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!


  Leave a reply


  1. Hi, I have a Britain’s miniture watering can,does it have any value, thank’s Patrick.

  2. Irving Finkel

    Stop selling immediately. You should keep everything and increase your holdings. Or wait until I am a millionaire and I shall take the lot…

    • Fiona Nevile


      Your comment made me laugh out loud.

      Have been spring cleaning and sorting today. My sister came over to help and she left with a gorgeous lead swan clutched in her sweaty paw. An elegant creature that she’d had her eye on for some time. I picked up a pair of these, by chance, a few months ago for pennies. Wingspan 5 1/2 inches. Maker unknown. Of course my sister is pretty wonderful too..

  3. Magic Cochin

    Oh! the little hens and the bunnies with a hutch!!!!
    I can understand why you collected them and hope they all find new homes.

    Much better really than squirelling them away (but it must be fun sorting them all out)

    Celia xx

  4. casalba

    I think you have done the right thing. Keep your favourite few and put them where you can enjoy them rather than having them in boxes which just make clutter.

    (I used to make jewelry from Britain’s plastic animals – sold them at Camden Lock and some shops in Covent Garden – you are taking me back!)

  5. While I was away at college my Mother- a great ‘clearer’ gave away my Britain’s zoo, farm and garden. I know that toys should be played with, I know that the children she gave them to couldn’t afford such toys…but…I know you will understand when I say that I still miss them and have not quite forgiven her for doing it! I particularly miss the elephant…

  6. veronica

    I had the Britain’s farm and zoo animals too! I loved them — they were my favourite toys by far, and they all had names and characters. Although mine were plastic too, I do recognise them in your vintage lead ones.

    Well done for being able to let go. Although I suspect the problem with spending a lot of time on ebay will be seeing lots of tempting objects to replace the ones you sell 🙂

  7. Fiona Nevile

    The links are now working! Thank you 5olly, much appreciated 🙂

  8. Sarah Garth

    I too have some of these in my loft, and (plus loads of other things) a child’s replica working washing machine complete with mangle from the 60’s. It is even Hoover branded! And yes I am a hoarder!

  9. Terry Golson

    As an inveterate collector myself (have you seen my new blog, The Vintage Hen at HenCam?) I applaud you for being able to let go. Curating one’s collection so that you can actually see it and enjoy it is hard, but oh, so rewarding! I’ve a feeling that in the process of selling the toys, in the handling and cataloging, that you will get renewed pleasure from them. I once winnowed an art collection, and the money earned went into an “art fund” so that I could buy one, much nicer piece. I wonder what all of your toys will bring you (other than increased living space!)
    Terry at

  10. Terrier

    Amazed Fiona & Danny, never knew you were horders of toys. want to go on ebay now and browse lead toys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,234,246 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder