Did you collect Whimsies and Zookies as a child?

Zookies were a set of 44 small, brightly-coloured animal figurines produced by J H Weatherby & Son Ltd of Staffordshire during the Fifties and Sixties, and out of production by 1970. Animals and birds produced include a tiger, toucan and Spaniel - and some are rarer and harder to find than others.

Look out for pristine and scarcer characters such as a fish

Averaging around 10cm (4in) high, they are chunky and were part of a trend for small, colourful figurines at the time, the most well-known being Wade’s Whimsies, which were released in 1953. Decorated by hand and glazed in a glossy glaze, colours are bright and most look like characters from children’s books. The largest figurine is the seal, which has unusual heart-shaped eyes. Also unusual is a orange and brown-striped zebra to fit with the range’s general colour scheme, rather than black and white.

Today, many are sold online and at car-boot sales. As they were inexpensive in their day, many were played with so avoid damaged examples. Look out for well-decorated, pristine and scarcer characters such as a fish, a yellow and green frog and a cat with wool ball. Prices vary, but they are largely affordable with this Zookie giraffe pictured fetching around £15 to £20.

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