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Trying to ID a Santa/sleigh/reindeer set


thelope.com
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Hello all, it's a pleasure to have found this group.

I'm trying to identify the manufacturer of an old and somewhat deteriorated reindeer/Santa/sleigh set I bought at a local antique store. Here they are in the yard of the store right before I bought them.

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The reindeer and Santa are mostly white due to paint loss.

The owner kept them outside much of the time for the last few years and was only agreeable to selling them this past year, when I purchased them. They looked almost this white when the dealer obtained them from another dealer. I have not been able to trace them farther back.

The reindeer is over five feet long and is the most graceful pose I've seen. Here he is in my attic with an unrelated Santa stored behind him.

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He and the Santa are made of what feels like thin plaster but is probably old, hardened vinyl or latex, filled with foam. The surfaces of them are cracked and bear layers of lead paint which is chipping off. The ends of the antlers are gone.

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The head is detachable and can be rotated.

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A quick look through ye ole Internet led me to this thread on Mold-craft reindeer at this site, which shows two poses of the reindeer. So, at first I thought my reindeer was a third pose (one leg on mine points forward) made by Mold-Craft. Though the leg positioning is different, there's a great stylistic resemblance.

However, a page on icollector.com mentions markings, which I have not found on mine.

And my Santa does not look much like that Mold-Craft Santa bust pictured at Blow Molds R Us, though he also exists only from the waist up.

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Then I found this page of the website of Marshal Moody, a seasonal decor company. These are listed on another page as fiberglass outdoor decor, but the sleigh, at least, is not. Perhaps the Santa and reindeer also are not. I have emailed Marshal Moody with some questions but have received no answer as of yet.

My wood sleigh is a dead ringer for theirs. No paint is chipping from it, which makes me wonder if it is as old as the other pieces.

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I rather doubt that Marshal Moody made their own sculpts, but I suppose it's possible. I don't think the company is old enough to have produced something with lead paint.

So I guess the question is: who would have made this set, long enough ago that lead paint was used? I still think it looks like Mold-Craft, but I have not seen any pictures of this exact reindeer pose credited to that company.

Edited by thelope.com
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Wow! That is one heck of a find! Nothing there that a little restoration work can't bring fully back to life. How lucky are you!!

I'm certainly not the expert, but when comparing your picture of the deer to this picture of the large deer, I think they do look the similar. But the antlers are different. The mold-craft set sweeps forward, yours appears to sweep back. And the leg position is slightly different.. either way, oh boy, I'm just drooling here!

LifeSizeSet.jpg

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Edited by Carrie Sansing
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They look very similar to what that the now defunct Zayre Dept. stores used to carry during Christmas season in my area.

The Santa and Deer, I don't believe that particular sleigh in your photo was ever part of them, but they did come with a smaller sleigh that what you have pictured. And seem to recall the box stated Yard or Rooftop use. And as far as I know, none of it was lit unless you attached/wrapped your own C7/C9 Christmas Lights around it or use a spot light.

This would have been back around the 1978-1981 time frame.

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They look very similar to what that the now defunct Zayre Dept. stores used to carry during Christmas season in my area.

The Santa and Deer, I don't believe that particular sleigh in your photo was ever part of them, but they did come with a smaller sleigh that what you have pictured. And seem to recall the box stated Yard or Rooftop use. And as far as I know, none of it was lit unless you attached/wrapped your own C7/C9 Christmas Lights around it or use a spot light.

This would have been back around the 1978-1981 time frame.

These deer, Santa and sleigh are much older than 1978..sigh..

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I wonder if the foam is original, or if it was added later on as it got older to give it strength?

Mind if I ask what you paid for it?

Someone who has worked with home insulation products for a few decades might be able to give us an answer on the age of the yellow foam. The stuff is really doing its job well; even the thin legs feel really solid.

A couple decades ago I experimented with filling vinyl inflatables with foam so they could be used in outdoor displays without the over-inflation and drooping caused by ambient temperature variations. This would also have allowed me to drill into them for more versatile mounting. I eventually abandoned the effort because I could never get the foam to cure correctly inside the inflatables.

I'm a bit new to Internet groups of this type, but I guess I don't see any harm in revealing the price. I paid about $135 - much more than common sense would dictate one should shell out for deteriorated seasonal ornamentation, but the grace of the reindeer had really enchanted me.

I'd been asking about buying it (it was a store, after all) for several years, so I was happy to write the check. I think the owner thought the set's condition was getting bad enough that she needed to let it move on, but really wasn't eager for that to happen so she set the price rather high (she started at $150). Funny thing - her associate asked me if I planned to repaint it, hoping that I wouldn't.

I'll look again for markings on it when I have the time. As I look at photos of him, I wonder why the paint on Santa's face fared so much better than the rest of him. Also, it occurs to me the reindeer could be motorized to turn its head...hmm.

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Be careful when working with that foam. If it's in the 30 year old range, it's going to be full of formaldehyde and asbestos.

$135 really isn't all that bad, considering it's uniqueness. $135 is cheap if it's going to give you as much pleasure as it sounds like it's going to.

The way I look at purchases like this...If the bills are paid, the tummies are full, and the savings account is plentiful, anything left over is fair game :)

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  • 3 years later...

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