While Country collectors and decorators emphasize the vehicles and accessories from the horse-drawn vehicle era, there is growing collector interest in steam and gasoline powered equipment.
The decorating community views vehicles and vehicle accessories primarily as accent pieces. They frequently can be found in department store window displays. Favorite forms include sleighs and surreys. Animal-drawn children’s carts are also popular. Since decorators want the vehicles for effect, they are willing to accept defects.
Individuals who collect and restore vehicles for display or use are much more demanding. They want the vehicles in working order with as many original parts as possible. Just as in the automobile field, there is a strong tendency to over restore, i.e., make the vehicle look as though it just left the carriage shop or factory.
The formation of collectors’ clubs contributed significantly to the preservation of farm equipment. These clubs, along with specialized periodicals, allowed a network to be established for the exchange of information and parts. You will find them exhibiting at most farm shows and state agricultural fairs.
References: Bristol Wagon & Carriage Works, Ltd, “Bristol Wagon & Carriage Illustrated Catalog 1900,” Dover, 1994; David Erb and Eldon Brumbaugh, “Full Steam Ahead: J I Case Tractors & Equipment, 1842–1955,” American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 1993; Carol Belanger Grafton (ed), “Horses and Horse–Drawn Vehicles: A Pictorial Archive,” Dover, 1994; Susan Green (comp), “Conservation and Restoration of Horse Drawn Vehicles,” The Carriage Museum, 1997; Susan Green (comp), “Horse Drawn Sleighs,” Astragal Press, 1995; Chuck Wendel, “Encyclopedia of American Farm Implements,” Krause Publications, 1997.
– Harry L. Rinker
“Official Price Guide to Collectibles”