Collectibles

A Brief History of Schleich Toys

Schleich Toys. Based in the German town of Schwabisch Gmund, the company today is one of the largest toy manufacturers in the world, selling their toys in over 50 countries, including the United States, parts of Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Besides owning the licenses to sell products from familiar media markets like DC Comics, Marvel, Peanuts, Muppets, and Smurfs, the company is also known for its line of realistically designed animal figures, as well as creatures from fantasy, and from the age of the dinosaurs.


The Beginning 


One wonders if company founder Friederich Schleich envisioned so much success when he started the Schleich Company back in 1935. Beginning as a supplier of industrial products and plastic parts, the company began producing toys in 1946 with its release of a line of dolls made of wire and wood and covered in velvet. By the mid-fifties, Schleich was producing Walt Disney figures, such as Bambi and Pluto. And by 1960, the company was releasing bendable figures of popular characters such as Snoopy, Batman and Robin, and Superman.


Schleich is Smurftastic 


Schleich’s production of its blue Smurfs line in 1965 brought worldwide acclaim to the company, and the company’s global success was cemented with its line of animal figures. What began in 1967 with an elephant, kangaroo, and a family of sea otters grew in the 1980s into Schleich’s World of Nature series. These include three distinct animal worlds for children ages 3-8: Farm World, Wild Life, and Dinosaurs. Schleich’s Wild Life line produces animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States, as well as sea animals, tropical fish, and birds of prey, among others.


Age of Dinos and Fantasy


The Prehistoric Life line features detailed recreations of creatures from the distant past like the Tyrannosaurus-rex, Velociraptor, and Triceratops, as well as lesser-known dinosaurs such as the Saichania, Giganotosaurus, and Pentaceratops. The Farm World series encompasses more common animals like piglets, ducks, goats, roosters, cats, and dogs. And its fantasy figures include the magical playing world Bayala and the mystical world of Eldorado Creatures. All of Schleich’s figures meet the company’s reputation for amazing detail and realism.


A Horse Is a Horse of Course of Course


While the company is particularly known for its animal figures the most popular may be its collection of horse figures, under the banner Horse World. Created for older children ages 5-12, these lines fit children’s playing needs as they grow and develop by allowing them to participate in various role-playing adventures that teach the value of friendship. Various releases of these majestic and handsome figures have included the Rearing Pinto, Black Forest Stallion, and Lipizzaner, among many others. Again, the detail is amazing!

Schleich Toys has been said to be responsible for up to 70% of the collector’s market, including a lot of success in the secondary markets. Certainly, with more than half of its sales coming from outside Germany, and its sale of 50 million figures every year, which comes out to 150,000 figures a day, it continues to be one of the largest, and most popular, manufacturers of collectibles today.

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