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Choosing the Perfect Antique Carousel Horse

The idea of carousel horses has been around since the 1860s. Gustav Dentzel, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, carved the first carousel horses, and many others followed his idea from the 1860s to the Great Depression. The oldest carousel in the United States is the Flying Horses Carousel, found in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, but it was originally placed in New York City.

What are antique carousel animals made of?

Traditionally, carousel horses are hand carved out of wood. This was changed in 1930 when they were discontinued. Antique carousel animals made after 1930 are made out of aluminum and later fiberglass. Some of the types of woods used to carve these horses are:

  • Soft tropical woods
  • Philippine mahogany
Are all antique carousel animals made out of wood?

The simple answer to this question is yes due to the stipulations of 100 years to be an antique. However, many people consider some of the early aluminum and fiberglass carousel horses to be antique because of their historical significance.

What types of carousel horses can be found on eBay?

These carousel horses can come in different forms. Some children can ride on a traditional carousel. Some are more decorative figurines carved to be placed inside homes. In 1995, the carousel horse was also placed on a U.S. stamp. Other than being used for postal, it can be used in frames as decor. There are also old carousel horses that used to be used as a box ride for children that were found outside of shops.

How do you tell a carousel horse is an antique?

Professionals consider a carved carousel horse to be antique if it has some historical significance and is over 100 years old. However, some collectors feel that some items are antiques at 50 years old, so for them, this would include horses that were made from aluminum and fiberglass, since after 1930 all horses were made of aluminum or fiberglass. In general, antique carousel horses are always made out of wood, and the criteria for an carousel horse to be considered an antique are the following:

  • It is made of wood.
  • It may contain small notches and imperfections as they were done by hand carvers.
  • It is unfinished or has chipped paint (if not restored).
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