By David Chown
With the success of Wade Whimsies in the 1960′s which had helped the company climb out of an industrial slump, 1976 saw the launch of a new line of collectable from Wade. Known as Whoppas, these
solid, pressed, porcelain figures were somewhat larger and heavier than the whimsie. All 15 were modelled by Fred Mellor, a superb artist who worked for Wade for some 20 years during the 70′s and
80′s. Whoppas were never as successful as the Whimsies perhaps because of the higher retail price or maybe because the market had already been swamped with whimsies. Although not an instant success,
they did eventually become popular with collectors.
Three sets of five figures costing 65 pence per box were produced between 1976 and 1981
Set one which was presented in an orange box consisted of a polar bear, a hippo, a brown bear, a tiger and an elephant.
Set two, in green boxes were a bison, a wolf, a bobcat, a chipmunk and a racoon.
Set three, in brown boxes had a fox, a badger, an otter, a stoat and a hedgehog.
In 1981 Wade withdrew the Whoppas from retail in the UK but all fifteen were soon to be found again in the same year for a dollar each in Canada’s Red Rose Tea marketed as their Collector Edition. This promotion was of short duration, lasting only until the end of the same year.
Whoppas are now worth between £10 and £20 each except for the fox, the hedgehog and the badger which are more difficult to find and cost between £22 and £25 each, if perfect and from a reputable dealer.
Wade Whoppas have established themselves as amongst the most recognizable and collectable items that Wade ever produced and can still be found very reasonably priced at fairs and car boot sales. A collection of Whoppas are not only a good investment but display well in a cabinet with other Wade items so keep a look out for Wade Whoppas!
©2003 C&S Collectables Direc Ltd
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