Sunday, May 04, 2014

How Much is a Famous Horse's Shoe Worth? Derby Winner Orb's Raceplate on eBay Today

A horseshoe worn by 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb is being auctioned today on eBay. The auction benefits equine research.

People often what a shoe from a famous horse is worth. The answer isn't easy. Authentication is tough, and fraud could be rampant.

Have there ever been horseshoes on PBS's "Antique Road Show"? History Channel's "Pawn Stars" authenticated a horseshoe as having been on Secretariat's hoof based on the brand. Yet says that Secretariat always wore Victory plates. Most of the "authentic" shoes auctioned off as having been on Secretariat seem to be Thoro'bred plates. Will we ever know?

I've read that when George Collins shod Secretariat, the exercise rider or groom was right there to collect the shoes. And sometimes, even the nail stubs, as is the case with the single Secretariat Belmont Stakes shoe nail stub that sold at auction for $6,100.

Yes, Secretariat was shod, at least that time, with Izumi nails from Japan.

One raceplate attributed to Secretariat shows evidence that it had had a pad riveted to it, although there is nothing in the history books about this. Was that shoe authentic or was it a fake? Why did the champion need a pad on his hoof?

So many shoes were sold and given away as being worn by Seabiscuit that it seems he must have been shod daily.

So have we learned anything about how to tell the real thing from a fake? Today, some horseshoers are watched like eagles as they remove the shoes from champion horses, while others report no one being interested in the shoes at all.

Lim Couch, former president of the American Farrier's Association, made a hit in Great Britain when he presented shoes from one of Elvis's horses to the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association. Couch was the longtime farrier for Elvis's Tennessee Walking horses.

Man o' War's horseshoer Andrew McDermott displayed his shoes for the world to see.

If you're like me, you might have a few hours on a Sunday to check out what's for sale on eBay. If you checked today, you hit the jackpot.

An auction for a shadow box including a shoe worn by 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb ends today. Sale of the shadow box will benefit Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

This is special: The horseshoe is mounted in context, with a rose from the Derby blanket, a lock of the colt's tail har tied in the colors of the jockey's silks, and a photo of Orb winning the 2013 Kentucky Derby.

From the description:

The horseshoe is presented encircling one of the blossoms from the Kentucky Derby winner's blanket of roses. Hair strands cut from Orb's tail are tied with the winning colors of co-owner Stuart Janney's silks. 

Skip Dickstein's photo of the Derby finish is mounted on a raised mat and below the photo is a brass plate with "ORB Kentucky Derby 2013."
Secretariat's nail stub
brought $6,100 at auction

All have been framed by Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky, with a linen fabric mat liner. The glass is protected with Tru Vue Conservation Grade 99% UV protection. The wooden shadow box is stained in dark brown with a lightly distressed look and trimmed in gold. The box measures 2.5 inches deep, 15.5 inches wide and 19 inches high.

The Orb shoe is the first in a series to be offered by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. Similar presentations including shoes worn by 2013 Preakness winner Oxbow and 2013 Belmont winner Palace Malice will be auctioned in coming weeks. 

There's no mention of a certificate of authenticity for this shoe, but since one of Orb's owners is also chairman of The Jockey Club, it seems likely to be the real thing. The plaque does not mention that Orb was shod by Jim Bayes, Jr., and he is probably the one who could say for certain that this is the colt's shoe, presuming that he pulled the shoes and re-shod the horse for his next race.

In this age of smartphone video timestamps and instant uploads to the web, it seems like it should be possible to document celebrity shoes accurately.

To bid on Orb's shoe and shadowbox, please visit this link on eBay before 9 p.m. tonight. Currently, the bid is at $1,250, with eight hours to go.

To learn more: 
Good Luck Reading My Shoe
Horseshoes CSI: Who Shod the Wall Street Bomber's Horse?
Lost Legend Found: Meet Man o' War's Horseshoer

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