Nat West Pigs – a brief history

The first thing to remember when collecting Nat West Pigs is that Wade were not the only company to produce them. But of course it is those produced by Wade of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent which were modelled by Alan Maslankowski,which have become so collectable in recent years. So remember, if your NatWest pig doesn’t actually have the incised Wade England logo or the backstamp of Wade on the base, it wasn’t made by Wade.
It was back in 1983 that the promotion began. The Natwest Bank in the UK wanting to attract youngsters to save with them came up with the idea of a family of pigs for children to collect. The collection began with baby Woody for investors who opened the account with a minimum of £5. All the rest of the collection were given away free. After six months, if the account contained at least £25 they received Annabel, and then after one year, the account needed to have grown to at least £50 to qualify for Maxwell. At eighteen months if the account contained £75 they were rewarded with Lady Hillary. Finally after two years, if the account had grown to at least £100, Sir Nathaniel Westminster was given to those who had managed to stay the course.
The offer ended in 1988 and altogether Wade produced more than 5 million pigs, relatively few children managed to complete the set – £100 was a large sum for a junior saver at that time. Consequently Sir Nathaniel was not in great demand and so fewer were produced. Today he is worth around £60 to £70. It is interesting to note that Maxwell the son, was named after Sir Robert Maxwell, the disgraced newspaper magnate. The NatWest bank did little to promote that figure, the release of which coincided with his downfall. Less were produced which now reflects on its value which is around £30 to £40.
Ten years later in 1998 NatWest once again approached Wade to add a further pig to the series and it was Ken Holmes who modelled Cousin Wesley, the sixth in the series of pigs which was released in 1999 to promote a NatWest personal savings bond for children which required an investment of £1000. Perhaps because of the high investment involved, this promotion seemed to go almost unnoticed by both collectors and investors and many people still don’t know of Cousin Wesley’s existence even though Wade produced in excess of 5000 of them. Consequently Wesley in now highly sort after by collectors who are now, belatedly becoming aware of his existence. An authentic Wesley sells for between £200 and £250.
Wade also produced 25 gold Woody’s for the NatWest Bank which were meant for the directors of the company but a small number were also given as prizes to a few lucky customers. All had certificates of authenticity with them and rarely come on the market.
Finally, Beware! There seem to be a number of counterfeit Wesley’s on offer both on the internet and at collector’s fairs. This entrepreneurial Wesley was not produced by Wade even though it carries their backstamp. He is smaller than the genuine Wesley, his colouring is different and he has larger feet. If in any doubt contact the Official Wade Collectors Centre or The Wade Collectors Club for advise and finally, remember as always buy from reputable dealers.
In 2006 Wade produced a smaller gold Woody an edition of 250 and then in 2007 a gold Annabel, a run of 400 and in 2008 there was a further Wade pig produced for NatWest. This was the all over gold Maxwell piggy bank an edition of 400. All these three gold pigs are smaller than the originals from the 80s, with a printed rather than embossed backstamp and came with a certificate of authenticity.
Continuing the piggy theme, in February 2011 Wade launched a new piggy bank line with a Lady Margaret
There is a pink colourway of Lady Margaret that was sold at the Wade Fair in Stoke-on-Trent on 3rd April 2011. This was a very limited edition of just 75 and a green version of Lord Henry which was sold at the Aylesbury show on the 2nd October 2011 again a 75 limited edition, now difficult to findand valued at between £90 and £100
Gold jacket versions of both Lord Henry and Lady Margaret have been produced, limited editions of just 6 pieces which have been used as promotional pieces through the Wade Club. There is also a light blue colourway of Lady Margaret, only 15 of these were made!
Other members of the extended family are  Master Richard and Lady Felicity. Both are being sold for £35. , 2 colourways were done of them, limited editions of 75 which were sold at the Wade Fairs throughout 2012.  A good investment and other member of the family to add to your collections.  Also look out for the special gold editions of both Master Richard and Lady Felicity, limited editions of just 6 pieces!   Richard has gold top and Felicity is all over gold!
2013 saw the introduction of the Wade Duke,  he looks rather dashing in his uniform,
To order the latest Wade pigs click here
Finally C&S have been aware of a smaller version of the Woody Pig in an all over platinum.
silver colour for some time (see picture) and are now able along with the Wade Collectors Club to show a photo of the piece for the first time. A C&S and Club exclusive. Wow. We wonder what he would sell for at auction? Produced only as samples, there are onlybelieved to be three in existence.
by David Chown

C&S Collectables.

(An Official Wade Collectors Centre)

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