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Silver Toy Soldiers (Silver Army Men)

November 23, 2015 0 Comments

 

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If you grew up in the United States in the second half of the 20th century then more than likely you’ve seen or even played with plastic toy soldiers. They were a staple in millions of American households and are a staple in 20th Century Americana history. They were sold by the millions and were popular figures in pop culture. They’ve since died off in popularity throughout the decades, but are still recognized by adults who belong to the Baby Boomer era. Because of this perfect storm of recognition and popularity, they are the perfect item to be cast in pure silver for any adult who was alive in the the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.

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The first toy army men were made in 1938 by the Bergen Toy and Novelty Co. (Abbreviated “Beton”). However, these first toy soldiers were made out of metal and were painted. This made the toys heavier, more expensive and as such weren’t as disposable. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 1950’s that the plastic army men burst onto the scene. Created by Louis Marx and Company, the toy soldiers were redesigned to correspond with the uniforms of World War II Army soldiers. The combination of the WWII figurine designs as well as being plastic allowed the toy soldiers to be sold by the bagful or bucketful. Because the soldiers were all the standard Army green this helped keep costs down as well as playing up the patriotism of the United State’s involvement in WWII. Enemy soldiers were also cast, but instead of Army green, they were made in different colors:

– German Soldiers: gray
– Japanese Soldiers: yellow
– French Allies: horizon blue

In the 1970’s the popularity of the plastic toy soldiers began to wane. This is attributed to the unpopularity of the Vietnam war as well as other negative consequences of war such as the 1973 oil crisis.

This year, Elemetal Mint has attempted to capture that nostalgic feeling by creating plastic army men out of pure silver. They’ve made multiple figures, all modeled after the popular Louis Marx and Company designs. Each Silver Army Men is cast in .999 fine silver and is at least 1 troy ounce in weight. We’ve weighed our first few batches of silver army men and they average around 1.2 troy ounces per soldier. These silver army men are a perfect gift for Christmas and especially as a stocking-stuffer.

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