Loading Spinner

Toy Soldiers

Toy soldiers have been around since ancient times and have been found in Egyptian tombs. In the 17th century, a group of craftsmen began making soldiers by molding the metal between two pieces of slate. Then during the 18th century, Frederick the Great inspired military exploits, creating miniature soldiers to map out battlefield strategies. In 1893, William Britain revolutionized the production process of toy soldiers by inventing hollow casting, making toy soldiers cheaper and much lighter than their German predecessors.

The W. Britain toy soldier company produced fine hand-painted miniature toys, creating an industry standard copied by many companies. Fierce rivals of W. Britain were John Hill and Co. as well as Hanks Bros., both duplicating detail and fine toy soldiers of the era. Later, companies including Elastolin & Lineol were best known for producing composite figures made of glue and sawdust. By the ‘30s and ‘40s, companies including Beton and Airfix produced highly detailed plastic soldiers which many favored due to their non-fragile state. Later, Marx became the leader of plastic production soldiers and figures, incorporating them into their hugely famous playsets.

Today, the hobby of collecting antique, vintage, and modern soldiers is a massive pasttime. An abundance of small manufacturers, private makers, secondary market dealers, and substantial toy soldier shows around the world help create markets in places where these items used to be scarce. Though collectors seek mint and boxed sets, some prefer to paint and manufacture their own artistic soldiers.


Quick Facts

  • A rare prototype Britains marching guard toy soldier produced in 1934 sold at Christie’s in 1994 for $4,371, the highest price ever paid for a single soldier
  • A rare GI. Joe prototype soldier figure created by Don Levine in 1963 sold at Heritage Auctions in 2003 for $200,000. The prototype became the framework for GI. Joe dolls
  • Noted toy soldier collectors include Douglas Fairbanks Jr., George R. R. Martin, Anne S. K. Brown, and Malcolm Forbes. Forbes amassed the largest single toy soldier collection in the world with just over 90,000 pieces in all

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

bp parity badge
1988 HASBRO G.I.JOE SNAKE EYES ACTION FIGURE NIB
Jun 01, 1:00 PM EDT
1988 HASBRO G.I.JOE SNAKE EYES ACTION FIGURE NIB
by Florida Estate Sales Inc.
Est: $150- $10,000
$9012 Bids
bp parity badge
1987 HASBRO G.I.JOE STORM SHADOW ACTION FIGURE NIB
Jun 01, 1:00 PM EDT
1987 HASBRO G.I.JOE STORM SHADOW ACTION FIGURE NIB
by Florida Estate Sales Inc.
Est: $350- $10,000
$8510 Bids
bp parity badge
1987 HASBRO G.I.JOE TUNNEL RAT ACTION FIGURE NIB
Jun 01, 1:00 PM EDT
1987 HASBRO G.I.JOE TUNNEL RAT ACTION FIGURE NIB
by Florida Estate Sales Inc.
Est: $190- $10,000
$657 Bids
Group Of Deetail England Toy Figurines, Knights
May 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Group Of Deetail England Toy Figurines, Knights
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$147 Bids
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
May 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$137 Bids
bp parity badge
1988 HASBRO G.I.JOE SNAKE EYES ACTION FIGURE NIB
Jun 01, 1:00 PM EDT
1988 HASBRO G.I.JOE SNAKE EYES ACTION FIGURE NIB
by Florida Estate Sales Inc.
Est: $150- $10,000
$607 Bids
Group Of Deetail England Toy Figurines, Knights
May 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Group Of Deetail England Toy Figurines, Knights
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$176 Bids
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
May 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$135 Bids
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
May 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$74 Bids
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
May 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$134 Bids
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
May 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Group Of Deetail England Toy Soldier Figurines
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$134 Bids
2000’s Dragon WWII Military action figure 101st Airborne Paratrooper ‘Dan Summers’, Normandy 1944.
May 26, 8:00 AM AWST
2000’s Dragon WWII Military action figure 101st Airborne Paratrooper ‘Dan Summers’, Normandy 1944.
by JB Military Antiques
Est: AUD40- AUD50
AUD303 Bids
bp parity badge
Collection of over 120 pewter soldiers with display case,
May 25, 10:00 AM CEST
Collection of over 120 pewter soldiers with display case,
by Auktionshaus Eppli
Est: €15- €100
€151 Bid
Del Prado Vintage Metal Toy Soldier Figure 30p SET
May 29, 12:00 PM EDT
Del Prado Vintage Metal Toy Soldier Figure 30p SET
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$501 Bid
bp parity badge
17pc British Toy Soldiers
May 23, 2:00 PM EDT
17pc British Toy Soldiers
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$101 Bid
Lead toy soldiers and animals
Jun 03, 6:00 PM EDT
Lead toy soldiers and animals
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Lot of 6 McFarlane's Military Series 4 Action Figures
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 6 McFarlane's Military Series 4 Action Figures
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$101 Bid
LEAD BRITIAN SOLDIERS
Jun 09, 10:30 AM EDT
LEAD BRITIAN SOLDIERS
by Farrin's country Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$201 Bid
Selection of Lead Railroad & Military Figures Barclay and John Hill & Co.
Jun 07, 10:00 AM EDT
Selection of Lead Railroad & Military Figures Barclay and John Hill & Co.
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $10- $150
$101 Bid
Handpainted Lead Italian Cavalryman Toy Soldier Figure
Jun 08, 2:00 PM EDT
Handpainted Lead Italian Cavalryman Toy Soldier Figure
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $30- $60
$200 Bids
22 miniature figures of English soldiers, wars of liberation / battle of nations
May 25, 10:00 AM CEST
22 miniature figures of English soldiers, wars of liberation / battle of nations
by Kunst- und Auktionshaus Quedlinburg
Est: €0- €0
€400 Bids
A large collection of vintage army figurine toys, Durso, Belgium, 1950s, ca. 90 pieces
May 30, 10:00 AM CEST
A large collection of vintage army figurine toys, Durso, Belgium, 1950s, ca. 90 pieces
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €200- €300
€1000 Bids
Lot of 16 - Circa 1920's Vintage British Lead Toy Soldiers On Horseback
Jun 11, 9:00 PM EDT
Lot of 16 - Circa 1920's Vintage British Lead Toy Soldiers On Horseback
by Weatherham Estate Treasures
Est: $600- $900
$2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Toy Soldiers


Bodnar's Auction Sales

Bodnar's Auction Sales

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Hill Auction Gallery

Hill Auction Gallery

Berner's Auction Gallery

Berner's Auction Gallery