James Opie’s Pre-Auction Newsletter No. 14

29/11/2019 | James Opie

James Opie’s Pre-Auction Newsletter No. 14

Sale is on Wednesday 11th December 2019 at 2.00 p.m.

Dear Collector,

An innovation for my 14th sale is to start it in the afternoon, as you can see above.  It is a relatively small sale, 358 lots, only two months after the previous one, so we decided to add in a short sale of Militaria in the morning, which you will find at the start of the catalogue. Hence, for the first time at C&T, our toy soldier part starts at lot 1001. At least this gives us some advantages – the numbers run consecutively through to 1358 with no gaps, and for those who would like to come to the sale, you won’t need to get up quite so early in the morning, and you will be able to view right through the day from 8.30 a.m.

Although it is not specified as such in the catalogue, the sale includes over a hundred lots from the Walter Vernon collection, which he has now decided to release. Many of us, myself included, have over the years put aside figures that we visualize being transformed into spectacular displays of toy soldier artistry. These pet projects have been put together by Walter over decades, and now give us the opportunity to acquire them ready made, either completed by his own considerable skill, or ready to complete, squadron by squadron. Whether intended to invoke the early days of Britains as with lots 1001 to 1006, or to build on types Britains never issued, as in  some of the later lots of models and castings, there is a mine of happy memories to be explored and revived.

Another way of satisfying intellectual curiosity that I have long enjoyed is the putting together of specimen collections, trying to find examples of all the various attempts at engaging the minds of children over the last 150 years. I mention this because several entries in this sale form such collections, and each might well form a page in a reference book. Examples which I have pointed out in the catalogue descriptions are lots 1006, 1007, 1027 and 1028. 1027 contains a superb BMC hussar that would almost justify the estimate on its own. There are further lots of this type in the 1950s section.

While I have reference books in my mind, this year seems to have been particularly prolific in new books. Luigi Toiati will be signing his fascinating overview of toy soldier collecting The History of Toy Soldiers at the London Toy Soldier Show on 7th December. In a further new arrival from Italy, The Antonini Dynasty in Rome, the three generational story of the Antonini family production of toy soldiers from 1910 to the present, both in lead and in  composition is unfolded by Andrea Mancini and Francesco Marchiandi, with Italian and English text, 280 photographs and links to further material. Do email me for further information on either of these if you can’t get to the show.

The 358 lots of the 11 December Sale with the pictures are now online at www.the-saleroom.comThere are 1,586 photographs, showing over 10,000 items.

Britains and British Hollowcast Toy Soldiers:


Early, pre-1919                           Lots 1001 to 1029                          

Golden Age 1919-1947                Lots 1030 to 1070                          

Twilight 1945-1966                     Lots 1071 to 1119                          

Other than Britains hollowcast:

New Toy Soldiers and repaints      Lots 1120 to 1189                          

Britains and other Civilian figures  Lots 1190 to 1214                         

French and German Toy Soldiers   Lots 1217 to 1264                       

Military Models and Collectibles     Lots 1265 to 1317                     

Mixed Toy Soldiers etc.               Lots 1215, 1216, 1318 to 1334 

Plastic figures                             Lots 1335 to 1358                    


As usual, the hard copy catalogue is also available online (see above). The best way to look at the highlights of the sale is to take particular note of those lots I have chosen to illustrate, which in my opinion are the most interesting. Some of the many highlights are on the outside and inside of the cover at the front and back. 

Remember that you can bid online via the Saleroom.com (3% + VAT extra for this service), or you can place bids by telephone, e-mail or by the form in the back of the catalogue (please check on +44 (0) 1233 510050 to ensure bids have been received). You can also order hard copy catalogues on this number.

PLEASE do not send bids to my email addresses on the day before or the day of the sale, as I will not be able to transfer them.  Send instead to enquiries@candtauctions.co.uk, and the bids will be entered. Any queries about the content can be answered at my normal email jamesopie@yahoo.co.uk, or on my ‘phone: +44 (0) 20 7794 7447 (except day before and day of sale).

All good wishes,


Sale highlights summary follows on next page. 






Catalogues available two weeks before the sale – all lots are on www.the-saleroom.com


Ancient Britains: Shafted Limber RHA, 6th Dragoons, Austrian Lancers, French Dragoons, 1st Dragoon Guards, tin swords, Donkey Horse Hussars, Cross legged Lancers, Pony horses, William Feix, other early Britains, Reka and other competitors etc.


Golden Age: Green Territorials, Union of South Africa Defence Force, SPECIAL PAINT RHA Officer, 1436 Italian Infantry FSO,  Anti-aircraft equipment, French troops, Motor Cycle Machine Gun Corps, Prussian Hussars, 17th Lancers, 4.7” AA Gun, Arabs on Camels etc. US Cavalry in action, etc.


Britains Postwar: Artillery, Royal Scots Greys mounted Band, Drums and Pipes of the Irish Guards, Highlanders, with Black Watch Pipe Bands, Set 2116 Royal Air Force Band, Highlanders with Colours, Hill, Crescent, Cherilea, Charbens, Wend-Al, Timpo etc., Uruguayan Cadets, Commonwealth, Lorries, Centurion Tanks, UN Infantry, Knight of Agincourt


Civilians: Britains Cocoacubs, Cocoacub Racegame board, dice and counters, Charbens Jacks Band, Factory layout figures, Racing Colour and Racegame figures, various Footballers, Beach figures, Farm, Lesney Milk Cart, Boy Scouts, Blenheim Salvation Army Band, King and Country Lion Dance, Star Trek, Britains Farm Buildings etc.


Continental figures: CBG Mignot, early Spahis, Light Tank, Lucotte, Heyde Personalities Ludvig II of Bavaria, Lineol  88mm AA Gun, Krause Black Watch,  Heyde novelty figures


Collectables: King and Country Waffen SS, Arnhem, Afrika Korps etc.,Niena, Del Prado C20, Napoleonic Cavalry and Infantry, Britains Matte series, Minichamps Tiger I.


New Toy Soldiers and conversions: Nostalgia, Toy Army Workshop horse drawn, motor vehicles and guns, Trophy Sudan Campaign, Fusilier, Tommy Atkins, Steadfast, Imperial Productions, Mark Time, Lancer, Marlborough, Tradition, Bastion, Soldiers Soldiers etc.


Recent Britains: Premier, Toy Soldier Collection, Ltd Editions, Delhi Durbar, Hollowcast Collection, Metal Models, Knights of Agincourt, Queen Victoria presenting Colours, WWII, American Civil War etc.


Plastic Figures: Eyes Right, Swoppets, Deetail, Starlux, Athena, Herald, Historex, Lone Star, Cherilea, Airfix D-Day set 1700, Disney 100th Anniversary, Power Knights, Timpo and Timpo copies etc.




Contacts:        JAMES OPIE Toy Soldier Consultant: Tel. +44 (0) 20 7794 7447

                        E-mail jamesopie@yahoo.co.uk                  

C&T Auctioneers:                            Web site www.candtauctions.co.uk

Unit 4 High House Business Park, Kenardington, Nr Ashford, Kent TN26 2LF

Catalogues and Bids Tel. (three lines) +44 (0) 1233 510050 E-mail enquiries@candtauctions.co.uk


The Sale will take place at:  The Spa Hotel, (The Yorke Suite), Mount Ephraim,

Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8XJ                                                                           

Sale commences at 2.00 p.m. Viewing from 8.30 throughout the day of the sale


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