One of the earliest producers of fantasy miniatures was Archive, who produced excellent miniatures as early as 1976 which were much more artistic than other figures available at the time. Archive miniatures were stout, solid figures, not the flimsy handle with care figures generally produced during that period. They are simple, yet very stylish and a blast to paint. While not an official Dungeon & Dragons producer, Archive produced many creatures specific to the D&D world, such as ropers. They were also one of the only miniature producers to ever produce a bullette, calling it a sharkadillo. Most fantasy figures I have seen by Archive are dated 1976 or 1977. Figures range in value from 2.00-3.00 for such figures such as orcs and adventurers; 15.00-30.00 for monsters, even man sized monsters; rare figures such as Dragons and the bullette bring even more.
Archive figures are easily recognizable on account of their unique base. The base is rectangular, but with the corners cut off so as to resemble a lengthened octagon. Most have a clear date engraving of 1976 or 1977 along with the words "Archive" or "Nevile Stocken," the name of the sculpter who did most of the Archives figures, though Steve Lortz also did some. They generally also have the serial number engraved on the base as well - the question is always if one can read all the base markings as they are often illegible. Some miniatures do not have bases and those can only be identified through pictures, though once one gets a feel for Archive, they are very easy to identify as Archive since they have a very unique flavor.
After Archives early demise they were brought back to life as Rkiiv Miniatures. Rkiiv Miniatures is also long gone, though Michael Thomas at Classic Miniatures does still produce a few of them.