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Wade Ceramics For Auction

Since the conception of the first Wade Whimsie in 1954, Wade pottery became an affordable genre of collectables and remains popular to this day. However, Wade Pottery’s history started back in 1810 when the firm was established Stoke-On-Trent, initially producing ceramic items for the textiles and wool spinning industries, and glass bottles for breweries. Nowadays, Wade are famous for producing advertising and promotional ceramics such as whisky decanters, teapots, and butter dishes, to name a few.

Potteries Auctions can identify and provide valuations on a wide range of Wade Pottery pieces.

Popular Wade Items at Auction

Lot 314
Ivy, a large and important Wade symbolic pottery figure from a concept created by Col. George Wade

Sold July 2023

Sale Price £4,200

Lot 619
Rare Wade cellulose clock of Bashful from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Sold February 2017

Sale Price £780

Lot 386
A rare Wade Earthenware model of an Eagle perched on a rock

Sold July 2023

Sale Price £1,400

Lot 127
Wade Salt Glazed figures

Sold March 2023

Sale Price £680

Lot 94
Wade 1950s collection of Nursery Rhyme figures

Sold July 2021

Sale Price £700

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Whether you are looking to buy or sell Wade collectables or figurines, the team of experts at Potteries Auctions can help you find the piece you are looking for, or value your items for sale.  Request a call back if you are looking for a valuation and are seeking to sell some Wade collector pieces at auction.

Wade Figures & Pottery Facts

  • The famous Wade Whimsies were introduced in as a short term marketing promotion, but became so popular that they became a signature range for the pottery. Over the years, over 300 million of the figurines have been given away with packets of Red Rose Tea since 1967!
  • Earlier Wade collectables from the 1950s and 1960s are much more valuable than the famous Whimsies.
  • Almost as well known as the Whimsies are Wade Gluggle Jugs and decanters.

The History of Wade Pottery

Originally founded by furniture maker John Wade in 1810, Wade produced products for the textile and wool spinning industry, as well as manufacturing bottles for the beer breweries in Staffordshire.  

Wade Ceramics was originally made up of three different companies founded by various members of the Wade family and was only united as Wade Potteries Limited in 1958. The original companies were:

  • Wade & Myatt (later became George Wade & Son, who made industrial ceramics and Wade Whimsies). Established 1867.
  • John Wade & Co (later became Wade Heath & Co, who made decorative ware, particularly art deco vases in the 1930s). Established 1867.
  • J&W Wade (later became AJ Wade Ltd, who made tiles, notably the original tiles for the London Underground). Established 1891.

Sir George Wade was born George Albert Wade on 19th July 1891 in Burslem. His father, also George, owned a pottery in Burslem. When George Jr returned home after the First World War, (he was awarded the MC for Valour in December 1917 with a Bar added in January 1919), his father made him a partner in the company and thereafter the company was called George Wade & Son Ltd.

Wade produced a wide range of wares, from jugs, bowls, vases, fancies, commemorative ware, moulded jugs, teapots, cheese dishes and nursery ware. In the 1920s and 30s, they released a cellulose range of Art Deco figurines designed by Jessica Van Hallen, featuring breathtaking Art Deco dancing ladies, ladies with dogs and many other figure studies. In the late 1930s, the figures were also produced in an underglaze range that today prove most popular with collectors and often fetch high prices in our rooms.

The underglaze range continued with the addition of animals and birds, and in the 1930s Wade commissioned Faust Emanuel Lang, a German sculptor who settled in St Ives, Cornwall, to design a series of wild animals and bird studies. These models that mostly appear with the Wade 1939 backstamp are the most valuable and sought after Wade figures, and in 1997 here at Potteries Auctions we sold a rare Faust Lang model of Ermine on a rock for £1700, which is a world record price for a single item of Wade pottery. We have sold many other Wade Faust Lang models over the years including the Polar Bear, Brown Bear, Panda Bear, Grebe, Panther, Parakeet, Parrot, Budgerigar and more.

In the 1930s, Art Deco jugs and shapes under the Wadeheath Flaxman ware backstamp continued to be produced into the 1940s but, following the War, the introduction of a range of comical nursery rhyme characters, animals and birds and more really captured the hearts and minds of the nation. The range was known for its animal and bird characters that became known as the George Wade moulds, comical duck families dressed in clothes, pig lady and pig gentleman cruets and kissing rabbits.

In the 1950s, Wade began working with the talented modeller William Harper, who worked on developing the now famous Wade whimsies concept which are now known and highly-sought the world over. Figures such as the British Character set, consisting of the Pearly King & Queen, Lawyer and Fishmonger, were soon followed by Walt Disney characters from the classic movie Sword and the Stone, including Madam Min, Archimedes the Owl and Merlin as a caterpillar, turtle and hare. In 1959, the Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Classics whimsies featuring the likes of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Mr Jinks, were produced for only two years, and in 1958 the popular Noddy set of Noddy, Big Ears, Mrs Fluffycat and PC Plod proved very popular and collectable.

The 1960s saw the introduction of Lady and the Tramp and Bambi characters to the Walt Disney whimsies range. Some of the characters from this series such as Bambi, Dachsie, Jock, Trusty, Thumper and Lady, to name a few, went on to be produced in a larger 5-7inch models, known as blow ups. Prices for these models are lower now than the prices achieved during the height of their popularity during the 1990s, but they are still highly collectable throughout the world today.

Nowadays, Wade are famous for producing advertising and promotional ceramics such as whisky decanters, teapots, and butter dishes, to name a few. In 1966, for example, Wade started to work with Red Rose Tea from Canada, making whimsies for their tea brand which was the start of a 50-year working relationship for both these companies. In 1968, they produced a set of small figures for Guinness using British characters such as Tony Weller, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Nelson’s Boot and the Mad Hatter. These were promotional and produced for pubs to display at the back of the bar. In 1978, under licence by Survival Anglia Ltd, Wade produced a range of wild animals named The World of Survival Series to commemorate the award-winning TV series, which were on sale at London Zoo and only produced until 1982, so there’s not too many of these around today.

In 1999, there was a management takeover from Beauford PLC and Wade ceramics again began to flourish. The company opened a brand new state-of-the-art £8million factory in 2010 in Etruria, and continue to work with many famous brands around the world today.

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Potteries Auctions can collect items for auction from anywhere in the UK, and we can also handle large collections from all over the world, so just get in touch with us to discuss.  We pride ourselves in our packing and shipping service to get goods out to purchasers, making it a perfect solution for buyers who can’t attend auctions in person.

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