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Wade Whimsies

Updated on July 2, 2013

First Whimsies - Set One - English Animals 1954-1958

Leaping Fawn, Horse, Spaniel with ball, Poodle and Squirrel
Leaping Fawn, Horse, Spaniel with ball, Poodle and Squirrel

First Whimsies 1954-1958 - Ten sets

There were ten sets of First Whimsies between 1954 and 1958.

Each set having 5 different animal models (except for set five which only has 4 models)

Set one is English Animals - Leaping fawn, horse, spaniel with ball, poodle and squirrel.

Set two is English Animals - Bull, lamb, kitten, hare and dachshund.

Set three is English Country Animals - Badger, fox cub, stoat, shetland pony and retriever.

Set four is African Jungle Animals - Lion, crocodile, monkey and baby, rhino, baby elephant

Set five - Horses - this has only 4 pieces in the set - 3 horses and a beagle dog

Set six - Polar animals - penguin, husky, polar bear, baby seal and polar bear cub

Set seven - Pedigree dogs - Alsatian, west highland terrier, corgi, boxer and saint bernard.

Set eight - Zoo animals - camel, cockatoo, giant panda, lion cub and llama

Sex nine - North American animals - snowy owl, racoon, grizzly bear, grizzly cub and cougar

Set ten - Farm animals - pig. Italian goat, foxhound, shire horse and swan. This set is the hardest set to buy. It is the last set and was only manufactured for a short period of time. The shire horse and swan are hard to find.


By the early 1950s Wade Potteries did not receive many orders for industrial ceramics.

Sir George Wade decided to produce small pottery animals to keep the factory going. The First Whimsies were produced and marketed at the British Industries Fair in 1954.

They were intended as presents for small children. Adults also wanted to collect whimsies.

George Wade had a policy to limit the amount produced for each pottery animal, and to only manufacture each set for one or two years, before moving onto a different set.

If the factory received a large industrial order this would be done in preference to the production of whimsies. Whimsies were manufactured to fill what would otherwise have been idle time.

Sir George Wade

Sir George Wade died in 1986 aged 95. His son died, Tony, died one year later.

This was to mark the end of the Wade family involvement in ceramics after 120 years.

Leprechaun on Pig - Lucky Fairy Folk 1956-1986

Wade Whimsies

Do you collect Wade Whimsies

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Ink stamps

Ink stamps

There were various ink stamps/transfer prints/embossed marks placed on different sets/models over the years. The most common and well known being “Wade Ireland” and “Wade England”

Some transfers done specifically at the request of client eg Arthur Hare C&S Collectables.

Arundel Swap Meets 1997-2000

One piece of the Arundel Swap Meets is this Arundel Duck  with printed inkstamp "The Arundel Duck August 1997".  Hollow inside.
One piece of the Arundel Swap Meets is this Arundel Duck with printed inkstamp "The Arundel Duck August 1997". Hollow inside.

Glaze Colour

Glaze Colour

Some models are different colour glazes

The first test run of the model may have been kept in the kiln for a longer or shorter period than the final run.

The client make have seen the first colour and requested another colour instead.

Some models were reissued in different glazes for promotions eg Red Rose Tea.

Blow up Whimsies

To celebrate fifty years of Whimsies a blow-up model of the Spaniel with Ball from First Whimsies set one was produced.

The blow-up model size was 70x135 compared to the original model size of 25x40.

The blow-up and a reproduction of the original spaniel was sold together as a pair.

Tortoise Family

Three tortoise produced - father, mother and baby - each a different size. For a limited period of time a jumbo tortoise was produced
Three tortoise produced - father, mother and baby - each a different size. For a limited period of time a jumbo tortoise was produced

Flying Birds 1956-1961

Flying Birds were issued 1956-1961.

There were two issues - first issue made by Wade England; second issue made by Wade Ireland.

Both issues had two sets - one swallows and one of swifts. Sold as a set - three models of the same colour in a set.

Fairs and Events

To promote Wade special pieces were sometimes produced specifically for that Fair.

Fairs included Alton Towers Fair in 1998, various Arundel Meets, Birmingham Fair 1994-1996, Stafford Fair 2000, and UK Wade Collectors Fair - Trentham Gardens 1997-2002.

James Robertson & Sons 1963-1965

Trumpet Golliwog
Trumpet Golliwog

Swallow and Swift

Robertson's Jam Gollies and Bandstand

One of the sons James Robertson & Sons visited the United States in approx 1900. He bought a golliwog doll for his children who loved it. They decided that they would use the golliwog as there trademark.

This trademark golliwog was printed on labels and price lists etc.

Robertson placed an order with Wade to produce Wade Golliwogs. Wade produced five models for a trial period.

Robertson wanted a cheaper golliwog so they changed to a Portuguese manufacturer.

The Wade golliwogs are not marked with a Wade stamp or label.

Wade Golliwogs are the only golliwogs which are standing on white bases. Cheaper models were placed on black bases.

The Wade Golliwogs have black faces.

The set which was manufactured by Wade comprised of Accordion, Clarinet, Bass, Saxophone and Trumpet Golliwog.

Tom Smith and Company Ltd 1973-1999

Tom Smith

Tom Smith and Company Limited was world famous for their Christmas Cracker manufacturing.

They placed orders with Wade over the years to produce boxes of crackers with wade pieces inside each cracker. Wade would manufacture theses pieces of wade for two years exclusively for Smith. After the two years each set could then be reproduced for Wade to sell themselves.pieces


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