NEW YORK (AP) _ More than 60,000 miniature troops assembled by Malcolm Forbes are being marched to the auction block.

``This is the biggest toy soldier collection that's ever been offered _ and the most famous,'' Hugo Marsh, head of the Christie's toy department, said Saturday.

Forbes, the publisher and editor who died in 1990, began his collection in the late 1960s when he had picked up several toy soldiers on impulse. From there the platoon grew to a virtual division, ranging from tiny soldiers on horseback to Zulu warriors and Confederate troops.

One of the rarest lots is of five Boy Scouts holding signal flags spelling out ``Scout'' in its original box. It was manufactured by British craftsman William Britain Jr., who began making fighting men in 1893.

About 15,000 of Forbes' soldiers will be sold Thursday in New York and the rest at Christie's London on Dec. 18. The collection is expected to fetch at least $250,000. Only a few hundred pieces will remain in the Forbes' Museum on Fifth Avenue.