In the early 1980s, those who love Hagen-Renakers got a thrill as a number of old molds were brought back by the San Marcos factory. Among them were the three Mustangs, “Don Cortez ,” “King Cortez” and “Sun Cortez.”
I can no longer remember exactly who I bought my black “Don Cortez” from, but he was most likely purchased from Denise Nelson (Dee Whitley of Dee’s Midnight Inspirations) or Karen Livingston, two California hobbyists who were also H-R dealers. They’d show up at live shows with the new Hagens to sell! I was an avid customer!
I’ve also owned the San Marcos black “Sun Cortez” as well as the San Marcos white “Sun Cortez” and “King Cortez.” And I found a Monrovia palomino “Don Cortez” in an antique shop once. But none of these stuck around.
My “Don Cortez” has stayed the course, I’ve never been tempted to sell him. I think it’s the striking pose coupled with the solid black color that gives him such dramatic appeal. Oddly, I’ve not owned many black model horses and only have two others in my current collection (Beswick Fell and Dales ponies), but this one I love!
He was one of those models that was named instantly. I called him Blackavar. Fiction readers may remember this was one of the rabbits in the book, Watership Down, a 1972 novel by Richard Adams. I show him as a Moroccan Barb stallion and he’s always done well for me.
At one point, I had the urge to photograph him against a lurid purple background. It didn’t work quite the way I hoped! But then I took that head shot photo, selected his head, grayed the purple background out, then added a more moderate purple gradient back in for a fun art shot.
According to the Charlton Standard Catalog of Hagen-Renaker (2nd edition), the San Marcos “Don Cortez” was made between Spring 1982 and Fall 1984. He was available in both matte black and glossy black and also chestnut, white and gray in both finishes. He stands approximately 6.5″ high.