When Margarete Steiff first made her jointed bear toy she could not have envisaged the universal appeal of what was later to be known as the Teddy Bear.
Someone to hear your thoughts, and hold your love, the teddy bear’s value has gone beyond that of other toys. Early Steiff bears, as do those of all of the major makers, including Merrythought, Schuco, Joy Toys and Chad Valley, now command high prices. From the early 70’s when these bears could still be bought for small sums, examples have now sold for six figures!
Knowing who and where the love came from adds greatly to value; provenance pays! The tiny scruff known as the Titanic Bear, who went down with the famous liner, is worth many times his mohair weight in gold!
The market for old bears is determined in part by the usual determinates of value-rarity, quality, brand, and visual attractiveness, but whereas condition is an important factor for other collectables, teddies battered by years of loving are still loved by investors and collectors! Battered bears pull at heart strings and pull open purse strings!
With makers located in most countries, the internet has opened up a world of access for collectors. On-line auctions have allowed buyers and sellers to meet in a global market.Â Provided Customs officers appreciate the wear and tear of affection that teddy bears, that his worn torso does not harbour illicit drugs, nor his straw stuffing a home for crop-infesting pests, then the collectors’ passion can defy the notion that money can’t buy love!