbers.

Holidays, Ornaments and the Perfect Gift   

The holiday season continues to be our busiest time of year and the Ponies sometimes gallop right on out of here as soon as they arrive.  About a decade ago the company introduced ornaments, little tiny replicas of their most popular designs.  These have proven to be a big hit and very collectible, with some of the very first ornament releases being offered up for sale in recent years for as much as $200!  We usually have a good assortment to choose from, both retired and new releases, and in 2023 we even offered up a free ornament with every figurine purchase made!  This promotion proved to be very successful and, who knows, we may give it a go again at some point in the future.

Official Trail of Painted Ponies Retailer

Whether you are a casual collector of The Trail of Painted Ponies or an avid aficionado, these figurines continue to occupy special spaces in the hearts and curio cabinets of horse lovers everywhere.  Whether they be Native American-themed, winged, rearing, or of whimsical or seasonal design, The Trail of Painted Ponies Figurines and ornaments continue to be bought and sold by collectors around the globe and across many platforms.  Our website is loaded with many current and long-since retired Ponies and ornaments to add to your collection.  Because we have been an official Trail of Painted Ponies retailer for many years, we do have a large selection available for purchase.  Each pony that comes through our doors is inspected for damages (can’t tell you how many we’ve received over the years that, upon initial inspection, are found to have missing ears, loose bases, or marred paint) and edition numbers are recorded.  Unlike other platforms like Ebay, Amazon and Etsy, you can be assured that the Pony you order from us will be new and unbroken, in its original box with all story cards and tags, and you will know what edition number to expect at the time you place your order.

Buyer’s Guide for Maximum Value

The first step toward purchasing Trail of Painted Ponies figurines with the highest potential value is finding a reputable and trustworthy seller. You want to make sure you are getting what you paid for and the advertised condition of the figurine is reliable. 

1st editions, low numbered and retired Ponies tend to be the collectibles that can fetch the greatest value. Also, Figurines with special features like an artist signature typically carry a greater value as well.

Make sure to confirm the condition. Obviously, the condition of the figurine or ornament itself is directly tied to its value but the condition and completeness of the packaging is also important. The condition of the box and packaging as well as the presence of the Ponies unique story card and tags have a large impact upon resale value. 

Lastly, popularity and availability. In the collectibles universe, just like in basic economics, it is all about supply and demand; the more popular something is and the less readily available the thing is the more valuable it is. For Trail of Painted Ponies, sometimes particular designs haven’t been retired yet but they are also not available for new orders, these ponies are likely to be high value in the future as demand is still high but the supply is small and getting smaller. 

Hope you found this article helpful!

Happy Trails to horse lovers and The Trail of Painted Pony collectors everywhere!

Shop our Huge Selection of Trail of Painted Ponies, Figurines and Ornaments, Here.

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