Valencia, Spain is home to the Tin Soldier Museum, Museo L’Iber, the world’s largest collection of tin soldiers (they have over 80,000). They have tin dinosaurs, tin designer fashions, tin Iraq war scenes and tin royalty. The museum is actually an amazing historical resource, as important political and international scenes from across the ages are set up and portrayed as accurately as possible in tin and toys. Naturally, Spain gets the most attention. If you’re going for a visit, which costs just €4, bring a guide who can translate for you; they don’t have English descriptions for the exhibits. And, if you’re a collector, bring your wallet — there’s an impressive gift shop with miniature treasures you won’t likely be able to resist.
The Tin Soldier Museum collection belongs to D. Alvaro Noguera Gimenez. The Gimenez family bought the building which houses the museum around the time of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The building has an event space and apartments which the family rents to keep the museum afloat. Pretty smart!
The Tin Soldier Museum contains reportedly over 1 million tin and toy soldiers, though just 80,000 are on display. Here are some highlights from the collection:
The Wedding of Queen Isabella
Specially-commissioned watercolor backdrops
Epic war scene between Spain and Austria
Nude toys in the overthrow of a Roman temple (there were more NSFW ones, but I’m “keeping it Disney”)
American tin soldiers
Hussein, Kennedy and Castro
Teeny tiny fashion
Special exhibit on India
Case after case of tin soldiers
The unassuming building in which the museum resides
[Photos by Annie Scott.]