Cadbury Collectibles are collectible items such as mugs, biscuit tins and soft toys associated with Cadbury – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chocolate bars.
Cadbury was founded almost two hundred years ago by affluent Quaker John Cadbury. John Cadbury opened a grocer’s shop at Bull Street, Birmingham in the 1830s. As a Quaker, J Cadbury was opposed to consuming alcohol; instead, he sold drinking chocolate, which he prepared himself using cocoa and a pestle and mortar.
By 1824, Cadbury was selling no less than 16 varieties of drinking chocolate.
Around 1900, Cadbury produced an extensive range of advertising posters and press advertisements. These ephemeral artefacts were designed to be wheat-pasted to external walls in order to draw attention to the Cadbury name and delicious product range, and are now considered highly collectible as so few survived.
In 1905 the first Cadbury logo was commissioned by William Cadbury – son of the now retired John Cadbury. At the time of the important commission, William was in Paris. Duly, he selected French designer George Auriol – who also designed the first signs for the Paris Metro – to create the first official Cadbury logo. The logo features a stylised cocoa tree interwoven with the Cadbury name.
Registered in 1911, it was used on presentation boxes, catalogues, tableware and promotional items, as well as being imprinted on the aluminium foil that was used to wrap moulded chocolate bars. Auriol’s art nouveau-inspired logo was used consistently from 1911 to 1939 and for a brief period following WWII. Cadbury items baring Auriol’s original logo are highly coveted among Cadbury collectors.
In 1921 the Cadbury script logo appears. The script logo is based on the signature of William Cadbury. Initially quite a fussy logo, it has been simplified over the years. It was first used on Cadbury’s transport fleet. It wasn’t until 1952 that it was used across major brands.
In 1928 the “glass and a half” symbol is introduced. Originally it was only used on Cadbury Dairy Milk but it has become the face of the company in recent years. 1928 also saw serious investment in advertising, particularly in promoting the Dairy Milk chocolate bar.
1955 saw the first Cadbury TV advert. It was shown on ITV’s launch night and was based on the popular panel game “Twenty Questions”. Appropriate to Cadbury’s humble beginnings in Bull Street, the advert was for drinking chocolate.
Today, Cadbury is one of the world’s largest and most well known chocolate manufacturers. It is owned by Craft Foods.
Important product launches
In 1897 Cadbury launched its first milk chocolate, utilising the cocoa butter left over from production of its cocoa essence. In 1907, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk hit the shelves. It was sold in unwrapped blocks that could be broken down into penny bars. By the beginning of the first world war, it had become Cadbury’s biggest seller.
Bourneville chocolate was launched in 1908.
In 1915, Milk Tray was launched. Milk Tray became hugely famous for its “Milk Tray Man” TV commercials, which featured mysterious, daring men taking part in death defying stunts “all because the lady loves Milk Tray…”
In 1919, Cadburys merged with J S Fry & Sons, and although the name “Fry’s Turkish Delight” remained, Fry’s Turkish Delight became a Cadbury product. The slogan “Full of Eastern promise” has been used by the company since the late 1950s.
In 1920, Dairy Milk was repackaged in purple and gold. (The colour scheme has changed very little since.)
Also in 1920, “the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate” – The Flake – was launched.
In 1929, the Crunchie bar was launched.
1938 saw the introduction of Cadbury’s Roses and no Christmas day has been the same since.
During WW2, rationing was introduced by the British government. Cadbury chocolate was duly sold in ration-sized portions. Collectible packaging from the war era bears the slogan “Cadbury’s Ration”. A single chocolate ration was little bigger than a matchbox.
In 1947, the Milk Tray Bar is launched.
In 1948, Fudge is launched.
Lucky Numbers – an assortment of chewy sweets – were introduced in 1958. The brand was retired in 1968.
Skippy launched in 1960, Aztec bar and Toffee Buttons in 1967, while Cadburys Fruit and Nut was launched alongside the almighty Curly Wurly in 1970.
1971 saw the introduction of the Cream Egg.
1981 saw Wispa introduced.
1985 saw Boost coconut hit the shelves. (The coconut flavour was discontinued in 1994.)
1987 saw the launch of Twirl.
Inspirations were launched in 1989 and retired in 1998.
In 2007, Cadbury previewed its astronomically successful “Gorilla drumming” TV ad. The ad won a raft of prizes including the prestigious Grand Prix Lion at Cannes in 2008.
Cadbury manufactured a raft of collectible promotional materials in order to promote their products, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s. Some of these products could be bought in shops or at Cadbury World - a museum and factory complex dedicated to the brand - but most were given away with chocolate Easter eggs, or consumers could collect coupons and eventually send off for a prize.
Cadbury collectibles include a vast array of mugs and tableware, pens, badges, chocolate and biscuit tins, vintage hot chocolate makers, confectionery packaging, chocolate "venging machines", money boxes, vintage advertising signs, vintage advertising posters, advertising ephemera, Cadbury Corgi miniature vans, keys rings, stationary, ceramic chocolate beans, and much much more.
Vintage fashions have come to inform modern designs. Collectors are advised to date items vary carefully as many contemporary collectables have been made to appear vintage, not necessarily to deceive, but to fit in with people's increasingly nostalgic tastes.
A Cadbury milk chocolate money box in the form of a milk churn sold for $55 at Bonhams in May 2006.
A pair of antique Cadbury chocolate and cocoa enamel signs sold for £190 at The Chippenham Auction Rooms in November 2012.
A Harrison Cadbury's Bourn-Vita, original poster circa 1935 sold for £35 at Onslows Auctioneers in June 2012.
A rare Cadbury's Cocoa pictorial enamel sign, depicting two horses pulling a carriage, 'Do Your Shopping Early', sold for £3,000 at November 2012.
An early Cadbury display case sold for $1,200 at Burley Auction Group in April 2012.