A Teddy Bear isn't just a plaything, but a collectible for many individuals all over the world. Every Bear has its personality and mood; it really is one of a kind. Known around the globe as a “Teddy Bear”, bears are going through a renaissance. Rare types of both old and new collectable bears are real artworks that are a way to obtain pleasure for most collectors.
The collection worth of a modern Teddy depends upon many factors; however the main will be the author's work and the production volume. A charming Teddy Bear could be a wonderful gift both for a kid and an adult. It can add style to any interior; creating a warmth and homelike environment.
A Teddy Bear can be a best friend for the child, sharing in the child’s joy, and hearing probably the most heartfelt secrets of each child. He is the one who will bring a feeling of calm and protection to a small child's world. Hopefully, this happy and playful mood, which they share with you, will stay with you for a long time. Artist bears are bears developed and created by bear artist. They could be created from synthetic fur or actual fur such as for example mohair. These bears are usually for the bear collector. Exactly like the enthusiasts who collect manufactured bears such as Steiff bears, these bears are usually heirloom quality and may be passed on.
The fun thing about these bears is each artist has their own style. An extremely popular trend is miniature bears. These bears are just several inches tall and are totally handmade. Some artist make traditional design bears whilst others make very modern design bears. Price varies with each artist based on cost of components, time and energy to make, and experience. The more experience an artist gets the more popular their creations are. Lots of artist enter contests and participate in internet and personal teddy bear shows. General teddy bear artist have become extremely serious about their craft and place a lot of hard work into producing them.
Gebr BING, manufactures, and markets common teddies, dolls, trains and toys and games.
Ignaz and Adolf Bing established Gebrüder Bing in Nürnberg, Germany in 1865 as a tin and kitchenware supplier. Around 1890 the business began making enameled toys and games. In 1907 Gebrüder Bing made their initial bears, signing up for the teddy bear revolution at its elevation. To tell apart their bears, Gebrüder Bing used a steel arrow in the bear’s ear canal, with the initials G.B.N. occur in a diamond. After the tag was shifted from the ear canal to beneath the arm. Around 1920 a metal label mounted on the right arm substituted the tag. Due to Bing’s history in mechanics, it was natural they became well-known for their mechanical bears and toys and games. They ranged from bobbing-head bears to walkers, climbers, and skaters.
From 1905 to 1909 Gebrüder Bing seemed to be the “Greatest Toy Maker on earth,” employing over 6,000 skilled staff. After Ignaz Bing passed away in 1918, his boy Stephan took over the business. The next season Gebrüder Bing Nürnberg seemed to be renamed Bing-Werke. The business was very productive in the toy sector, however in 1927 the family began to separate themselves from the business enterprise. With the business in arrears by 1932, most of Bing’s resources and machinery went up for auction.
German businessman Eric Kluge features ended up at the helm of the Bing revival. He seemed to be raised from the very beginning in the toy enterprise. Bamberger Puppenwerkstätte, his mom and dads shop, needed to be operated exclusively by his mommy during World War II. His daddy was drafted in to the German Army, causing his mom because the sole shopkeeper.
The core of the business enterprise during the war seemed to be the doll repair. There have been no toys on the market from 1939 until very well after the war. Only a decade old when his father was drafted, Eric aided his mommy repair dolls that entered the shop. Right before Christmas would bring probably the most work. The most frequent repair seemed to be restringing, with elastic or elastic bands. Supplies were in limited supply.
Eric and his spouse Margot overran the doll business in 1958. This clinic provided an excellent reference for both antique dolls and teddies. This expertise is what brought Eric and Margot to finally try the Bing Revival.
