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Some nights I sleep with Bobby, Teddy and Fred - and all in one bed!
Member Name: Sexy Kay
Date: 27/02/01, updated on 27/02/01 (558 review reads)
Advantages: Good investments
Disadvantages: None really, they are quite harmless
I blush to tell you this but some nights I sleep with Bobby, Teddy and Fred. We all fit nicely into my king size bed and they have come to know me quite intimately. I tell them some of my secrets and love them all. Yes, they are my teddy bears. Well, a girl needs company if her man (and first reserve) are away on business.
I have been collecting teddy bears since I was little, but I'm a bit fussy (honestly), and only the three mentioned get to sleep with me.
I'm not sure how many bears I have. Some are on display in my bedroom while others are hiding away in boxes waiting for the next picnic. I don't know what first attracted me to teddy bears. I think it was initially just because they looked cuddly and friendly. Just like number one boyfriend.
I'm fascinated by the whole teddy story and the fact that some of my collection are quite valuable. I was offered over £500 for a white, mohair German bear I have. It's old and was probably made about 1910. A German Steif bear from the 1920's sold at auction for over £50,000. Unfortunately I don't have one of those hidden away but I'll keep on looking round the markets, second hand shops and such like.
The teddy bear story started back in the early 1900's. There are two versions of how they came about.
The first is that of a German soft toy maker, Margarete Steiff. She was persuded to make a bear by her nephew, Richard. He thought it could become a boy's alternative to a doll. The bear was called 'Friend Petz' and first went on display at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903. It didn't have much interest until an American importer ordered 3000 for the USA market. Incredibly by the time of the 1907 same toy fair 974,000 bears had been produced.
The other story is regarding Teddy Roosevelt, the 25th American President. He was on a bear hunt but refused to shoot a tethered bear that had been captured. This becam
e headline news in the USA newspapers. A Morris Michtom read this with interest and thought that bears would make good toys. He got the permission of the President to call it 'Teddy's Bear' and so the present day name came about. This is now known in collecting circles as the Michtom Teddy.
The early bears have a hump on their back and have jointed arms, legs and head. They were stuffed with straw and had button eyes and came complete with a 'growl'. A lot of men also have these if you touch their stomachs.
It is possible to tell the age of a teddy by its shape and appearance as this has evolved gradually over the years. It's not always the case though as some manufacturers make bears in old styles just to confuse us collectors. It's usually the old bears that are most collectable and therefore of greater value.
Over the years the humps disappeared and the legs became shorter and thicker. German and English bears of the 1930's differ in looks with our version being softer and rounder.
Around the time of the first world war the British teddy trade came about, mainly with Chad Valley who had already established itself as a toy maker while German imports were banned. The Chad Valley bears also had metal trade buttons stitched to one ear. Steiff first introduced this to their products in 1905.
My favourite bear is the American Knickerbocker from the 1940's. I like the way it looks with it's large round head and relatively flat snubbed muzzle. These are filled with kapok giving them a nice feel and shape and are covered with a mohair fabric. To identify them there is a label with a horseshoe containing the figure of a child adjoined to the tummy seam.
There is a lot to teddy hunting and collecting. Here is my very quick potted history of the early years.
•First Michtom Teddy: 53cm tall, thin arms and legs, pale flat paws with black
•Steiff bears came in to production: hump on back with jointed legs & arms and stuffed with straw.
•Steiff trade button introduced in 1905.
•The song 'The Teddy Bear's Picnic' first played.
•Steiff hump gradually disappeared, muzzle became shorter and had generally a friendlier look.
•Steiff bears now stuffed with kapok.
•Chad Valley teddies made in UK with trade buttons in ears.
•Glass eyes introduced.
•First white Steiff bear in 1921: 38cm tall.
•Rupert and Winnie the Pooh came to the scene.
•Merrythought bears started being made with a wishbone trademark on a celluloid button, pads were made of simulated leather.
•Chad Valley, Merrythought and Chiltern bears became very popular.
•World War Two saw bears with short mohair pile and leather noses.
•Knickerbocker bears started being made in America with large heads and a softer shape.
•Safety eyes introduced in the UK in 1948.
•Polar bears very popular based on real bears born in London Zoo.
•Newer, brighter bears everywhere now made of synthetic materials.
•Merrythought first made the Cheeky bears range: broad faces, velvet noses and safety eyes.
•Pedigree bears introduced with jointed limbs, brown velvet pads and glass eyes.
There is much more I could add to the list but I don't want to bore you too much, well no more than usual.
Tonight it is going to be just me Bobby and Teddy. Fred had been naughty. But three can still be fun! Mustn't be greedy.
You may possibly mock my teddy bear collecting but hunting down the right ones can prove to be a very good investment.
"Now Bobby and Teddy what I want you to do is ..."
"What was that Fred?"
>"OK I forgive you. You can join in as well".
It's going to be a long night ... a girl's got to have her fantasies!