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Collecting Toy Soldiers in The 21st Century (Paperback)

Colour Books Military > Biographies > Military Biographies

By James Opie
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 232
Illustrations: Approx 220 colour photographs
ISBN: 9781399014403
Published: 29th October 2021



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James Opie’s highly popular Collecting Toy Soldiers (1987) was an inspirational book for anyone involved in the hobby. Nearly a quarter of a century on, this is a completely new companion updating the experience for the twenty-first century collector. James now gives the reader the benefit of over thirty years’ participation as one of the world’s leading authorities on toy soldiers, figures and models, and a lifetime as a collector himself.
Collecting Toy Soldiers in the 21st Century contains comprehensive advice on all aspects of collecting, fully illustrated with new pictures. The main menu is an exposition of the thousands of different possibilities for pursuing individual fulfilment. Guidance for every budget includes price trends and pitfalls to avoid when buying or selling at auction, shows, on-line or privately. The informative and often-amusing anecdotes are provided from James' own involvement, and
illustrate just how satisfying it can be to explore this blend of history, tradition, nostalgia and play, whether on the most grandiose scale or with the most limited of funds.

As featured in

Toy Soldier Collector & Historical Figures

As featured in

The Armourer

This work is beautifully illustrated with visual examples of figures of all types, shapes and most of their particular private collection.

An interesting and useful book focused particularly on collectors.

Read the full Spanish review here!

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

This book is a companion to his earlier work; Collecting Toy Soldiers, first published in 1987, but reprinted several times since, and is a truly wonderful read. For me the real delight is the eclectic nature of it, James goes from hollow-casts to solids, from plastic to composition, from flats through semi-flats to fully round in all sizes and from all over the world – sometime in the same page! Written in an easy to read style and full of detail without resorting to endless lists of colour variations or box types!
The enthusiasm the author has for his subject flows through the work and is backed up by some of the best photographs I’ve ever seen, clearly culled from a lifetimes collecting and this is one of the major differences between this work and its ancestor, there are so many images here, all with full narrative captions it is hard to take it all in and several reads will reward. I know for a fact that this book calls upon one of the most comprehensive reference libraries of catalogues and ephemera ever assembled.

Small Scale World Review

This is the best toy soldier book I have ever seen. It has wonderful photos and showcases companies I have never heard of, but whose figures I would like acquire. Opie provides sound advice as to how to build up a collection and his book allows a reader to revisit childhood friends.

Toy Soldier & model Figure

The 24-page hardback is filled with excellent, useful information for the toy figure collector. Broken down into 12 chapters, the book begins with ‘The Lure of the Toy Soldier’, which starts with these fantastic opening lines: “Let me start with a truism. My collection of toy soldiers is the greatest in the world. But then for you, so is yours.” Opie truly understands his fellow collectors and this book is a real pleasure to read. Whether you are a lifelong collector or just starting out, you will certainly gain a lot from reading Collecting Toy Soldiers in the 21st Century.

Collectors Gazette, Feb 2012

The author has been a keen collector since childhood and has written an engaging book that covers the subject well and demonstrates his keen interest and encyclopaedic knowledge. The work is lavishly illustrated and the photographs cover much of the wide range of models. The book has been beautifully produced and is of a high quality that inevitably requires a higher price in the bookshop. Given the production quality and the effective text, the book is good value for money.


About James Opie

James Opie is the toy soldier consultant to Bonham's auctioneers and recognized as one of the world's leading experts on the subject. He has a very significant collection of his own, which he has been building since childhood. For over a quarter of a century, until his recent retirement, James Opie was also editor and buyer for the Military and Aviation Book Society and various other book clubs. He has written seven previous books on various aspects of toy soldier collecting.

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