Art: Don't Say Toy Soldier

The most serious collectors of toy soldiers in the world have a club of their own—and bristle at the words "toy soldier." They are the members of Paris' Society of the Collectors of Historical Figurines, and they see nothing juvenile or toylike about their speciality. Far from it. To the devotee, each brightly painted hussar and mustachioed grenadier is an honest work of art, deserving the same patience and devotion in its creation as a Rodin statue.

The serious collector has whole regiments of infantrymen, squadrons of cavalry. Each must be perfect to the last detail: a handsome, 3-in. drummer in Louis...

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