Another woman would play a notable purpose in the revival of Bing. Mrs. Herman Weidlich, (spouse of a BING bear custom made) found Eric and Margot Kluge's doll shop, the Bamberger Puppenklinik. She commissioned them to market a few of her antique dolls, that actually belonged to her girl, Hilde. When these dolls were taken to them, Eric was entirely unaware of the history of the Weidlichs. It was years after, when Eric met the descendants of the Weidlich family in america, that the reality dawned. "Once we talked, I began to remember an encounter having an elderly Bamberg customer whose last name was also Weidlich. She had delivered a vintage doll to be purchased," discussed Eric. Upon his return to Germany, he learned the woman had died. He tracked down her daughter, Hilde Weidlich- Dittkowski. Hilde supported the Bing Firm and shared paintings, drawings and many stories about her daddy, Herman Weidlich, and her grandfather, Kunz Weidlich. She consented to permit the utilisation of these resources in ways the Bing organization saw fit.
Borrowing from the past, the many offerings which were produced by the brand new “Bing" show the business's genuine effort to regenerate quality, not quantity! Benefit from the products and experience a number of the newly created Bings.
The Jakas company began producing teddy bears in the late 1950s, in Melbourne.
1950s-The earliest teddies were distinctively different to those made from the 1960s on-wards. Fully jointed, and with brown glass eyes, they were made from a wool/synthetic fabric, with woven fabric for the pads (possibly being reversed pieces of the body material). The label was machine-stitched on beige fabric, reading JAKAS TOYS/ WASH IN LUX.
Teddies produced from the 1960s to the 1980s have a distinctive look, and can more easily be recognised and dated, according to their labels, fabrics and look.
1962-One of the most recognised teddies in Australia would be Big Ted from the longest running childrens television show, Play School. Big Ted was produced by Jakas and has the outstretched arms and face that were to become synonymous with Jakas. He has plastic lock-in eyes, pioneered by Wendy Boston, which met the newly-introduced government regulations for child safety. His label, as do the other teddies made at this time, would read JAKAS TOYS/WASH IN LUKEWARM LUX, embroidered in red on a white background. Foam-filled, he is able to be fully submerged, which allows him to be hygienically washed. The teddy shown in the featured picture is also a 1960s teddy.
These unjointed teddies were produced in a range of sizes, from 15 cm, which included a satin hanging ribbbon, for attaching to a cot or bassinette. The majority were made in shades of beige, yellow or orange, though blue, pink, and other colours were also manufactured.
1970s-This teddy was made in the late 1970s. His face is very similar to those of the 1960s, with the small, black vertically-stitched nose and small, straight mouth. This sheild-shaped nose and mouth are distinctive to the company. The fabric has a shorter pile, but is also a synthetic plush. As can be seen, his head is round, with a flat muzzle. He was made, as most Jakas teddies of this time were, in the seated position, with arms outstretched. He doesnt have any pads. and is 32cm tall. His label reads JAKAS TOYS, sewn onto the inside of his right leg, embroidered in red on white cotton.
1980s-The fabric used at this time, and for this teddy, had a longer pile, and so teddies produced during the 1980s appear more fluffy than earlier versions. This example also has a smile, whereas most others retained the horizontal mouth. His tags reads JAKAS TOYS, printed in red ink on a white background.
1989-Jakas also produced a limited edition range of high quality synthetic toys and teddies, to compete with the influx of cheaper Asian imports, by offering quality for discerning buyers. This included a pussy cat with a lovely smiling face, and of wonderful quality. Her eyes are high-quality plastic, and she has embroidered features. The pink plush used for her body is woven-backed, and very thick. Pads are of pink cotton. Her tag reads JAKAS SOFT TOYS/MELBOURNE-AUSTRALIA, with the Made in Australia symbol on the right hand side, and is printed in green ink on white.
1990-A limited edition of mohair teddies was also produced in this year. These teddies are quite hard to find.
In the early 1970s, Joy Toys was competing in a changed market. The removal of tariffs meant that toys produced more cheaply in Asia were able to flood the market, and this led to the closure of a large proportion of what had previously been very successful Australian toy companies.
This catalogue, produced in about 1971-3, illustrates the changing production that Joy Toys undertook, to try and remain in business. It was a time of transition, from the more expensive and labour-intensive quality of the 1920s-60s, to cheaper, synthetic (and more competitive) toy production.
