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YOUR SOUTH FLORIDA TOY SOLDIER CLUB NEWSLETTER

February 16, 2021

Club Status Update

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND MANY THANKS TO OUR CLUB FOUNDER:
FRANK BURNS!!
Birthday Cake Goes Here
"Over 18"

Newsletter Theme - Something New

  1. We have received requests from two new people to join the club.
  2. We are thinking about finding new ways to operate the club given the effect the pandemic has had on our show and on our meeting schedule.
  3. To learn new things, we would like to feature the broad span of knowledge about our hobby and general collecting tips from our members in the newsletter on a regular basis.
  4. We would like to have new ideas from members on items two and three through contact with the club secretary. (2828jimspina@gmail.com)
Let's get going...

What do you know about collecting marbles?

Not too much, you say...? Well, talk to Joe Grandolfo ...he collects them and here is a peek at part of his magnificent collection:

Grandolfo photo
Grandolfo photo

Here's a close up of a rare pre-war handmade Lutz marble from Germany.

Spina photo
Spina photo

So... fellow members, what new information can you share from your collecting activities over the years? Don't be bashful because all of us can benefit from tips you can give us on how to exhibit, enjoy and preserve collectibles.

Club President Mike Skurda has supplied us with examples of new products now available from Nowikoff Sculptures in Germany.

Contact their website: www.nowikoff.de for ordering information and terms.

New Products
New Products

And some more new products from Nowikoff ...

More New Products
More New Products

It's time to take a new look at old chalk solders made in the 1950s

Meet the Miller's

The Miller Company was founded in 1938 by J.H. Miller. He invented a mold machine and began making chalk figures of all kinds. In 1950, he produced a set of 20 realistic figures of American soldiers serving in Korea. Here are some typical figures:

General MacArthur oversees the attack on a tank in a town.
General MacArthur oversees the attack on a tank in a town.
The target tank is just ahead.
The target tank is just ahead.
The Miller Squad Opens Up with A Bazooka, Front & Center!
The Miller Squad Opens Up with A Bazooka, Front & Center!
The Miller Flame Thrower in Action. A dangerous target himself.
The Miller Flame Thrower in Action. A dangerous target himself.
The so called "Hollywood" Miller Figures. Left to right: Robert Mitchum, Alan Ladd, Robert Taylor & Richard Widmark. Do you agree?
The so called "Hollywood" Miller Figures. Left to right: Robert Mitchum, Alan Ladd, Robert Taylor & Richard Widmark. Do you agree?

The following article was written by our secretary on a new way to collect dimestore soldiers & will appear in an upcoming issue of the OTSN. An example of knowledge sharing by members.

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE DIMESTORE COLLECTING CHALLENGE?

by Dr. Jim Spina

Lots of us in the toy soldier collecting community in the USA cut our collecting teeth on dimestore soldiers made in the 1930 – 1950 span of years. As more time passes, younger people who may continue the hobby will not know much about these sometimes comical, sometimes emotional, and sometimes beautiful pieces of history.

Here's a collecting challenge that will spur table collector interest when displayed at your next post Covid19 show: "Can you assemble six grading sets of scarce dimestore soldiers in the next six months?"

A grading set consists of five examples of the same figure in grades from zero to 99% of original paint remaining on the soldier. A 100% paint rating is not required on a sixth example due to the true rarity of mint condition toy soldiers. See complete grading details in our summer 2020 Issue.

Here's an example of a scarce grading set:

Manoil Letter Writer (#M89 O'Brien)
Manoil Letter Writer (#M89 O'Brien)
The right toe, right hand, letter, and rifle account for the greatest loss of paint.

The WW2 foreign enemy troops often took a literal beating by their young owners. Check out the paint loss on the Japanese infantry grading set shown here. Foreign troops are scarce and make great conversation items at toy soldier shows.

As you will note, the greatest loss of paint on the front view is found on the puttees, helmet, hands, and left knee.
As you will note, the greatest loss of paint on the front view is found on the puttees, helmet, hands, and left knee.
Barclay (# B 43 O'Brien)
Barclay (# B 43 O'Brien)
Paint loss occurs most often on the upper back of the uniform and on the figure's base.

