I’M A WADE COLLECTOR by Ian Warner and Mike Posgay

Between 1997 and 2002, Wade Ceramics Limited produced a number of figurines for the International Association of Jim Beam Bottle and Specialties Club. “I’m a Wade Collector” shown in Fig. 1, was introduced at the 1998 Jim Beam/Wade Fair held in Buffalo, New York. The 7” high figurine is based on the designs of Dick Ellis, whose drawings decorate the IAJBBSC newsletters. Fig. 2 illustrates the “I’m a Wade Collector Pin” which was produced in a limited edition of 1,500 pieces. The pin measures 2-3/4” long and has the IAJBBSC logo on the back along with the signature of the designer ©1998 R.Ellis. 

Fig 1

Each year, new and renewing members of the IAJBBSC were given the pportunity to purchase a special limited edition figurine especially produced for the club by ade. In 1999, the club membership figurine was modeled on a cartoon style fox from a Dick Ellis drawing. “Renuzit” the Fox, shown in Fig. 3 measures 4” high and was a limited edition of 350 pieces. Fig. 4 shows the membership piece for the year 2000. Again this figurine was based on a Dick Ellis drawing and given the name “Smiley Ryely.” The figurine measures 4-3/4” high and was produced in a limited edition of 300 pieces. The figurine is in the form a miniature decanter with a recessed base to accommodate the cork but was not sold with the cork.

In 2000, Wade Ceramics Limited was commissioned by Glenturret Distillery to produce 1,500 pieces of the distillery mouse catcher. The cat named Towser, shown in Fig. 5, lived in the still house for nearly 24 years and caught 28,899 mice during her career. This record was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as a World Mousing Champion. Towser measures 4-1/4” high and is marked: Exclusively Designed for Glenturret Distillery, Grieff, Scotland Wade.

Ceramica, a visitor attraction at the heart of “The Potteries” located in Burslem, commissioned Wade Ceramics Limited to produce figurines for sale in the Ceramica shop. The theme of the proposed series would comprise a mother and baby animal with two models to be issued each year. Unfortunately the series was to last two years only but the four figurines that were produced have proven popular with Wade collectors. It should be noted that Ceramica is not to be mistaken for Ceramecca Enchantment Tours, who issued the figurine “I’m On My Way” in 1999. Although the names are similar, the businesses are not the same.

Fig. 6 shows ”Born Free” which was issued in April 2003. The figurine of a lioness and her cub measures 2-3/4” high by 4-5/8” long and is marked: “Born Free” Limited Edition of 250 Designed and Made Exclusively by Wade England for Ceramica. All of the figurines were issued in limited editions of 250 and had similar backstamps except for the name of the figurine which was changed for each model. ”Instinct,” shown in Fig 7, portrays a mother wolf and her cub which was issued in the fall of 2003. “Instinct” measures 3-5/8” high.

In early 2004, Ceramica issued a Whimsie size figurine of a bottle oven, a building so visible in Burslem in days gone by but now almost completely vanished with the introduction of the modern gas fired oven. Fig. 8 illustrates this small figurine which was given the name of “Billy Bottle Oven.” On the left of the picture is the original Billy Bottle Oven which was sold in the Ceramica shop and later in the Wade Factory shop. The figurine on the right was sold at the 2005 Summer Wade Fest and is marked in gold: Summer Fest 2005.

The third figurine in the animal series, shown in Fig. 9, was also issued in early 2004 and was called ”Catch of the Day.” The animal featured in this model was a mother and baby otter which measures 2” high by 4-1/4” overall. ”Pride and Joy” illustrated in Fig. 10 is the figurine of a mare and foal which measures 3-1/2” high by 5-1/4” overall. “Pride and Joy” was issued in late 2004.

The figurines illustrated are just a few of the many interesting models produced by Wade for various clubs or businesses. Items produced by Wade for the Jim Beam club were not limited to figurines. Teapots, cookie jars, decanters, and vases were also produced for sale at the various Jim Beam/Wade events.

 

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6

Fig 7

 

Fig 8

Fig9

 

  • Fig 2

 

 

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