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Wade Potteries Miniature Porcelain Buildings for Wade Whimsey Villages

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Why Knot Inn miniature cottage from the Whimsey on Why collection by Wade England.

Why Knot Inn Cottage, one of thirty six buildings in Wade England's Whimsey on Why village collection.

Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

The Wade potteries in England and Ireland produced several series of miniature village collectibles in porcelain between 1980 and 1998. Standing 1 1/4 inches tall, 3/4 inch deep and 1 to 2 inches wide, the buildings in all of these series are highly collectible. The buildings can be combined to make rows of houses and have highly detailed molded roofs, mainly unglazed. The detail on the buildings is created by using fired on enamel transfers. Like the main Wade Whimsies, these collectibles were originally priced for a few dollars each. The rarer ones in the range are now worth over $200.

Boxes and show cards for the various series are also collectible, ranging in price from $8 to $20.

Whimsey on Why

The main series of small porcelain buildings come from the Whimsey on Why series produced between 1980 and 1988 which were sold as individual buildings on cards, or in boxed sets of 8 (except for set five) with a collectors show card base. Each building design includes a number signifying the position of the building in the various series. The buildings are marked Wade England on the base. The show cards have roads and positions for the houses mapped out with a rural backdrop. The various show cards in each set fit together to form an entire village. The village buildings themselves were repeated in several of the series with a different transfer design, so the Whimsey on Why church St. Sebastian's is similar to the Whimsey in the Vale church, although the Whimsey in the Vale series is not numbered.

The most sought after piece individual piece in the Whimsey on Why series is the #16 The Windmill from set two. The windmill has a moveable set of sails. Its value is now over $100. The windmill does not bear the Wade England marking on its base. Other pieces range between $10 and $35 with exceptions being the police station and the vicarage which often sell for between $60 and $90 (2009).

Key Collectibles have produced a limited set of figures based on the popularity of the Whimsey on Why collectibles. Limited editions of "The People from Whimsey on Why, include the butcher, the fireman and the vicar.

Whimsey on Why Buildings and Sets

  • Set 1(1980 - 1981) #1 Pump Cottage, #2 Morgan's the Chemist, #3 Dr. Healer's House, #4 Tobacconist Shop, #5 Why Knott Inn, #6 Bloodshott Hall, #7 St. Sebastian's Church, #8 The Barley Mow Pub.
  • Set 2 (1981- 1982) #9 Greengrocer's Shop, #10 Antique Shop, #11 Whimsey Service Station, #12 Post Office, #13 Whimsey School, #14 Water Mill, #15 The Stagg Hotel, #16 Windmill.
  • Set 3 (1982- 1983) #17 Tinker's Nook, #18 Whimsey Station, #19 Merryweather Farm, #20 The Vicarage, #21 Broomyshaw Cottage, #22 The Sweet Shop, #23 Briar Row, #24 The Manor.
  • Set 4 (1984- 1985) #25 The District Bank, #26 The Old Smithy, #27 The Picture Palace, #28 The Butcher Shop, #29 The Barber Shop, #30 Miss Prune's House, #31 The Fire Station, #32 The Market Hall.
  • Set 5 (1987 – 1988) #33 The School Teacher's House, #34 The Fishmonger's Shop, #35 The Police Station, #36 The Library.

Wade Bally Whim

The Bally Whim Irish Village was produced by Wade Ireland from 1984 to 1987. Wade Bally Whim buildings are marked on the bottom Wade Ireland. The eight houses in this set are numbered, similar to the Whimsey on Why series, and a collectors card base was issued with the boxed set. Current pricing (2009) range from $10 - $30.

  • Bally Whim Buildings: #1 The Undertakers House, #2 Moores Post Office, #3 Barney Flynn's Cottage, #4 Kate's Cottage, #5 The Dentist's House, #6 Mick Murphy's Bar, #7 W. Ryan's Hardware Store, #8 Bally-Whim House.

Whimsey in the Vale

Is a series of ten houses issued in 1993 using the same molds as Whimsey on Why. The village was issued in two sets containing five buildings which are not numbered, differentiating them from the Whimsey on Why series. All buildings in the Whimsey in the Vale series also differ from the Whimsey on Why series in having figures of residents on the outside of the buildings. The series consists of Rose cottage, The Post Office, The Florist, St. Lawrence's Church, St. John's School, The Town Garage, The Antique Shop, The Boar's Head Pub, Jubilee Terrace, and Vale Farm.

The Whimsey in the Vale buildings were sold individually in boxes instead of on cards and no show or display cards were produced for them as a set. Current pricing (2009) $40 each building.

Special Building Series Commissions

Mini Mansions - San Francisco Painted Ladies

A boxed set of five San Francisco painted ladies and a cable car were commissioned by Iris Carryer under the name of Carryer Craft of California. (Iris Carryer , the eldest daughter of George Wade, commissioned the set when she moved to California.)

Brighton Pavilion Series Three buildings making up the Brighton Pavilion were commissioned in 1988 by the Brighton Pavilion Gift Shop and are now considered rare (selling for $200 and up a set). These buildings are unmarked.

The Coronation Street Series

Three buildings were commissioned in 1998- 1999 by Granada Television Studios. The three buildings in the series are the Rover's Return Pub, The Duckworth's House and the Corner Shop. These buildings were sold on individual cards.

Village of the Broadlands

A set of five houses were produced in 1998 for Tom Smith and Company Ltd. for inclusion in their Christmas Cracker range. Individual buildings now sell for $90 - $125 in good condition. The set of five consists of: The Pink House, the Village Store, The Chapel, the Coach House Garage, and Rose Cottage.

Good sites to check for photos of the various village buildings and sets include: Happy Wade-ing and Your Miniatures Bally Whim Page and Whimsey on Why page.

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