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Britains Zoo Animals


A wonderful collection of antique painted lead zoo animals made by Britains in the 1920s. These are some of the first models of the zoo that Britains developed, the designs subsequently changing slightly in each decade, and these early examples are now much sort after. We are selling these charming little animals, their keepers, and the landscaping individually, so please make your choice in the box below.


Britains zoological animals were a spin-off from the toy soldiers produced by a company founded by William Britain Jr, a British toy manufacturer; who in 1893 invented the process of hollow casting in lead, and revolutionized the production of toy soldiers. The zoological series appeared between the Wars, and consisted of a wide range of accurately modelled painted lead zoo animals, along with visitors, zoo staff, animal enclosures, fencing and scenery. The range was a success, and spawned the similarly animal-centric Britains Circus range. And as Britains 1940 catalogue said:

"Britains Ltd Zoological Series, which is, as the name implies, a series of models taken wherever possible from life and reproduced with care as to detail, and which will give the 'collector' the opportunity of having his or her own Zoo at home and will, we hope, provide many long hours of pleasure and enjoyment, with perhaps some measure of education. "

Country of origin: UK

Date of manufacture: 1923 - 1930

Material: lead

Dimensions Height: Zoo gate 9cm Giraffe 8.5cm Palm tree 17cm

Condition: good, with play wear - flakes and knocks to the paint. The fencing has one or two sections with breaks. Wear and tear is more prevalent on some items, and this is reflected in the price. 

Please note, the following are now sold:

Monkey with tail

Pair of pelicans 

Zoo keeper - sitting

Zoo gate

Palm tree