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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Army of bidders marches on toys

Hundreds of bidders from around the world are expected to battle over one of the largest collections of model soldiers ever to be auctioned, when it goes on sale in the north-east of England.

The exhibits, to be sold off at two auctions, will feature 150,000 miniature figures and is expected to fetch about 500,000.

The Potsdam collection of miniature figures was founded in 1928 by Frederich-Wilhelm Meisner, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Imperial guard in Berlin.

Over the next 70 years the collection grew to one of the largest and most important collections of its kind in Europe and eventually comprised hundreds of thousands of figures.

It features mainly German, British, and French soldiers from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century, reflecting battles dating back to pre-Christian times.

Global interest

The collection was moved following the reunification of Germany in 1990 to Potsdam, the former seat of the Prussian kings.

Peter Rumsey, the Vectis toy soldier and figure expert, said today: "This is an exceptional collection of toy figures.

"The first part should raise in excess of 175,00 and interest has been received from all over the world."

The first auction will be held at the Vectis Auction house, in Fleck Way, Thornaby, Teesside, on 21 May, with public viewing the day before between 1300 and 1900 BST.

The second auction will be staged there on 15 October.




SEE ALSO:
Children's favourites up for auction
07 May 03  |  Entertainment


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