What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

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Carefreeap
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What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Carefreeap » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:18 pm

Dad is terminal and I am starting the process to clean out the house. He has, literally, thousands of lead toy soldiers. I was successful in selling one nice box at a local collectible dealer but that was before I understood the volume.

He was born in 1936 and I'm guessing most of these were collected between 1946-1950. These are the hand cast (and hand painted by him) lead soldiers. Some are in boxes with the name "Britain's Soldiers of All Regiments" and "History in Miniatures" but I'm not sure those are original to the boxes.

Anyone deal with a collection like this?

I checked today's scrap metal price. Lead is going for about $1 per lb.

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Kenkat
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Kenkat » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:00 pm

See if you can find these on eBay. A simple search found some:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... s&_sacat=0

and

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... Miniatures

eBay is probably your best bet if you are trying to get top dollar. We have a small handful of these types of toy soldiers that my father in law left and we divided up among the 5 siblings.

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cheese_breath
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:17 pm

Have you checked with the dealer who bought the first box for possible buyers?

I imagine there are collectors out there who would love to have them. Try googling to see if you can find some.

Alternately, there are probably some museums that would love to take them off your hands.

Don't scrap them. Besides maybe being worth a handsome price for so many they may also have non-monetary value as historical artifacts.
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brennok
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by brennok » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:26 pm

I had a similar issue. We boxed them up for now. There is an episode of Strange Inheritance that also had the same issue. I believe they found a collector and a museum to take the collection.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/th ... -a-fortune

I struggled to even find forums dedicated to it these days, and the few stores I found mentioned went out of business. Let me know if you have better luck

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by IMO » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:38 pm

Honestly, I really think it is a shame to hear that you are contemplating melting down your dad's collection for the few dollars it would bring in scrap metal. Have you told him this is one of your thoughts?

Many people who collect things ultimately want someone to take over their items who also has a similar interest and appreciation for the specific collectible. I don't think it's really about how much money they can get vs. the thought that someone will appreciate and take care of what was important in their lives.

I would simply donate it to somebody that would see value in the collection.

It took me about 1 minute to find this site:

https://www.toysoldierco.com/resources/ ... istory.htm

"Here at The Toy Soldier Company, we strive to offer the greatest variety of quality plastic and metal toy soldiers. Owner Jamie Delson has a blog devoted to both toy soldiers and the wargames he plays with thousands of 54mm painted plastic toy soldiers. We also publish an email newsletter with updates on new releases and sales. View the blog and sign up for the newsletter from the links below."

If you're willing to simply melt them down for a few bucks, why not just call someone like this guy and offer to give him the collection. If it were me, I would be able to remember my dad better knowing I'd passed on his passion to someone who truly appreciates it.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by sunny_socal » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:44 pm

Sell them all on ebay, the entire lot at once. Open it up to bid with the starting price at the shipping cost (USPS flat rate boxes.)

My FIL has about 20 years worth of, um... magazines. :| What am I supposed to do with those?

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by joe8d » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:57 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:17 pm
Have you checked with the dealer who bought the first box for possible buyers?

I imagine there are collectors out there who would love to have them. Try googling to see if you can find some.

Alternately, there are probably some museums that would love to take them off your hands.

Don't scrap them. Besides maybe being worth a handsome price for so many they may also have non-monetary value as historical artifacts.
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Orange44
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Orange44 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:36 pm

Ebay. Sell the whole lot. Someone like me will buy them. I love this type of stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if you make a few hundred and making someone happy! Sorry about your Father.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by fru-gal » Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:05 am

I would not dispose of these until your father passes away. If he is still lucid at times, supposes he asks to see some of them?

Mr. Rumples
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:57 am

In the Bay area, you should be able to find a toy appraiser. If not, is there a children's museum? If so, the curator might know of someone. It is remarkable what some toys even from the 1960's bring. Are any in their original boxes?

Just an overview from a British site is below. I'm not familiar with toy soldiers, but do any have any makers mark on the bottom or anywhere else? You might need a magnifying glass to see them.

These are vintage toys. Toys made before WW2 are made differently than those after which were made of plastic. They are worth more than the metal if they are in fair condition with their original paint. Since they are metal, it seems they are pre-WW2. Toys were generally not made between 1942 and 1945 due to the scarcity of material and toy production was turned to the war effort.

https://www.catawiki.com/stories/4715-w ... y-soldiers

Many of us have seen Noel Barnett on Antiques Roadshow. It is amazing what some of the things we think of as junk bring:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRch5U_kSXw

There are also toy soldier clubs for folks really into it. Here is a link to one:

http://southfloridatoysoldier.club

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Carefreeap
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:28 am

Kenkat wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:00 pm
See if you can find these on eBay. A simple search found some:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... s&_sacat=0

and

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... Miniatures

eBay is probably your best bet if you are trying to get top dollar. We have a small handful of these types of toy soldiers that my father in law left and we divided up among the 5 siblings.
Thanks, your post was really helpful. Most of the soldiers look like this:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Histor ... Swz~JdL2YP

But multiply it by 2,000. Most are not in their original boxes anymore and stuff is mixed up. I think the first box of Britains was in in very good shape and I got lucky. I probably picked that box for a reason!

