Collecting Bears Today teddy bears of all kinds are freely available everywhere, costing from a few pounds, to hundreds of pounds for an exquisite mohair collector bear.
There is no antique quite so huggable as an old teddy bear and even today, collecting old teddy bears remains an international passion.
My advice to anyone wishing to start their own teddy bear hug is buy a teddy bear collectors book available from most good bookstores, and also purchase the monthly teddy bear magazines available at your local newsagents.
Be very careful when buying old bears from fetes auctions etc, they can sometimes contain hidden pests. *See my advice for this problem on a separate blog sheet.
Of all teddy bears, Steiff bears are the most desirable among collectors as they are exceptionally well made. The first Steiff bear was made in Germany in 1902. These early bears are recognizable by a seam across the top of the head from ear to ear. Later, a metal button stud with the Steiff name in the bear's ear helped to identify the bear's origin.
Other highly collectible German bears include those manufactured by Bing, Cramer, Strunz and Schuco.
In the United Kingdom companies such as Farnell, Chiltern, Merrythought and Chad Valley, manufactured bears which have become very much in demand by collectors.
As is the case with all antiques, rarity and condition are of the highest importance and really do affect the selling price. The rarer the bear, the more desirable with collectors.
Bears with their own original tags, labels or buttons that are free from any moth damage command very high prices. Any restoration, if done professinally and correctly as invisibly as possible, does not affect the price.
These are a few points to make a note of :
• Learn the various stitching techniques used by the various teddy bear manufacturers
• A bear with plastic eyes and synthetic foot pads generally dates from the 1950/1960s
• In the first half of the 20th century, boot button or glass eyes and velvet or felt were used.
• The very early bears have a long muzzle, long arms and resemble real bears.
• Bears made after World War II have a flat face and shorter arms
• Vintage bears in other colors but blonde, golden or brown—for instance, black or white—are highly desirable.
In the end the main thing to remember is a teddy bear is there to love and care for, with experience I find any new bear wishing to join my hug shouts out "take me home" when I look into his eyes.
Enjoy your new found hobby just by following your heart.