Your Complete Buyer's Guide to Vintage Antique Lead Toys and Figures

Whether you're buying them for a kid to play with, or for yourself; be it out of nostalgia, or because you're a collector or hobbyist, vintage and antique lead toy figures give you an endless trove of treasures to explore. Picking the old lead toys and figures you want on eBay requires, first, knowing what you're looking at, and second, knowing what you're looking for.

Types of vintage and antique lead toys and figures available.

The first distinction to note when searching for old lead toy figures is that between antique and vintage ones. Vintage lead figures are at least 20 years old, whereas antique lead figures are at least 100 years old. Once you know what era of lead figures you're looking to pull from, you can explore the options available on eBay based on any one or more of the following criteria:

  • Brand name - Many different brands are responsible for creating antique and vintage metal toy figures, including Barclay, Britains Farm, Manoli, and John Hill. You can also opt for unbranded vintage metal toy figures.
  • Character or theme - You can create an entire collection around antique toy soldiers alone, or you can opt for old lead figures designed around pioneer-era farming and agriculture, winter sports and activities, cabaret, vehicles, circus, or animal themes, among others.
  • Eras - Besides simply choosing whether to buy antique or vintage metal toy figures, you can also hone in more closely on a particular time period, like WWI era antique toy soldiers for sale or those from the American Civil War, Napoleonic Wars, American Revolution, Middle Ages, or Ancient Greece and Rome.
  • Scale - Another way to buy old metal toy figures is by size, or to buy all figures built to the same scale, be it a half-inch or three inches.
When is it okay to buy vintage toy figures used?

Given that vintage and antique lead toy figures are, by definition, old, it can be hard to find the toy figures you're looking for new. Most of the time, you will be buying used vintage lead toy figures rather than new ones. You must therefore pay close attention to factors of condition and authenticity.

What are some particularly notable vintage and antique toy figures?

Many vintage and antique lead toy soldiers and other figures have achieved extreme value to collectors and hobbyists. Some such toys highly sought after on eBay include:

  • Vintage Heinrichsen "Woman in Blue Coat"
  • 1893 Britain’s antique Soldiers that Shoot set
  • 1930s Barclay Fageol Passenger Bus