I am pretty certain these wonderful hand-painted turned wooden pins or skittles are French and that they date to the 1920s or so; I have found a few other sets which, though not exact matches, are fairly close. And I believe there would originally have been nine of them, to arrange in a diamond formation then roll this yellow ball at, in them hopes of knocking them all down. With their great tall hats and white buttons all down their fronts, at first I had the notion they were clowns, but I'm pretty certain that they're actually meant to represent soldiers. Pretty great just lined up in a row on a shelf, where one can enjoy the individuality of each of their little faces!
Sold as a set, with original ball. Figures measure 5" t x 1" across at base. Ball @ 1 5/8" d. These guys have definitely been knocked around, with some loss of paint which I think rather adds to their charm; great structural condition and lots of life in them yet should one want to throw the ball at them!