Cousin Wesley


The latest forgeries have a much larger base, measuring about 112 mm across the widest part,
instead of the correct size of 100 to 102mm. The fakes are therefore almost 0.4" or 10mm wider.

At the very least, always confirm the height, weight and width of the base before buying a Wesley
Cousin Wesley was normally available from the NatWest Bank when opening a "Children’s Bond" for a child under the age of 16, with a 5 year investment of £1000, but it is now understood that some were given away by NatWest branches in a free prize draw
in December 1998.
Only 5000 were ever made by Wade. The very fact that so few were issued has made him the prime target of forgers so great care is necessary if buying one.
Fake Cousin Wesley Fake Platinum Cousin Wesley Fake Cousin Wesley
There are so many fakes around that it is becoming a major problem determining what is and what isn't a genuine Cousin Wesley. The ones shown here are quite clearly fakes as they are completely the wrong colours, but when it comes to the current spate of forgeries they are rather more difficult to identify. Hopefully the following facts should make it a bit easier to check a Cousin Wesley for authenticity, but remember, no number of measurements can ever guarantee that you are buying the real thing.

This pink Wesley has all the correct statistics of a genuine one and is thought by Wade to be an "unfinished pig". They used to glaze the pigs and fire them once before painting them and presumably this one escaped! He must be quite a rare character.

Our many thanks to Adam for letting us use the photograhs.

• Height 5¾ inches or 146 mm.
• Weight 13 ounces or 371 gms.
• Max. width across base 4 ins or 100-102mm
• Colours - green shirt, blue trousers and hat.
• Inside should be white with no pink glazing.
• Base colour pink with a white unglazed rim.
• Backstamp Wade England.
• NatWest bung should be a good fit.
The right hand pig in both these photos is the genuine one Note how much taller he is than the fake ones.
Fake on left - genuine on right Fake on left - genuine on right


• His height is critical as all the Wade models are of the same height. The fakes are generally made from a mould which was itself made from a genuine Wesley. The clay shrinks by up to 12% when it is fired and the resultant figure is therefore smaller than the original. The original Wesley is already 12% smaller than the original Wade moulds. The fakes are between 5¼ and 5½ inches tall (133mm to 140mm).

• As the mould is smaller than the original and the clay body is quite probably thinner, the weight of the fakes is considerably less than the genuine Wesley who weighs in at around 371 gms. Fakes can weigh as little as 200 gms, but it must be recognised that the quoted weights are approximate and some slight variation must be expected. However, as the difference is considerable (over 150 gms), their weights do provide a good indication of authenticity.

• As a consequence of the shrinkage, the hole in the bottom is never the correct size and is often too large, meaning that the bung is not a good tight fit. Conversely Wade have also noticed that in some fakes the hole is far too small and it is difficult to fit the original NatWest stopper. The bung must be a nice snug fit.

• If Wesley is the correct weight and height be careful to check the maximum width of the base. The widest it should be is 102mm whereas the fakes are about 112mm wide. A lot of the latest pigs comply with most of the criteria so make sure to check the width.

• The green colour of the shirt in many of the fakes is very patchy and brush strokes can be seen. It may be so thin that the colour of the clay body can be seen through the green.The green shirt on the original Wesley is a bold solid colour.

• The pink glaze to the original Wesley was applied by spraying and there will be only the very slightest, if any, of pink overspray visible inside either of the two holes. The fakes were often partially dipped into the pink glaze, hence parts of the inside received a pink coloured glazing.

No one of these criteria, in isolation, would prove that a Cousin Wesley is or is not genuine. However, if most of the criteria are met (or not as the case may be) then they can help eliminate the obvious fakes. The only way of guaranteeing that your pig is genuine would be to have it verified by Wade.


Bearing in mind that there were only 5,000 Cousin Wesley piggy banks ever made, it is quite surprising to find how many are up for sale on the auction sites at any one time. The reason could be that many of them are not genuine.

Whilst it is quite conceivable that a first time, totally honest seller with a poor quality camera wants to sell his Wesley in a couple of days and doesn't care how much it sells for, you should seriously consider, beware and have second thoughts about auctions that can be identified with the following :-

  • Fuzzy, out of focus pictures - ask for a clearer picture.
  • Short auction times - these are generally there for a quick sale.
  • Cheap prices - a genuine Wesley would normally sell for well over £150 if not £200.
  • The same seller with more than a couple of Weslies up for sale over a short period.
  • Sellers with zero feedback.
  • A Wesley without a NatWest stopper - perhaps it won't fit!
  • Different sellers using the same descriptions in their auctions.
  • Different sellers with the same or very similar out of focus photographs.

Always ask the seller to confirm, at the very least, the height, weight and width of base before buying a Wesley.


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