Since I love all things pertaining to women’s history, from kitschy to suffragette, I’ve become smitten with these eight female figures in a suffragette band:
I’d never seen anything like them before, so here’s what the seller, dahntahntoys, has to say about them:
54 mm solidcast women’s Suffragette Band by Charles Hall, bought in 1970s at the MFCA show. Eight pieces in mint condition. See photos. Colorful Victorian era female musicians and placard carriers for Women’s Right to Vote.
That still didn’t tell me very much, so I began to research Charles Hall.
Information is disappointingly scant. Charles Hall is said to have been a former police officer in Glasgow, Scotland who started his scale miniature toy production with some Scottish regiments figures about the mid 1970s. Eventually, he produced up to 350 different figures.
According to a collector known as Bill The Bandman (who has some Charles Hall band sets and other toy soldier bands available for sale on eBay):
During the 1970’s when Britains where not producing metal band figures;three prolific makers emerged in the English speaking world. They all made complete lines from their own masters and moulds. …The least know was a Scottish maker who named his line after himself CHARLES HALL.
Charles produced two areas of personal interest to himself from 1975 t0 1985 which were German Bands and Salvation Army Bands. In the early 1990’s Hank Anton of the USA bought Halls moulds but never produced very many sets from the line.
Along with the suffragettes, there are Dixieland jazz bands (and other bands with black musicians) and the largest variety of Salvation Army figures ever issued.
But Hall also seems to have specialized in miniature scale versions of many civilian figures, including fictional characters, figures such as Scotland Yard’s finest, Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Hitler, Dracula, the beautifully odd Burke and Hare (Edinburgh’s most infamous grave robbers), and others… Including, perhaps, the most interesting miniature collectible toy pieces: Hitler and oddball Nazi caricatures.
I’d love to hear from collectors or anyone who knows more about Charles Hall and his wonderful scale miniatures!
For further information, collectors recommend Collecting Toy Soldiers, by Richard O’Brien.
Image credits: Charles Hall suffragette band photos via dahntahntoys; Charles Hall of Scotland figures, “listed as Camerons,they look to be Gordons,” via Treefrog Treasures Toy Soldier Forums; Dixieland band set of figures by Charles Hall via Bill The Bandman; Holmes & Watson by Charles Hall, via James H Hillestad’s article on Sherlock Holmes; Charles Hall Edinburgh Scotland “Burke and Hare the Body Snatchers” with Coffin and Corpse, circa 1985, via Live Auctioneers; Adolph Hitler (black overcoat at salute, 1978), S-Trooper Hitler caricature (on a spotted mule) and a caricature of a pregnant Irma Griese (1979), via Bill The Bandman.