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March of the Toy Soldiers

From ancient Egypt to the present, collectors have gathered their own miniature armies
Judd Tully
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Costner, Nov/Dec 00

(continued from page 2)

On a recent surfing mission on eBay, there were listings for more than 350 toy soldier lots, a veritable potpourri of examples from Heyde, Mignot and Britains, as well as another 700 listings for Britains figures alone.   But as Agnew points out, "Unfortunately, you have to be careful, because there are fakes around, especially with hollow-cast lead figures that are hand-painted. It's relatively easy to strip them down and start again. They're also very easy to copy."  

Like a number of cautious experts in other collectible areas, Agnew is extremely wary of judging toy soldiers from photographs alone. "People need to handle toy soldiers and closely examine them," he says, including using an ultraviolet light to see if the paint has been tampered with, "and compare them with other figures. It's a good way to get a feel for the subject."  

That's also where the fun begins.

The Rolak collection will be auctioned at Christie's South Kensington, 85 Old Brompton Road, London, 44/20-7581-7611. Preview: November 29, 11 a.m.­5 p.m., November 30, 9 a.m.­5 p.m., and December 1, 9 a.m.­noon; sale: December 1, 2 p.m. The Toy Soldiers Fair will be held at the Royal National Hotel, London, December 2, 10 a.m.­4 p.m.; early entry at 7 a.m. On the other side of the Atlantic, the 18th annual East Coast Toy Soldier Show & Sale will be held on Sunday, November 5, from 9 a.m.­3 p.m. at the Rothman Center, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hackensack, New Jersey.

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