Horse Play: All-Nu Lead Figure, ca. 1940s

Before there was any notion of 3-D PlayStation games, children played with 3-D lead toys. You know something is really three-dimensional when it’s weighty like lead. Call of Duty: Black Ops, eat your heart out.

Companies like Britains, Manoil and Barclay developed figurines ranging from farm animals to military soldiers to simple, everyday street characters.

C. Frank Krupp was  a former sculptor and mold-maker for Barclay. His desire was to create his own line of lead figurines, and with the help of David Reader — the brother of Barclay owner Irving Reader — he incorporated All-NU in 1938. They started out in Yonkers, New York and in 1941 moved to their larger digs in Manhattan. That same year, Woolworth’s carried their full line of products, but with WWII came a cease in the production of lead toys. Shortly after the war, a partnership with Faben Products was formed and they resumed manufacturing the pre-war items that made All-NU so popular, such as horses, mounted hunters, cowboys and cowgirls on broncos.

This elegant example is of a jockey atop a racehorse. There is some paint loss, but the original wire rein continues to be grasped by the rider. The number 2 is clearly marked on either side of the animal, and perhaps the greatest feat of all, there are no chips to the lead. The snout, ears, tail and hoofs are prime areas where play could have led to chips and breaks, but this piece appears complete and intact.

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