The range of teddies shows that the company still produced their quality mohair, jointed teddies. Each had brown velour pads, glass eyes, and the Joy Toys embroidered smiling mouth. This traditional style of teddy came in five sizes. Along side these bears, were the unjointed synthetic teddies and pandas. In bright colours and with plastic google eyes, they could be offered for sale at a much lower price. Other versions of this style had long, tipped synthetic fur. Interestingly, the smaller teddy and panda, with outstretched arms, were sold in clear plastic cylinders!
The company also produced a range of animals. Giraffes were available in sizes from 41cm to 117cm, with a similar 'look' to those made in the 1950s, but with slightly different materials and with plastic (not glass) eyes. Lions and tigers, donkeys (from 32-104cm), cats, dogs, ducks, kangaroos and chickens in various styles were also offered, as was a golly.
Novelty toys were popular. Pouffes were made in a range of animals, in colourful synthetic fabrics, with plastic eyes and were solidly foam-filled. Wheeled ride-on animals, in sizes from 38-53cm, could also be used as walkers or pre-walkers. These were mostly animals, with the additional of a train! Similar to the 1950s and 60s versions, they had plastic eyes though, and red or purple tags.
Joy Toys, unfortunately, was unable to remain in business, and closed in 1976.
** The Sandown Toy Collectors' Fair**
Sunday, May 6th, Sandown Race Course, Melbourne: 9am-3pm*
(*small admission fee)
We have decided to sell some of our collection of teddies and soft toys at this fair! We will be selling many toys by Joy Toys, Verna, Emil, Jakas, and Lindee, as well as many very old koalas, teddies and toys by Steiff, Hermann, (etc) and the very earliest Humphreys! (All will be at reasonable prices). If you are able to come along, please feel free to say 'hi'-we'll be the ones behind the table full of old soft toys!
The Schreyer Toy Company, more commonly known as Schuco, flourished during the first half of the twentieth century. It was founded in 1912 by Heinrich Muller who, after an apprenticeship with Gebruder Bing (toymakers), began his toy company with Heinrich Schreyer.
In 1913 Schreyer introduced it’s first range of soft toys, which were wheeled animals, one of which was a bear. It was very successful however the two owners were conscripted into the military after the outbreak of WW1, which closed the factory in 1914.
After the war, Muller recommenced the business, with a textile merchant, Adolf Kahn, in 1919.
In 1921, the trade name ‘Schuco’ was registered. Schuco also launched the highly successful ‘Yes/No’ bear in the same year. This bear’s little tail was a lever which moved his head left and right, and up and down. He spawned a huge range of toys using the same principle, for the next fifty five years, until the factory ceased production!
Schuco also produced many other novelty bears during the 1920s, often incorporating mechanical workings. The miniature range became one of it’s most popular ranges, each of which had a mohair covering over a metal frame, little felt paws and were only 6cm tall. The little bears appealed to children and also to women when the variety was extended to a range of accessories, including teddies which concealed a lipstick, perfume or a mirror.
The Second World War again closed the factory for toy production, and the buildings suffered several bombing attacks. The factory recovered after the war, though, and was able to export large orders to the U.S. Schuco teddies from the 1950s-60s are known for their large ears and big eyes, and it is this cute look that added to their success, and their appeal to collectors today. Another very successful range from the 1960s was the ‘Bigo Bello’ series, of teddies and animals with happy, animated eyes, partially dressed, and which included ‘soccer player’ teddies, bunnies and pussy cats.
From 1965, several factors caused the closure of many of the major teddy factories, including Schuco. It had experienced a sharp decline in sales of its tin toy range, due to competition from the budget-priced Japanese toy makers. Whilst the teddy bear arm of the factory continued to do well, it ultimately wasn’t able to keep the rest of the company buoyant, and Schuco declared bankruptcy in 1976.
Pre-WW2:’Made in Germany DRGM’
Post WW2:’ Made In US Zone, Germany’
Bigo-Bello range-‘Schuco Made in Western-Germany(/Reverse)bigo-bello/HEGI-PRODUXTION….