The sheer volume is daunting. One concern is "flooding the market".

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by livesoft » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:39 am

Just a note: If these are made of lead, then lead is a hazardous waste and should not be tossed in the trash. Even though they are painted, I myself would only handle them wearing nitrile gloves. I would not even melt them down myself. I realize that lead is used in fishing weights, car batteries, and other things, but if one doesn't have to handle it, then one shouldn't handle it.
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Carefreeap
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:44 am

IMO wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:38 pm
Honestly, I really think it is a shame to hear that you are contemplating melting down your dad's collection for the few dollars it would bring in scrap metal. Have you told him this is one of your thoughts?

Many people who collect things ultimately want someone to take over their items who also has a similar interest and appreciation for the specific collectible. I don't think it's really about how much money they can get vs. the thought that someone will appreciate and take care of what was important in their lives.

I would simply donate it to somebody that would see value in the collection.

It took me about 1 minute to find this site:

https://www.toysoldierco.com/resources/ ... istory.htm

"Here at The Toy Soldier Company, we strive to offer the greatest variety of quality plastic and metal toy soldiers. Owner Jamie Delson has a blog devoted to both toy soldiers and the wargames he plays with thousands of 54mm painted plastic toy soldiers. We also publish an email newsletter with updates on new releases and sales. View the blog and sign up for the newsletter from the links below."

If you're willing to simply melt them down for a few bucks, why not just call someone like this guy and offer to give him the collection. If it were me, I would be able to remember my dad better knowing I'd passed on his passion to someone who truly appreciates it.
My father asked me to sell them. No one in the family wants them.

He is broke, sick and dying. My husband and I were prepared to shell out up to $100k to pay for his nursing home care. This would have been his tiny contribution toward that cost. My parents have had lots and lots of financial problems over the years. We've bailed them out before. This is yet another "gift" I'll inherit.

In general, I do not agree with burdening someone with my collections. They were valuable to me for some reason. They go in and out of fashion and often the storage costs exceed the value of the items.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by inbox788 » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:06 pm

brennok wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:26 pm
I had a similar issue. We boxed them up for now. There is an episode of Strange Inheritance that also had the same issue. I believe they found a collector and a museum to take the collection.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/th ... -a-fortune

I struggled to even find forums dedicated to it these days, and the few stores I found mentioned went out of business. Let me know if you have better luck
I caught a bit of that show. Interesting viewing.

I would assume scrap value is a small fraction of the worth, but selling effort is also large. If selling to dealer, his profit and expenses would also chew up a large chunk.

The problem in the show was the collection was so large, they wanted to open a museum in the deceased home town, but that required more cash. They received offer from another museum to accept the pieces. Forgot the value, but I assume if it's donated to a museum and kept there, they could provide a reasonable valuation, and the tax benefit should exceed scrap value.

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Kenkat
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Kenkat » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:11 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:28 am
Kenkat wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:00 pm
See if you can find these on eBay. A simple search found some:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... s&_sacat=0

and

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... Miniatures

eBay is probably your best bet if you are trying to get top dollar. We have a small handful of these types of toy soldiers that my father in law left and we divided up among the 5 siblings.
Thanks, your post was really helpful. Most of the soldiers look like this:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Histor ... Swz~JdL2YP

But multiply it by 2,000. Most are not in their original boxes anymore and stuff is mixed up. I think the first box of Britains was in in very good shape and I got lucky. I probably picked that box for a reason!

The sheer volume is daunting. One concern is "flooding the market".
Those are very similar to the ones we got from my father in law - he only had a few however, not 2,000.

You would not want to list them all at once on eBay, but strategies that have worked well for me on eBay is either:

1) Price them with a Buy Now price that is at or a little under the average selling price of similar items (look at Sold Items on eBay to get a feel for this price)
2) Start them with Free Shipping at a price that covers your shipping cost. If there’s a market, people will bid for them. If not, at least they go for a price that covers your shipping and they go to someone who wants them and will enjoy them

Run a couple of different lots or logical groups of 20-30 soldiers each week and put a note in your listing that you will be selling of a large number of these in the coming weeks. If someone is looking for something specific you could create a custom lot at a Buy It Now price for them.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by mrsbetsy » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:53 pm

I know a couple of 9 year olds who would absolutely love those if they knew they existed. They play with the plastic ones and set up battle scenes all the time.

If you put them on ebay, let me know. I'd say even if you sold them for a buck a piece, that's 2K. If you share the story about your father painting them, that'd interest parents into buying them.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:57 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:18 pm
Dad is terminal and I am starting the process to clean out the house. He has, literally, thousands of lead toy soldiers. I was successful in selling one nice box at a local collectible dealer but that was before I understood the volume.

He was born in 1936 and I'm guessing most of these were collected between 1946-1950. These are the hand cast (and hand painted by him) lead soldiers. Some are in boxes with the name "Britain's Soldiers of All Regiments" and "History in Miniatures" but I'm not sure those are original to the boxes.