The two most popular makers of collectable dimestore soldiers were Manoil and Barclay but other competitors were in the game, as well. Using iron, rather than lead, toy soldiers made by the Grey Iron Company had a strong following. It made many consumer products from iron in addition to toys. The scarce two-figure piece of a buddy helping a wounded comrade that is shown next makes an excellent target for a challenging grading set. One extra figure is included to bring out the emotions of the moment. The battlefield nurse and her patient would make another interesting grading set for Grey Iron.

Grey Iron ( #104 & #105 O'Brien)
Grey Iron ( #104 & #105 O'Brien)
Note that figure on the far left has 0% original paint. Surprisingly, soldiers with less than 50% original paint can be hard to find because collector demand is so low. As a result, many become repaints or "junked" and are not as collectible.

Assembling grading sets changes all that. Most paint problems for this unique double figure occur on the wounded's chin, sling, right elbow, and on the left arm of his buddy.

A close-up of this figure reveals its casting art even with 0% paint.
A close-up of this figure reveals its casting art even with 0% paint.

The Manoil sniper figure has two versions, 1) kneeling (M44) and 2) standing (M47). Both are scarce and can present a serious condition problem if the folding rifle fails to work properly or is broken beyond a simple repair. This figure rates a "5" on a "1-6" scale with a "6" being mint.

The Manoil sniper figure has two versions
The Manoil sniper figure has two versions
The Manoil sniper figure has two versions
The Manoil sniper figure has two versions

This grading set illustrates both sniper versions 1) kneeling 2) standing.

Compare the single grade "5" figure with the photo on the previous page with the remainder of the grading set above for areas of paint loss. When there are variations of the scarce figures available, mixing them together presents interesting contrasts of design.

There are times when grading sets deliver a sense of action of soldiers moving into the field of battle like Manoil paratroopers.

Manoil (M127 O'Brien)
Manoil (M127 O'Brien)
For this hard to find figure, the right fist shows the most obvious loss of paint. Check the face and toes next for paint loss. Manoil Paymaster (M86 O'Brien)
Manoil Paymaster (M86 O'Brien)
Some figures become scarce because they are confusing. What does a youngster do with a paymaster while playing backyard "War"?

Today's collectors see the paymaster as a cool conversation piece. Check out the the next figure that grades a "5" of "6". (2 tiny right leg chips & 2 tiny money chips) look closely – sorry not mint.

Okay, so you decide to take up the challenge. A good place to begin the search is locate the "hard to find" figures in your collections with lesser grades, i.e. "the junk box." After all, you will need at least two low grade soldiers in every grading set.

You may be surprised to discover that you already have two scarce figures hiding among the treasures in your collection. Two figures in place gives a fine start to assembling a set of five.

After that, begin to focus on the missing figures that are found on EBay or better yet, contact your favorite dealer with a list and condition of those toy soldiers that are missing. There are many good sources advertised in this publication.

If you are a more advanced collector, you might consider the creation of grading sets using rarer figures such as those shown below or do a type "set" like our "foreign" Barclay officers.

American Metal Soldier/Gas mask (AM 26)
American Metal Soldier/Gas mask (AM 26)
The target tank is just ahead.
The target tank is just ahead.
Barclay Foreign Officers (B44, B40, B45, B41 O'Brien)
Barclay Foreign Officers (B44, B40, B45, B41 O'Brien)
American Metal Wire-cutter, prone, grey (AM5  O'Brien)
American Metal Wire-cutter, prone, grey (AM5 O'Brien)
Barclay Searchlight (BV 57 O'Brien).<br>*Note: See the grading system term  "qualifer" defined in the Summer 2020 issue. A portion of the cab cannon is missing – a "qualifer".
Barclay Searchlight (BV 57 O'Brien).
*Note: See the grading system term "qualifer" defined in the Summer 2020 issue. A portion of the cab cannon is missing – a "qualifer".
American Metal Tank throwing flame (AMV2  O'Brien)
American Metal Tank throwing flame (AMV2 O'Brien)
The so called "Auburn Rubber (A24  O'Brien)
The so called "Auburn Rubber (A24 O'Brien)
Auburn Rubber figures are in a class by themselves because of the destructive effects of time on the rubber used to mold the models. A five-piece grading set is a true challenge.
American Metal Soldier/Gas mask (AM 26)
American Metal Soldier/Gas mask (AM 26)

Enjoy the hunt! & See your ideas and stories in our March Newsletter.

 

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