In 1977 Minifigs of England became the first official D&D miniature supplier, though having made fantasy miniatures as early as 1975. Minifigs, like most miniatures of the time, were made for gaming purposes, not collecting or artistic purposes and so the sculptures are largely crude, lacking detail and poorly cast. All weapons, even weapons such as clubs and maces are frail and thus prone to breaking - they really do not make good gaming pieces. A few of their D&D figures, however, have a unique style and presence of their own, especially the large demons such as demon prince Demogorgon. Prices for the smaller figures when in excellent condition unbroken (a rare occurence) are easily 5-10.00 each. The demons are very rare, of better quality, and a few can easily sell for 100.00 with Demogorgon by far being the most prized, as it is the only Demigorgon ever cast in metal.
Minifigs D&D miniatures are easily identifiable by their base stampings, which will be a two or three letter designation followed by a number. Occasionally a figure will lack a base stamping, especially the demons. Bases are very simple, rectangular and in most, though not in all cases, it is the top of the base that is stamped. There are several slight variations of many models. This is partially due to a few differences in the miniatures made for the US market.
In addition to their D&D line, Minifigs also produced a line of miniatures for Gary Gygax's World of Greyhawk campaign setting. While these are not official D&D miniatures, they many worthwhile figures to fit into the D&D world. The World of Greyhawk line had many boring, though important for a campaign world, figures such as guards, while also producing many very attractive and artistic miniatures, such as their dragons. They also produced uncommon figures like dinosaurs for those who like to mix fantasy with Paleontology. Dinosaurs are surprisingly collectable these days as many collectors strive to get every monster in the original Monster Manual, which had a full range of dinosaurs.
In addition to their World of Greyhawk and their official D&D line, Minifigs produced several other lines of Fantasy Miniatures:
Aureola Roccoco - from which many of the World of Greyhawk miniatures were sourced.
Mythical Earth (ME) - an unofficial Lord of the Rings line.
Swords & Sorcery (SS) - A Conan based line.
Valley of the Four Winds
While many of the miniatures in these lines were very crude as is typical of 70's lead, there are some very interesting figures especially in the Aureola Roccoco and Valley of the Four Winds lines.