When I was young, you used to get little toys and gifts in different products.
- little puzzles and toys in boxes of cereal
- little porcelain animals – Wade Whimsies in Roses Tea
- little charms in coffee (you could send away for a charm bracelet to put them on)
- different things under the caps of glass Coca Cola bottles. You would usually then stick them onto a collector’s card and send it away when it was full to receive a voucher.
There was lots of trading done in the playground at school, with everyone after the rarities.
My family still collect Wade Whimsies and have so many different kinds. I have a couple of cats in my printer’s tray but the rest of my collection went to my cousins.
Even now, when I find unusual ones at flea markets I send them photos to see who needs them for their collection. It is nice to share in the hobby with my loved ones even though we are literally half a world away from each other.
When they originally came as little gifts in tea boxes, there was a limited range of about a dozen animals. I have discovered, however, that there is a huge range of figurines, in different series. For example, Noah’s Ark!
And these (from a now-defunct eBay shop called Valuable Wade Figurines)
My cousin has this book, which shows every item ever made, and in all the colourways.
This summer and autumn I have found some nice ones for my family, at very low prices.