The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Vintage Britains Lead Toys and more. I am selling my private toy collection on eBay!



So what did we do when we took a holiday break recently? Well we stayed in Cheveley, which was good as the weather was so hot that it was just like being abroad. It was really too hot to work in the garden so we decided that the time was right to set up my vintage toys eBay shop to start selling my vintage toy collection. Actually this is not just a shop, it’s an emporium.

Unless you know me very well you wouldn’t guess that I’ve invested a lot of time, money and energy acquiring a substantial collection of lead and other vintage toys over the past ten years.

It all started back in the last century for me when I was given a Britains Herald farm set for Christmas. The figures and animals were plastic. They were cast from the same lead moulds as the Britains lead figures and animals and they had tiny details that I adored.

The only lead toy that I had as a child was a small white playworn sitting hen that I’d inherited from my mother, which I’ve treasured ever since.

Initially I planned to make a small collection just for myself. Then Danny and I fell totally in love with these lead toys that were produced from centuries ago until 1966 when the British government banned the used of lead in toys. The lead farm and miniature garden that we particularly like ceased production in the late 1950’s.
My massive collection is now stored in many boxes. So many boxes in this tiny cottage that they are occupying space that we need for other things – like living!

Now we have a small collection of my favourite lead toys in a cabinet in our sitting room which gives us endless pleasure. They are not particularly valuable or rare – just my favourites.

This new project is a labour of love as each piece has to be photographed and listed individually. But we’re having fun and it’s so good to be handling these exquisite items again.

And, yes, we’re both tempted to start buying!


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  1. Steve weetman

    Hi there. I have some Britain’s bulls, with the word ‘proprietors’ moulded on them. I’m trying to find out when this word was dropped by Britain’s. Many thanks.

    • Hi Steve, Britains Ltd replaced the Propietorship in Dec 1907 after the death of William Britain in June of that year.

  2. Hi I hAve a variety of lead soldiers and horses and other lead figures how will I know how to value

  3. I found a small grey lead goose (with beak and legs missing) in my London garden today! Can you tell me the brief history of these toys? What year did they start making them, i understand they ceased production around 1950….?

    • Yes indeed, Lara.
      You can read a brief history of Britains – the largest of the lead toy manufacturers.
      Very likely, your goose is hollowcast. We especially enjoy the farm series toys.

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