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W. Britain Toy Soldier Reference


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Does any know of any good books or websites on identifying and dating lead toy soldiers. Im sure some are Britain, but some are also Barclays. Most look to be WWI soldiers and some old west. Big box of toys!!! Any help would be appreciated as I have no knowledge of the old stuff.

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I can help....PM me with photos and I will I'd them for you. The Britain's should be stamped on the underside of the base or if mounted on the underside of the horse. Joe Wallis has some great books out there on Britain's as well as a James Opie.

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Maybe you can post them here so we can all learn? I've been passing by toy lead soldiers for 50 years as I don't know anything about them. Just a thought.





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  • 11 months later...

I’ll actually post some pics.  😀


A buddy gave me a shoebox of toy soldiers, which I think are neat, just way out of my wheelhouse.  Some are still boxed, so easy to ID, like  the Britains Confederate and Union sets from 1990.  However, there were some loose older toy soldiers, which I am providing pics of.  They all appear to be Britains.  Through some web searching, the kilted charging soldier is apparently from the No. 11 Scottish Highlanders “Black Guard” set.  The others, I would really appreciate some help on - I know there are folks here that are super-smart on these.    Thank you in advance.



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Manny is spot on. The first image does show a single pre-war Gordon Highlander at the slope c. 1925-37. The rest are all post war.  The bottom image figures as Manny noted, are not Britain's, but most likely are by John Hill Company....post war. Although there are several other makers they could be from that era. Sadly, the post war market is way down, so not looking at a lot of money for these. Your selling target would be collector's  trying to finish building an incomplete set and finding a close paint match in these, or a person new to hobby. Maybe 5-10 per marching figure or 25 per mounted.

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Thank you gentlemen - I seriously appreciate the help.


Dirk - is the pre-war figure the marching one, not the charging one?  I noticed he was a little larger than the rest.  


I will post more pictures in a little bit, of some of the others.


Again - thank you everyone.

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Yes, the pre war is the marching one (Britain's called that position at the slope).....from set 77. A Britains figure with a mustache dates it before 1938...the charging figure was produced pre-war, but those had mustaches...but you have here a good opportunity to compare pre and post war painting styles.

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Thanks again Dirk - the name on the four non-Britains figures was really hard to see.  It took lighting from different angles, and a heap of squinting, but I made out “Cherilea” and part of the word “England”.


Here are pics of some of the other figures.


- first three figures are are unmarked

- Indians have “JR” on the base of the horse and standing figure

- Civil War ones are also JR

- Knights on horseback are plastic, on wooden bases, that are stamped “Germany”

- The Union and Confederate boxed sets are dated 1990, and the Army Color Guard is 1986


Thanks again, and happy Independence Day!








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Cherilea makes sense...a U.K. Company started 1948 thru 73. Will bet  Scott is correct on IR (from Imrie/Risley). IR still has a web site but looks like they have halted production. The German knights look like they have Lionel bases.....(a german toy soldier company that I think survived WW2 for a few years. The Britians below as you noted are modern by Britain's- the Civil War figures use original Britains castings, in an attempt  to rekindle or ride interest in the original figures. 

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Thank you Scott and Dirk, very very helpful.


I believe you are correct on it being IR - it is written in quasi-cursive, so was hard to tell.  


Do I understand it correctly, that the IR figures were sold bare, and needed to be painted by the customer?

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The knight with the red shield is an Elastolin and is not meant for a horse.

I don’t think those are IR.


IRs had a more angular appearance.



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