Grocery Guide

Collecting (Hoarding?) Wade Figurines from Red Rose Tea

If you have been searching for a way to indulge simultaneously your caffeine addiction and your penchant for ceramic miniatures, look no further. I myself was once faced with this challenge and am honored to share the solution: Wade Figurines from Red Rose Tea.

Since 1967, Red Rose Tea has included a Wade figurine in its 100-count boxes and for the past 20 years, I have been collecting them. I love the little damn things. I love even more that Wade continues to issue new figurines, which means my collection will theoretically never be complete and the pleasure of finding new ones in my tea boxes will never end.

My husband says Wade figurines are gateway tchotchke and the next thing you know, our apartment will be filled with Hummels. He asks me if I love the figurines as much as I love him. I sip my (Red Rose) tea and don't answer.

I first learned about Wade figurines as a child visiting my Nanny and Pop in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Pop drank Red Rose tea, and one day he opened a new box and offered me the figurine, a tiny gray rhinoceros. I couldn't believe every single box contained such a treasure.

From that point forward, I have purposefully purchased Red Rose Tea over other brands in the supermarket. Not necessarily a simple task, I assure you, for many grocery stores do not carry the larger count boxes that contain a figurine. And, of course, not every box purchased yielded a figurine new and necessary to my personal collection, nor have I been able to keep up with various series (each containing ten-plus figurines) that Wade has issued and closed over the years.

But these obstacles only invigorate me. Most of the fun is in the chase, you see, so don't bother pointing out to me I could fill in the gaps in my collection with eBay. Besides, I do really like the tea.

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Joanna O'Leary