LONDON (XINHUA) - What is believed to be the world's biggest collection of miniature figures was sold at an auction in England for around US$50,000 (S$66,180) on Saturday (April 28) to an army of global collectors.
Over a quarter of a million toy soldiers were collected over many years by Mr Carmelo Mazzotta who lived in the city of Bristol until his death at the age of 55.
Mr Mazzotta's sister Anita said her brother always wanted to be a soldier himself.
"He was a bit of a Peter Pan, he never wanted to grow up, so in a way it was him enacting his dreams. He was like a general with his armies and he knew and could pinpoint where any particular soldier was and knew all the different regiments," she told local media ahead of the sale of his massive army at the Wessex Auction Rooms in Chippenham.
The collection filled a double garage with a mezzanine floor at Mr Mazzotta's home, built up since he started his collection at the age of eight.
The tiny soldiers are between 2.5cm and 5cm in height.
Made from lead, metal and plastic, the miniature armies were lined up amongst model tanks, military vehicles, forts and flying aircraft.
The auctioneers had expected the collection, in a number of lots, to raise between US$27,000 and US$35,000.
Auctioneer Tim Weeks said: "I have never seen anything like it before. Usually when you go to pick items up, they are hidden away under beds and things but every single item he had bought was on display.
"It took two of us nine days to pack everything up and move it to the auction room and probably another eight days for five members of staff to go through and value everything and we have had so much interest."
Mr Weeks added: "It really did have everything, all the way through the centuries. I'm sure I saw Robin Hood chasing the German soldiers out of Sherwood Forest."
The auction house said most buyers were from collectors in Britain, mainland Europe and the United States.
Mr Weeks said Mr Mazzotta's family wanted the collection to be bought by enthusiasts. Mr Mazzotta died in 2016 after losing his battle with leukaemia.