Antiques Column: Modelled for maximum cuteness
Wade Whimsies are endearing animal subjects, modelled for maximum cuteness. '¨At only 5.4cms their size added to their charm.
There were a total of one hundred and nine Whimsies released by Wade in two separate series.
The first ones came out in 1953.
They were made in two factories in Ireland and Staffordshire and were sold in boxed sets of five.
The two factories took turns at producing new sets creating a healthy competition between themselves which is believed to be responsible for the high quality of these early models.The models were all hand painted with soft pastel colours.
There were ten sets, the first five sets had a general selection of animals and the last five had themes; Polar animals, pedigree dogs, a Zoo, North American animals and farm animals. The tenth set was released in 1959.
Wade continued to make Whimsies after this but rather than being sold to the public they were packaged as giveaways and some even found their way into Christmas crackers as miniature gifts.
Overwhelmed by the continuing popularity Wade eventually issued a new series in 1971 which continued to be sold until 1984.
The second series of Whimsies is recognised by collectors to be less well moulded.
There is a lack of definition in the legs, feet and base which was found to be so clear and distinct in the first series.
Not all the models are hand painted as they were in the first series.
Perhaps due to this, the second series realised much lower prices than the more collectable first series.