Collector's Corner: Wade Whimsies
By Michele Alice
You've heard of the benefits to one's health of a daily cup of tea http://www.teahealth.co.uk/th/facts/index.htm. Now there's one more reason to switch from java to pekoe: Wade Whimsies are presently being offered as premiums in specially marked packages of Red Rose Tea USA.
Whimsies are porcelain miniatures, usually of animals or some fanciful subject. Wade http://www.wade.co.uk, a renowned manufacturer of English porcelain, has produced Whimsies for both the retail and premium markets for decades. Wade premiums have been found in a number of products, including Red Rose Tea USA and Canada (a separate company), Tom Smith Party Crackers, and Sharps Chocolate.
"Endangered North American Animals" is the seventh series offered by Red Rose Tea USA since 1983. Hand-crafted by Wade artisans, there are 10 different miniatures in the series: Florida panther, peregrine falcon, green sea turtle, humpback whale, spotted owl, sturgeon, manatee, timber wolf, bald eagle and polar bear. http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y202/m06/abu0072/images/wade3.jpg
All Wade Whimsies are sought after by collectors, though the older Whimsies are, of course, generally rarer, especially in mint condition. These can fetch from several dollars for a single figure to $200+ for boxed sets originally sold in the 1950s.
Huggybear's Wade Whimsies Website http://www.wadewhimsies.com is, in my estimation, the most comprehensive site devoted to Wade miniatures. Huggybear's has hundreds of pictures arranged both alphabetically and by series for easy identification of your "find." The site also hosts a detailed bibliography, a list of Wade retail shops, a Wade collectors club, links, etc.
For an extensive list of Wade modelers and their creations, check out Pat Murray's http://www.whimsicalwades.com. Pat is an authority on Wade Whimsies with over 3,000 pieces in her collection (remember, not every Whimsy has been a premium), and she has written a number of books on the subject including the highly regarded Wade Whimsical Collectibles http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0889682739/auctionbytescom now in its 6th edition.
And for a very well-written history of Wade potteries and the miniatures, I recommend Wade Whimsies http://www.whimsies.co.uk.
By the way, in case you are unable to see the tiny "Wade England" embossed on each miniature, you can identify most Wade whimsies by the telltale series of ridges on the bottoms. http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y202/m06/abu0072/images/wade2.jpg
Other recommended reading:
Wade Miniatures, by Donna Baker
World of Wade (2), by Ian Warner and Mike Posgay
About the author:
Michele Alice is EcommerceBytes Update Contributing Editor. Michele is a freelance writer in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. She collects books, science fiction memorabilia and more! Email her at makalice @ adelphia.net eBay ID: Malice9
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