08 May 2011
metal military miniatures / William Britain / Malcolm Forbes' fabulous collection in his Tangier palace
They're not made of lead anymore, because lead is toxic, little kids love their toy soldiers, lead tastes sweet, and the kids were always sucking them.
But William Britain (collectors commonly just call the company "Britains") is the oldest and most prestigous manufacturer of metal Military Miniatures in the world. I love MMs. I guess I have about 100 of them, everyone from Zulu warriors to Charles deGaulle to a Napoleonic marching band.
The American business magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes (died 1990) had the world's largest collection of Military Miniatures, and displayed them in his palace in Tangier, Morocco. (Forbes also had the world's largest collection of bejeweled Easter eggs by Peter Carl Fabergé.)
From a 2001 article in Forbes magazine:
Even though the Tangier collection was sold off [for U$700,000], the Forbes Gallery at the Forbes Building in Manhattan still has thousands of toy soldiers from Malcolm Forbes' collection on display. Located at 60 Fifth Avenue (corner of 12th street) in New York City, the galleries are free and open to the public, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 A.M.- 4 P.M. For more information, please call 212-206-5548.