Rare Village Idiot to go up for auction

One of the rarest of Britains Figures, The Village Idiot, to go under the hammer.
One of the rarest of Britains Figures, The Village Idiot, to go under the hammer.
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A rare figurine is set to go under the hammer.

North East auctioneers Anderson and Garland will be selling a rare example of the famous Britains toy ‘The Village Idiot’ in their Collectors’ Sale on Tuesday.

It has been valued at £70 to £100.

Fred Wyrley-Birch, specialist at Anderson & Garland, said: “This small lead figure of The Village Idiot is very popular with collectors, and next to impossible to find.

“When originally building your painted lead farmyard you might start with the Farmer, perhaps his Wife next, get a few cows and sheep and surround them with some fences and trees but the last thing you think about is to procure a Village Idiot.”

The Village Idiot, Lot 294, bears the reference number of 587, was designed in 1921 and is often worth as much as the rest of the farm yard combined.

Britains was founded by William Britain, a clockmaker originally, who worked out the best way to hollowcast lead toy soldiers in 1893.

As each figure used less metal than their German rivals they could be very competitive and quickly became leaders in their field.

The figure was found by Mr Wyrley-Birch amongst other farm yard figures within a collection of a private vendor from Whitley Bay.

Collected by the vendor’s late husband she had never looked twice at the figure which was part of a shelving display in the conservatory.

They said: “I was very surprised such a small cross eyed figure could be worth as much as it is. I’m looking forward to seeing who buys it.”