The Merrythought toy factory was opened in 1930 in Shropshire, England by two business partners in a spinning mill, H. Lawton and W. Holmes. The mill produced mohair yarn and so the toy factory was established to produce toys from this yarn. Florence Attwood (from the Chad Valley factory) became the head designer until her death in 1949. Merrythought was a very successful company from its inception, moving to larger premises on 1931, and is still in operation today from this factory! The word ‘Merrythought’ is an old English word for ‘wishbone’.
The first teddy bears were produced in 1930, from mohair, and with a long snout and soft-stuffed. In 1931 the original Merrythought teddies were also created in a range of artificial silk colours, amd in ten different sizes of mohair! Most of the work was hand-done, and the facial features, paw embroidery and stuffing are still completed by hand today.
During the early 1930s a range of animals was also made, including the Lawson Wood monkey. Now a famous example of Merrythought’s ingenuity, this monkey has a moulded face designed by the artist. The Bingie range of bears was also brought into production at this time. Bingie was firstly a sitting cub, then a movable bear with jointed legs, and in 1933 more versions were added, wearing a variety of costumes, such as a sailor.
The factory became, during the 1930s, the largest producer of soft toys in England. WW2 halted production, though, when the factory was acquired for the war effort, and was responsible for making maps, and the company itself assisted the war effort by producing such items as gas mask bags.
Production began again in 1946. As materials were scarce, designs were altered accordingly to accommodate for this. The ‘print teddy’, for example, incorporated a fabric body with a mohair head, so as to reduce the amount of mohair used, which was in short supply. In 1971 synthetic plush was used for the first time.
During the 1950s, many Walt Disney characters were produced as soft toys by Merrythought. The Winnie The Pooh range was very successful, and was made until 1980.
One of the most popular ranges has been the Cheeky bears. First created and exhibited at a trade fair in 1956, he is very distinctive with his large head, velvet muzzle and wide smile! Â The first Cheekies were made of mohair, stuffed with kapok and featured bells in their ears. Nylon versions were first produced in 196o. Other Cheeky characters were created, including glove puppets and muffs.
Merrythought teddies are highly collectable and early versions can command high prices.
Earliest labels (1930s)-‘MADE IN ENGLAND BY/MERRYTHOUGHT/LTD
1930s-57-‘MERRYTHOUGHT/HYGIENIC TOYS/MADE IN ENGLAND
1957-1991 Cheeky label-‘MERRYTHOUGHT/IRONBRIDGE SHROPS/MADE IN ENGLAND
Florence Upton first published her book ‘The Adventures of the Two Dutch Dolls’ in 1895, which told the story of her two wooden dolls and their friend, a black rag doll, given to her by her Nana. (These black dolls were popular toys for Egyptian children at that time, and were brought back to England by British troops stationed in Eygpt in the latter part of the 19th Century). Florence painted all the artwork for her book, and her mother, Bertha, wrote the verses. It was very successful, and inspired the two women to publish a further 12 books.
Her name for her black doll, ‘Gollywogg’, and its appearance, were soon widely copied. Golly dolls became a popular toy.
The popularity of gollies also saw many other related merchandise being produced in the 1900s-1920s, including playing cards, crockery and perfume bottles, all of which are now rare to find, and command high prices.
The earliest gollies were generally hand-made, and had noses which were protruding, and stitched separately onto the face. Linen buttons were often used for the eyes. Hair was made from real fur.
Steiff, though, made a commercial range. These smiling dolls were first produced in 1908, until 1917. Many were fully jointed, with felt clothes. The eyes were black shoebuttons, with orange, then white, felt backing. The nose was made of protruding black felt, with the hair being tufted black hohair. Steiff’s renowned attention to detail was shown in such touches as the gold buttons on the blue velvet jacket, and gloved hands, each with five fingers.
