Thanks! Best of luck rummaging for it. I've always been a tightwad collector at heart. It goes against my nature to throw stuff away (runs in the family), which on the one hand means I have saved all worthwhile stuff and memorabilia from early childhood on. Including magazines of all kinds and particular toy catalogues which struck a tune with us. It also means I've saved basically everything, which takes up space, which is a problem, haha.
The market for minor companies have grown over the years. Many homecast, but others (like myself) send our stuff to casting companies since casting is such a big and time-consuming hassle it's better to let the professionals handle it instead. You can earn more in the long run by casting yourself, but it requires expensive equipment, a ventilated workshop, time and lots of trial and error to learn the ropes.
The market for this kind of thing was a lot smaller 20 years ago as far as I know (I stuck only to GW back then, so might have missed something). 10 years ago there were quite a lot of minor companies around, but that amount have multiplied in the last decade. The advent of 3D-sculpting and 3D-printing will be a boon to collectors: Check out Lost Kingdom's marvellous new stuff.
Adrian Perez Montejano does stellar work and is the best out there at combining historical styles and heavy metal styles for his grimdark fantasy range (and I'm happy to have sparked a lot of inspiration for him by chucking a Mesopotamian reference thread
at him via E-mail - he got really fired up, itching to 3D-sculpt big things after that). The Chaos Dwarf scene has exploded. 10 years ago, there were only a handful of minor alternatives
. Now, there are over 20 and counting.