Anyone deal with a collection like this?

I checked today's scrap metal price. Lead is going for about $1 per lb.
I would keep them and I would display them in my house as my father would want.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Mactheriverrat » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:58 pm

Sorry to hear about your Dad.

I would take a few and show your Dad before he's gone. Then I would bury a few of them in his casket and he would have love them.
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:11 pm

mrsbetsy wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:53 pm
I know a couple of 9 year olds who would absolutely love those if they knew they existed....
9 year olds and lead toys???
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by mrsbetsy » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:13 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:11 pm
mrsbetsy wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:53 pm
I know a couple of 9 year olds who would absolutely love those if they knew they existed....
9 year olds and lead toys???
Ha! Good point...guess not.

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cheese_breath
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:20 pm

mrsbetsy wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:13 pm
cheese_breath wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:11 pm
mrsbetsy wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:53 pm
I know a couple of 9 year olds who would absolutely love those if they knew they existed....
9 year olds and lead toys???
Ha! Good point...guess not.
And yet when I was 9 years old I probably played with lots of lead toys. Maybe that explains why I never was as smart as I thought I was.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by JimSmiley1850 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:07 pm

If you have some time you might look for a local chapter of the Military Figure Collectors of America (MFCA) or look at their website and see if there are local shows. I have been to the national show usually held in the Valley Forge Pa area and some local shows in the DC area. The vendors at these shows are sometimes selling vintage lead toy soldiers like Britains and they might be able to provide some info. Don’t expect much as I sold some of lead toy soldiers to one of these vendors at a show and got about $30 per box set of Civil War cavalry and infantry. You might look at Sierra Toy Soldier Co. a SF Bay Area retail store in the business too.

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Luke Duke » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:39 am

cheese_breath wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:11 pm
mrsbetsy wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:53 pm
I know a couple of 9 year olds who would absolutely love those if they knew they existed....
9 year olds and lead toys???
Why not?
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Carefreeap
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Carefreeap » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:49 pm

JimSmiley1850 wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:07 pm
If you have some time you might look for a local chapter of the Military Figure Collectors of America (MFCA) or look at their website and see if there are local shows. I have been to the national show usually held in the Valley Forge Pa area and some local shows in the DC area. The vendors at these shows are sometimes selling vintage lead toy soldiers like Britains and they might be able to provide some info. Don’t expect much as I sold some of lead toy soldiers to one of these vendors at a show and got about $30 per box set of Civil War cavalry and infantry. You might look at Sierra Toy Soldier Co. a SF Bay Area retail store in the business too.
Thanks, this post was helpful.

I have enough on my plate that I don't want a part-time job trying to sell 2,000 of my father's soldiers on e-bay, most of which look like they're not worth much. Like a lot of things he should have taken care of this a long time ago. I can't ever remember him displaying them.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:38 pm

Its a funny thing. Today on Antiques Roadshow an old metal child's bank was appraised at $10,000 to $15,000 and it wasn't even the old more desirable Teddy Rosevelt model. If sold for the metal, you would not get much. Hence, put them in a box for later. If they are worth something, they will increase in value, if not, you haven't lost out on much.

Another option is to google "antique consignment stores" and let them price them and give you a cut of the proceeds. When we sold our library, a book dealer came to our house to look them over, we didn't have to lift a finger. We didn't have much of value, but it was good to know.

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Carefreeap
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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Carefreeap » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:53 pm

JimSmiley1850 wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:07 pm
If you have some time you might look for a local chapter of the Military Figure Collectors of America (MFCA) or look at their website and see if there are local shows. I have been to the national show usually held in the Valley Forge Pa area and some local shows in the DC area. The vendors at these shows are sometimes selling vintage lead toy soldiers like Britains and they might be able to provide some info. Don’t expect much as I sold some of lead toy soldiers to one of these vendors at a show and got about $30 per box set of Civil War cavalry and infantry. You might look at Sierra Toy Soldier Co. a SF Bay Area retail store in the business too.
Hi, I'm updating for the benefit of the thread.

I looked at the MFCA website and Facebook page and I didn't see anything referring to local chapters just the big annual show. There is a West Coast Toy Soldier Show in the L.A. area March 1. I'm already scheduled to be in Arizona and will miss it.

I did speak to someone at Sierra Toy Soldier and was advised that they would take toy soldiers only in their original box on consignment. She wasn't very encouraging that there was much of a market.

I dropped a box of 56 soldiers off at my local consignment shop. She thinks she can get about $5 per figure. The last ones took about 3 weeks to sell. At that rate it will only take a couple of years to get rid of them all. :oops:

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Re: What to do with my Dad's Toy Soldier Collection?

Post by Finridge » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:59 pm

IMO wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:38 pm

Many people who collect things ultimately want someone to take over their items who also has a similar interest and appreciation for the specific collectible. I don't think it's really about how much money they can get vs. the thought that someone will appreciate and take care of what was important in their lives.
My thoughts exactly.

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