LONDON • A collection of miniature figures, believed to be the world's biggest, has been sold at an auction in England to an army of global collectors for about US$50,000 (S$66,180).
The figures belonged to Mr Carmelo Mazzotta, who collected more than a quarter of a million toy soldiers over a lifetime.
Mr Mazzotta lived in the city of Bristol until his death in 2016 at the age of 55 from leukaemia.
His sister Anita said her brother always wanted to be a soldier himself. Speaking to reporters ahead of the sale of his massive toy collection at the Wessex Auction Rooms in Chippenham, she said: "He was a bit of a Peter Pan. He never wanted to grow up. So, in a way, he was enacting his dreams.
"He was like a general with his armies. He could pinpoint where any particular soldier was, and he knew all the different regiments."
The collection took up an entire double garage with a mezzanine floor in Mr Mazzotta's home, and has grown over the years 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 took up position among model tanks, military vehicles, forts and flying aircraft.
The auctioneers had expected the collection to raise between US$27,000 and US$35,000.
The auction house said most buyers were collectors in Britain, mainland Europe and the United States.