I love Wade figurines. I don’t know what it is about them, but I really enjoy buying, researching, and selling them. Maybe it’s the cute little designs or the beautiful colors.
And at least I know I’m not alone. There are a lot of diehard Wade collectors out there. And you know what that means? There’s a lot of diehard Wade collectors who are willing to buy their next figurine from YOU.
This is a nice little niche to get into because it overlaps a lot of different fields. Of course you have your Wade collectors, but don’t forget about your Anglophiles (these were made in England, after all). And what about someone who LOVES penguins? There’s a Wade for that (or two or three…). What if your brother just joined the circus? Yep, Wade has a whole series of characters!
And the best part yet is that Wade figurines can make you money. Lots of money, if you know what you’re doing. Just like with costume jewelry, you probably won’t get a $100 profit off of each piece, but all the small sales will start adding it up. If you find them interesting like I do, it’ll be well worth your time!
What exactly are Wade figurines?
In 1810 a workshop called George Wade Pottery cropped up in England. It sold bottles and pieces of pottery. When this didn’t turn out to be as profitable as they had hoped, they turned their attention to ceramics. The company started making figurines and everything took off! After a little snag in the production of these cute pieces (the glaze flaked off after a while), they finally found a formula that worked.
Apparently some were used in pubs and kitchens as a way to light a match – that’s why the bottoms have ridges! These were also perfect for kids, or for adults who just loved to collect them. They started showing up in Red Rose Tea and have been a wonderful collector item since!
So, how do I buy these things?
In lots, like many small items. You’ll get the best prices that way. If you do buy them individually, make sure you don’t pay more than a dollar or two for each one. You can find these in antique stores all over the place, and they’re usually only being sold for a low amount. I think the reason why they’re so cheap in stores is because antique shops don’t have a wide audience. Selling Wades on eBay is going to be a lot more profitable.
Okay, then how do I sell them?
This is completely up to you. If you’ve got a full set, I highly recommend selling it that way. Some people like the hunt for individual pieces, but I think most would rather get them all in one place. If you’ve got individuals, you can sell them that way, too. We usually get around $8-$10 a piece for them. If you’d rather group them, try assembling a set for those in the same series or those that you think would complement each other – all cats, all bears, all people, etc.
There are some helpful websites out there that will allow you to identify the pieces. ALL Wades have a name and have a series that they belong to. This is vital information for a seller, as buyers will more than likely be looking for something specific. Here are two sites that should help get you started:
My Wades World (This site is great for figuring out names/series, but does not have a lot of pictures.)
Red Rose Tea (This site is direct from the manufacturer. They don’t have everything, but they do have pictures and names.)
(And if that doesn’t work, just Google a description of the figurine. You should be able to find something that way.)
Lastly, make sure you describe your figurine to a T. Buyers will want to make sure that there are no cracks or chips. Wades often have small irregularities called “factory flaws,” but this shouldn’t affect the sale. Make sure you mention it anyway, though. Color can sometimes be the difference between two identical designs that were actually made in different years. The colors are specific, such as “honey” versus “beige.” The more you work with them, the more you’ll be able to tell the difference.
I’ve found that the figurines will more realistic coloring (as opposed to a single solid color) sell better.
And, shipping is easy, right?
You betcha! Any tiny little box will do the trick. These aren’t super fragile, so unless someone stomps on it, it shouldn’t break in transit. It should only cost a dollar or two to ship it to anywhere in the continental US. I’d suggest including the shipping in your sell price as an added benefit for the buyer.
So, what’s the bottom line?
The bottom line is this: Wade figurines are easy to buy and easy to sell. Doing the research can be time consuming in the beginning, but once you start learning what the pieces are, it’ll be super easy. You can stock these and have multiples quantities of each, and replenish them as they sell. Your fees might start adding up if you list them all individually, though, so you might want to consider grouping them together. If you stock a lot of Wades and become known as having many different kinds, I’m sure you’ll start seeing them fly off the shelves. Wade figurines are just as popular today as they were when they first came out. The demand is there, you just have to find your buyer.