14 September 2016
Eyes right for major Britains sale
All lead figure collectors should note the date: 8 October. That’s when Old Toy Soldier Auctions in the US is holding a sale of Britains lead soldiers, amongst which are some real rarities. Of note is Set No.9, the 16th Lancers in Ulundi Foreign Dress Service. These have the movable arm (plug-handed, as our transatlantic cousins would have it) and were once in James Opie’s collection. Estimate for the set with officer is $6-8,000. Set 39 is equally impressive, containing the 1896 Royal Horse Artillery group, which has belonged to a couple of famous collectors in the past. Guideline for this rarity is $8-12,000. If the Life Guards are more to your fancy, then Set 72, Life Guards Past and Present will be right up your street. Also carrying an estimate of US$8-12,000, this 1896 set is housed in an extremely rare Queen’s Diamond Jubilee box. Collectors of paint varieties will be intrigued by the ex-James Opie 1938 set, the Royal Marine Colour Party. Seemingly made only for Hamleys in London: this is expected to exceed $6,000. And let’s not forget the one-off set (estimate $5,000-8,000), that of the US Navy Landing Party. Never catalogued yet known for being unique, this set was last sold in 2001. Another unique set is that of the Japanese Imperial Guard, reference 2016. This dates from 1948 and has a modest (given its unique label) estimate of $4,000-6,000. A little more is expected of the impressive St John’s Medical Corps, a white-label creation made especially for CE Turnbull. Complete with ambulance, nurses, the wounded, fabric tents and patients on stretchers, the set is in marvellous condition for its age.
Aside from these interesting groups will be 27 lots from the Britains Paris Office. Britains lead figures were only made in France from 1906 to 1916 and so are extremely uncommon as a consequence. To have so many appear at one auction is unheard of. Bidding is expected to be frantic… oooh, là là!