Later, the gollies had flat faces, and were produced by many companies. In the 1950s, buttons were often used as the eyes. The hair was wool, plush, or a mohair blend, and the clothes consisted of a pair of striped trousers, bow tie, vest and jacket. The body often was produced from felt or cotton, the nose simply two stitches, and the mouth was of red felt. Merrythought made a range at this time, though by the 1960s, many firms had also produced ranges, that are now very collectable.
1960s gollies were cut from synthetic fabrics, and often had plastic ‘google’ eyes. Wendy Boston gollies were distinctive with their expressive white eyebrows amd round eyes made from layers of white and black felt. Made from velvet and cotton, ‘all-in-one’, and with foam stuffing, each did not have removable clothes.
In Australia, Joy Toys and Jakas both made popular ranges of gollies. Joy Toys gollies from the 1960s had happy vinyl faces, with short fuzzy hair, and are very sought-after.
Due to negative publicity in the 1970s and 80s, popularity temporarily declined, however gollies had a resurgence in the 1990s, and continue to be very collectable.
Early Steiff golly:$20,000-$30,000
Wendy Boston (1960s)-$60-$80
Joy Toys (1960s)-$60-$100
The Barton Waugh company produced a range of soft toys in Hurstville, Sydney, from the late 1940s till the late 1960s. Predominately a teddy bear company, it also made a small range of dogs and other plush toys.
The Barton Waugh 'Bruno' was the most distinctive pattern. Created in many sizes, from 30cm to 182cm, Bruno is now almost never labelled, as each was only identified, when leaving the factory, with a cardboard swing tag. Consequently, many remain unidentified. There are, though, several distinguishing features.
Bruno had a chubby head, with a long rather than round head. The ears were cut in the same piece of fabric as the panels of the head, and so were not attached later as separate features.
The nose was embroidered from black embroidery thread in an inverted triangle shape, with the mouth being an inverted curved 'V'.
Another distinctive feature is the paw pads. These were made from dark brown leatherette, and which were pointed at the front of each foot.
Glass eyes were used, as Bruno was produced before it became mandatory for safety eyes to be used in children's toys. These were shades of brown, with black pupils.
As his stuffing was kapok, he was comparatively heavy. This silky cottonwool-like fibre was packed in quite firmly and so weighed far more than woodwool or foam rubber.
The fur used was mohair plush, though the quality is questionable as most Bruno teddy bears have lost a large percentage of their fur. It is common for Brunos to now be quite bald!
Reflecting changes in social views of child safety and of household modernisation, the Wendy Boston soft toy company developed the modern washable teddy bear.
Wendy and her husband, Ken Williams, began the company soon after WW2 (1945), in South Wales. The factory then expanded in 1948.
The Wendy Boston company was known for its unjointed teddy bears with their arms outstretched. The other distinctive feature was the invention of screw-locked plastic eyes, in 1948. These were amber-coloured plastic with a small black pupil, and fixed in place by a screw-locked nut on a bolt behind the pupil. This revolutionized the safety of teddy bears, as traditional glass or shoe button eyes posed a danger to small children, if pulled out and swallowed.
The earliest bears were made of mohair plush. However, in 1954 Wendy Boston produced the first fully washable teddy bear, made from synthetic fabrics and stuffed with moulded or granulated foam rubber. Later, though, foam rubber was found to be a fire hazard which emitted toxic fumes when alight.
Hygiene had been promoted throughout the 1930s and 40s, and so a washable teddy was enthusiastically embraced by parents, and so was widely copied by other manufacturers!
In 1960 the company name was changed to Wendy Boston Playsafe Toys Ltd. During the 1960s it produced one quarter of the UK's soft toy exports. In 1968, the company was bought by Denys Fisher Toys ( Palitoy), but was unable to compete in a changing market, closing in 1976.
1955: 'PLAYSAFE TOY/Made in GT. BRITAIN/ by WENDY BOSTON' (printed).
1960s:'WENDY BOSTON/Made in England/Wash in lukewarm suds' (printed on satin).
1972:'WENDY BOSTON/PLAYSAFE TOY' (printed on satin).