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Barclay Toy Figures
Barclay Manufacturing Company, founded in 1924 in West Hoboken, New Jersey, became the largest manufacturer of toy soldiers in the United States in the late 1930s through early 1940s. Many of the figures, made from antimonial lead, were originally sold for a nickel apiece prior to World War II. Barclay experienced a tremendous distribution chain through their close business relationship with Woolworth’s.
The “dimestore-size” figures featured in Deke’s Collection are some of the most collected pieces produced by Barclay. Pre-war production involved hand-casting of the figures. Production began in 1935 and was ended on April 1, 1942, due to World War II as the company became involved in defense work.
Important differences exist within the Barclay toy soldier line. Earlier figures feature a “short stride,” which caused them to look stiff and unrealistic. In 1936, longer stride figures were produced. Sculpts produced by Frank Krupp featured separate tin helmets, which were initially glued and later pinned to the soldiers. However, due to the expenses involved with this, later figures featured an integrated helmet. These are known as “cast helmet” soldiers to collectors.
Barclay numbered their soldiers and issued catalogs. The Italian and Ethiopian figures were produced in 1935 and 1936; figures 728-741 were produced in 1936, followed by figures 743-746 by early 1937. Figures 747-761 followed later that year. The Asian soldiers also seem to have been produced in 1937. Figures 762-773, as well as the four Boy Scouts, were produced in 1938; the remaining civilian figures (610-626) seem to have been introduced in 1939. In addition, the taller soldiers (B10, B20, B76, 774, 775, 776, & 777) are likely to have been introduced with the civilians. “Cast helmet” soldiers began production in 1940; the last pre-War figure was likely B142, “Soldiers in Boat.”
In this collection, any “Bxxx” classification is O’Brien’s. The original Barclay catalog number and description is provided where possible.
Source: O’Brien, R. (1997). Collecting American-made toy soldiers: Identification and Value Guide. Florence, AL: Books Americana.
Each of the following pages will display approximately 10 images.
B1 89 Indian on horse - B10 702 Machine Gunner
B11 702 Machine Gunner - B20 706 Soldier charging
B21 706 Soldier charging - B30 709 Bugler
B31 710 Drummer - B40 725 Ethiopian Officer
B41 727 Italian Officer - B50 720 Sailor
B51 719 Sailor - B60 757 Sailor with Signal Flags
B61 728 Machine Gunner - B70 735 Soldier
B71 736 Soldier - B80 741 Aviator
B81 745 Navy doctor - B90 748 Soldier
B91 749 Soldier - B100 Indian Brave
B101 758 Cameraman - B110 769 Cook
B111 771 Soldier peeling potatoes - B120 776 Soldier standing at searchlight
B121 776 Soldier standing at searchlight - B130 780 Soldier falling with rifle
B131 781 Soldier digging - B140 788 Marching soldier
B141 789 Soldier shooting triple barreled gun - B150 961 Soldier at table with typewriter
B151 961 Soldier at table with typewriter - B160 613 Porter
B161 612 Conductor - B170 622 Shoeshine Boy
B171 623 Detective with pistol - B180 635 Man Speed Skater
B181 636 Girl Figure Skater - B193 498 Girl on sled