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Forbes’ Toy Soldiers Sold

December 12, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ From a British territorial battalion to American Civil War figures, the sale of the late Malcolm Forbes’ toy soldier collection drew the young at heart to Christie’s on Thursday.

And they had deep pockets, spending $592,000 on about 15,000 of the figures Forbes began collecting 25 years ago.

The sale continues Dec. 18 at the auction house’s office outside London. Christie’s had estimated the U.S. sale would bring in about $250,000. The Forbes family is keeping the proceeds.

The top seller was a huge battalion of British territorial soldiers on active service in France in 1915. An unidentified buyer paid $14,950 for the set, way over Christie’s estimate of $2,000 to $3,000.

The set of more than 600 pieces includes soldiers firing, horse-drawn vehicles and bombed-out buildings.

Another unidentified buyer paid $10,350 for 168 American Civil War figures of Union and Confederate troops. A third spent the same amount for a diorama of a four-day sea battle between England and Holland in 1666. The figures were estimated at $400 to $600 and the diorama was estimated at $3,000 to $5,000.

Forbes, who died in 1990, kept his collection of more than 60,000 figures at his palace in Tangier, Morocco. His sons are selling the palace. With the exception of several hundred pieces in the Forbes’ Museum on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the remainder are being auctioned off.

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