After years of competing against official D&D miniature suppliers, Ral Partha gained the rights to produce AD&D miniatures and began production in 1987. New sculptures were brought in and over the next 9 years the largest line of D&D metal miniatures was to be sculpted. During Ral Partha's nine years of producing Dungeons & Dragons miniatures the 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons rules were developed. When 2nd edition came out, Ral Partha slightly changed the packaging on their blisters by adding "2nd edition" and so the same miniature can be found with different packaging, either AD&D, or AD&D 2nd edition.
Off all official D&D miniature lines, the Ral Partha line is the most prized, with several figures having a value of 100.00 or so and many, many being valued at 50.00-80.00 - they are ridiculously expensive. Boxed sets are valued at 40.00-120.00 depending on which set is being sold. Two limited edition dragons, one being Takhisis, fetch much more. There are a few reasons why the Ral Partha D&D miniatures are so much more expensive: They made official AD&D miniatures for many years and so are well known; they produced many monsters not available elsewhere; they were Ral Partha; and perhaps most importantly, rumor has it that the molds and masters have all been destroyed and so there is no chance that they can ever be put into production again. Many hope that this rumor is not true and that they will be put into production again some day. The story of this rumor is a rather sad one. In 1997 Wizards of the Coast acquired TSR and along with that, all rights to D&D miniatures. With plans on creating their own miniature line, Wizards of the Coast terminated Ral Partha's licensing rights and, as rumor has it, requested that all molds and masters be destroyed. Loosing the AD&D line was a huge blow to Ral Partha and that combined with a couple of other game manufacturers (for whom Ral Partha was producing miniatures) going out of business around the same time left Ral Partha very vulnerable and so it was not long after that their business failed.
Ral Partha AD&D miniatures are easily identifiable as such for they are stamped "TSR mfg. by Ral Partha," along with a production date. There is no stamping, however, to help determine just what a figure actually is. Interesting enough, there are a few miniatures floating around that were stamped "TSR mfg. by Ral Partha" with the TSR having been ground out. These are the few minis that Ral Partha had produced just at the time that they lost the AD&D license so they simply ground out the TSR and sold them as Ral Partha fantasy figures. So far I have only come across a few dogs, a dwarf, a male and female dwarf pair and a male and female Halfling pair.
Collectors and gamers have mixed feelings about the Ral Partha AD&D line of miniatures. While there are many wonderful monsters and characters, a few of them, particularly the earlier ones, look a bit static in their poses. The latter minis, however, are all quite fantastic. One of the most popular aspects of the line is the great variety of monsters and figures of characters from the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms novels. These characters are very popular and sell for surprisingly high amounts - considering that they are, for the most part, simply run of the mill human figures.