I have been fawning over antique wooden rocking horses for about 10 years now. I first saw one at Jennifer’s Antiques, the main street antique store back in Conway, Arkansas where we used to live.  Since then I’ve seen a few scattered at antique malls here and there, but mostly for sale online. You know the kind I’m talking about–the ones with beautiful painted detail, real horse hair, great patina . . .

Some were built on wooden gliders, like this gorgeous horse from the 1800’s,

via Etsy

via Etsy

Others were built on bows, like this one also from the 1800’s,

rocking_horse_L

via Nancy Fishnelson Designs

or this stunning horse from 1860’s England.

via Legends Rocking Horses

The problem with about all of these beautiful horses I’ve seen is that they cost a small fortune!  Of the three pictures above, the least expensive is the first horse from Etsy, coming in at a cool $865.  The other two start reaching up into the thousands of dollars, which is definitely out of my budget.  I just can’t feel ok about buying a decorative item that costs more than my husband’s car.

About this time last year, I did see a horse for sale at my mall.  I happened to run into the dealer who was selling it one day, and she promised me a great deal on it, around $85.  It was close to my birthday, so I hinted pretty hard to my husband about how I would love to have that horse at the mall and how it was a really great deal . . . but the hinting didn’t take, and the horse sold to someone else.

So once again my birthday is approaching, and I decided to take matters into my own hands this year.  I saw one at Hobby Lobby a week or so ago that was tempting, on clearance for only $50.

I just couldn’t go for the reproduction though, even at that price.  I really have my heart set on an original.

I kept looking, and a few days later I found a horse for sale on Ebay that had a starting bid of only $19.99!  It wasn’t as impressive as the real horses above, but it still qualified as an antique rocking horse, and more importantly, it was in my price range!

rocking horse

via Ebay

It was, as Mike and Frank say, “farm fresh.”  It was missing an ear and it’s tail, and had cracks on it’s legs and platform.  Not to mention the years of dirt and dust it had accumulated sitting in someone’s attic! But I happened to like it’s rusty-crustiness, and it was the perfect size to sit on top of my piano.

I stalked it for a few days, and as the ending time approached, set up camp in my bed with my laptop.  You know the trick of Ebay, to wait until the last few minutes to actually place your bid?  Well, with one minute left, the winning bid was at $35 and I began typing in my bids.  I thought a minute would give me plenty of time to get past the winner’s automatic bid and still get a deal,  but I forgot about the “Bid Confirmation” screen that pops up after you submit your bid.  Darn, precious seconds lost! First, $38, outbid.  Then, $40, outbid.  10 seconds left, I was typing in $45 and trying to get through those two screens in time . . . but the clock was against me.  By the time I got my $45 bid in, the auction was over, and it sold for $42.

It was devastating. I felt like I had just lost the grand prize round of Wheel of Fortune.  I was so close . . . but not close enough.  Ughh. There is a good chance I won’t ever find another authentic antique horse in that price range again.

So for now, the top of my piano sits empty, as memorial to The Horse that Was Lost.   Please feel bad for me 🙁

Does anybody else have a sad Ebay story to share?  I don’t want to hear the successful stories, the pain is still too raw.

Melanie

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