When you’ve been collecting as long as I have and in a specialized niche; it takes quite a bit to get excited. September 2001 at the OTSN show, Schamburg, Illinois was one of those occasions.

I had just taken my first break from setting up my tables in the main hall, when I passed Starr Collectibles Stand. I had not seen the lady at the last two Detroit shows and since she was there I stopped to talk. I have always purchased Marlborough products from her over the years. (Her departed husband was their original dealer in North America).

We talked while she unwrapped her figures. Then, out came the most unique item I had seen in years while looking for bands. It was a single vignette in 54MM. consisting of a camel with five musicians in Arab clothing, two figures per side and one standing holding reins. I was flabbergasted and she knew she had a sale.

The musicians were dressed in multi coloured clothing and consisted of the standing musician playing an end blown flute (very rarely see) on one side was a cymbal player and a single African cylinderical drum. On the opposite, a player using a Middle East folk lute and a folk Shawms (a Middle East reed instrument) this combination of reeds, strings and percussion is not common in toy soldiers.

I asked her who made it and she replied it came from France via the former owner of Marlborough’s wife - Jan Scroby, who still dabbles at making, even though Frank is retired and sold the business.

Now came the final surprise! When I asked how much it would be for a fellow collector, I was amazed that it came in for all six pieces, under $ 100.00 US. Although I damaged the paint on the camels leg transporting it home, it still holds a special place in my display area.

Here is one more time I can honestly say the fun was in the search!


"Then, out came  
the most unique  
item I had seen  
in years while  
looking for bands"