British Toy Auctions to sell rare action figures

21 October 2022
The Andy Houldsworth Collection goes up for sale over three days

For collectors of vintage and modern military action figures there are three dates to mark in the calendar when the Andy Houldsworth Collection goes up for sale at British Toy Auctions in Cheshire. The lots will be split over three sales and will be offered on the 7th and 21st of November and the 5th December and are sure to cause a lot of interest. The collection is being offered on behalf of the family of Mr Andy Houldsworth who, over the course of 35 years, amassed one of the largest collections of Action Man and similar action figures and who was once interviewed by BBC Look Northwest for having the largest single group in the country.

The sales will consist of Action Man figures, Tommy Gunn figures, G.I Joe, modern Dragon figures, Britains soldiers and much more. The collection consists of hundreds of action figures which were acquired over a period of 35 years and includes items obtained as a child and over the years from toy fairs, auctions, fellow collectors and buying trips to the United States.

Action Man by Palitoy of Coalville in Leicestershire launched in 1966 and quickly established itself as one of the favourite toys for young boys at the time, following on from the popularity of G.I Joe figures by Hasbro that had been released in the United States in 1964. The first three Action Man figures available were an Action Soldier, Action Sailor and Action Pilot and were outfitted with uniforms, training manual and dog-tags. The range was an immediate success and was the National Association Of Toy Retailer’s Boys Toy Of The Year for 1966, a popularity that was to continue for many years.

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The sale will include a large quantity of Dragon Models action figures, some of the most highly detailed action figures that have been produced, featuring articulated bodies and realistic uniforms. These cover different eras, from Napoleonic to modern. including World War Two figures, both allied and axis troops. The sale will also feature the scarcer Tommy Gunn models by Pedigree which were released around the same time as Action Man in 1966 but were only produced for two years and so are not seen as often as the vintage Action Man figures.

Continuing the military theme of the sales there will also be a large quantity of Britains soldiers available to buyers, both the cast lead figures and plastic. These models cover a range of subjects from the US Civil War and War Of Independence to cowboys and Indians and Robin Hood and represent Britains Deetail, Herald and Hollowcast series. With such a large quantity of figures and related lots there is sure to be a great deal of interest in the sale and collectors will have the opportunity to get their hands on truly rare items.