Tuesday, April 12, 2011

toy soldiers

I got these soldiers at the auction last week.
They're hand-carved from clothespins. Their arm and rifle are glued on.

Some are battlefield casualties.

It was a big auction--600 + lots. They were in a box, kind of hidden away. It was getting late, most people were gone, and the auctioneer did requests--we got five minutes to bring up things we wanted put up. Whatever was left would go at the next auction. I brought up the box of soldiers and won them. I photographed them to put in the etsy store and spent some time looking for something similar on the internet. I couldn't find anything and wasn't sure how to price them.

I took a look at the box. The top is broken and I hadn't paid attention to it. I was debating whether to include it in the etsy listing, because it would really increase the shipping cost. I had noticed that Bob's Soldiers was written in pencil. Then I looked closer. (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

Does that say 1860?

Yes it does. 

Bob's Soldiers
Made by him

1860 was one year before the start of the Civil War. So now what do I do with them? EDIT I would love to donate them to a small New England museum, if I find one that wants them.

Sometimes I wonder why I'm doing this. Then something like these guys come along, and I remember. It's the history and stories and people. Bob making his soldiers 150 + years ago. No internet, tv, radios, planes, cars, electric lights or phones. The transcontinental railroad was not completed. Just him and a knife and some clothespins, somewhere in New England, making toy soldiers.

What do you think I should do with them?



  1. Wow, what a piece of history. It's amazing to think you have in your hands something made that long ago, by someone who as you said didn't have the modern technology, including the toys our kids have today. Don't you wish you could talk to the maker?


  2. Fascinating! Definitely find out if they have historical value; if they do, I'd try ebay. My husband has sold military memorablia for some surprisingly high prices and a lot of historians shop that site... let us know what you find out about them!

  3. How amazing! Well done for spotting those little numbers. They're just adorable. I can just imagine Bob sitting and whittling his time away. What a lovely image!!

    Contacting a museum sounds like a good idea. I guess they could at least give you some idea of their worth??