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How To Identify Britains Toy Soldiers

Today I thought I'd share a few tips on how to Identify Vintage Britains Toy Soldiers. The W. Britain company started making these hollowcast lead soldiers in the 1890's and there have been a number of variations over the years. Originally, these lead toy soldiers were intended for children to play with but today such lead toy are known to be toxic and are collected by nostalgic adults. In this article, we'll be taking a look at antique and early vintage Britains toy Soldiers made prior to WWII.

Antique Britains Toy Soldiers, those that were made over 100 years ago, most often have a round base without any markings. Sometimes these early toy soldiers will have a paper label with copyright information on the bottom of the base. At some point, Britains gradually changed to using rectangular base and began engraving the copyright information on the base rather than using the paper label.

Pre-WII vintage Britains Toy Soldiers generally exhibited a greater attention to detail on the paint jobs. Workers at the factory tended to take greater pains to insure a quality and detailed paint job and more expensive and colorful paints were used.

A tiny detail was that these early Britains Toy Soldiers had mustaches. Britains stopped painting mustaches on their soliders in 1938. I'll give you one guess as to what, or who, influenced that decision. Another stylistic decision that was probably also influenced by current events in the 1930's was the elimination of jack boots in favor of fully trousered soldiers.

While finding an antique Britains Toy Soldier with the original box is rare these days, they can also offer some clues to the date when the solider was produced. Early boxes were more elaborate and had fancy script printing while newer ones have more generic printing and fonts.

One thing to watch out for when you look at vintage Britains Toy Soldiers is that often you'll find damage to the figure from play and age. Things like helmet spikes, bayonets, lance tips and other little protrusions are often missing from these old toy soldiers. You should also watch out for things like repair and retouching that can affect the value of a antique lead toy solider.

I hope you've found this guide on how to Identify Antique Britains Toy Soldiers helpful.

1 comment:

StevenGoldblatt said...

Looking for any information on old collection of lead toy soldiers, unlike any in posted collections. These are from various early wars, labeled on bottom "Union of S. Africa", and are 35mm scale. Any info would be wonderful, any collectors or group contact even better!
Many thanks!
Steven Goldblatt

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