BY HENRY I. KURTZ
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FORBES COLLECTION
Nestled in the Forbes Building on lower Fifth Avenue in New York City, along with Forbes Magazine and other Forbes publications, is one of the finest toy soldier displays to be found anywhere. The exhibition, which has some 5,000 figures, is what remains of a larger collection of about 100,000 toy soldiers, amassed by publisher Malcolm Forbes before his death in 1990. The bulk of the collection, originally housed in the Forbes Museum of Military Miniatures in Tangier, Morocco, was sold at auction in 1997.
The highly original New York exhibition features a series of display cases depicting the history of toy soldiers from the early flat figures of Heinrichsen and Ochel to the later soldiers of Heyde, Mignot and Britains Ltd. Among the first displays that greet the visitor is an impressive recreation of a battle between Aztec Warriors and Spanish troops under the conquistador Hernando Cortez on the steps of the Aztec Pyramid of the Sun in Tenochtitian (now Mexico City). The scene features several hundred flat figures by Ochel of Germany.