Ramsay's British Diecast 15th Edition: Britains

18 May 2015
imports_CCGB_britainsramsaysweb_12603.jpg Ramsay's British Diecast 15th Edition: Britains
A history of Britains, plus a run down of some of the most valuable items in Ramsay's. ...
Ramsay's British Diecast 15th Edition: Britains Images
The W. Britain brand name of toy and model maker is derived from a company founded by William Britain Jr., a British toy manufacturer, who in 1893 invented the process of hollow casting in lead, and revolutionised the production of toy soldiers. In 1907 the family proprietorship, William Britain & Sons became W. Britains, Ltd.

The company is famous for its vast and formidable range of model soldiers and other military models, with the majority of them in 1/32 scale. However, it also produced a comprehensive range of civilian items in the similar scale, it is these that are listed in this guide along side the numerous military vehicles.

The company continued to grow and evolve as its models gained in popularity; by 1931 the firm employed 450 at its London factory. The catalogue had expanded to 435 sets and twenty million models a year were being produced, with production only slowing/stopping during the First and Second World Wars. Little changed with the style of the figures. By 1966 safety regulations in the United Kingdom combined with rising costs halted the production of lead models. At that time, the range of catalogued lead sets exceeded 2,200.

In 1973 Britains introduced New Metal models, which are diecast in a durable alloy. Initially these sets were aimed at the British souvenir market. In 1983 Britains responded to a growing collectors' market by introducing additional models and limited edition sets. This range was greatly expanded over the next 20 years and included diecast versions of its old toy soldiers, some made from original moulds.

The Britain family controlled the firm until 1984 when it was sold to a British conglomerate, Dobson Park Industries. It combined the operations with an existing line of toys and renamed the company Britains Petite, Ltd. Ertl Company of Iowa, a maker of diecast toys, bought Britains Petite, Ltd. in 1997, then Ertl was subsequently bought by Racing Champions, another American diecast model maker. At this time production of the models was moved to China. In 2005, the W. Britains brand was acquired by First Gear, an American maker of diecast collectables. This firm produces and sells mostly contemporary matte-style figures to the collectors' market under the W. Britain brand.

Here's are run down of some of the most valuable Britains items listed in Ramsay's:

Automatic Foot Race

Two nine-inch high male figures dressed in silk, suspended by wire arms from a central ornamental tower, housing a clockwork motor. Guide price £9,000 to £10,000.

Rotary Bicycle

With the figure of a girl on a bicycle connected by wire to a central clockwork mechanism. Guide price £10,000 to £12,000.

Edwardian Family

Father seated reading, mother seated with baby on knee, son and daughter standing. Guide price £7,000 to £8,000.

The General

Soldier on hobbyhorse with 'umbrella', which when spun makes his sword arm move. Guide price £4,000 to £5,000.

Mammoth Circus Range Display Box

13-inches deep by 14-inches wide with circus ring, ring master, clowns men on stilts, cowboy with lasso, elephant, Liberty Horses with equestrians, 14 pieces designed to stand in the box. Guide price £4,000 to £6,000.

The Great Test Match

A board game of cricket with the players produced by Britains using the castings of the railway driver and fireman. Guide price £3,000 to £4,000.

Buck Rogers Set (1935)

Issued for the American company John Dille & Co. Ltd., including Buck Rogers, Killer Kane, Ardalla, Robot (Mekkeno Man), Wilma and Dr Huer. Guide price £3,000 to £4,000.

No. 435 US Monoplane

Including hangar box, camouflaged finish, USAAC marking (white star on red roundel), squared wing tips, single blade propeller with pilot. Guide price £8,000 to £10,000.

No. 1520 Short Monoplane Flying Boat (1937)

Blue fuselage, silver wings and tailplane, RAF roundels, twin engines, forward and mid open gun turrets with guns, 14-inch wingspan. Sold for £8,500 to £10,000.

You can order your copy of Ramsay's British Diecast Model Toys Catalogue 15th Edition online or call 01778 392006.

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