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STORIES OLD TEDDY BEARS TELL

August 2012                                         by Terry & Doris Michaud
 
BEARS REPEATING chapter summary
 

TEDDY BEARS WITH A SECRET

Our book review this month is appropriately titled Teddy Bears with

a Secret, and is a review of several chapters from our book, as there are

a number of teddies from our collection with a secret to share.


We start with the chapter headed "A Sweet Bear in every Respect" which shares the story of a most unusual bear we discovered in England many years ago. We had the pleasure of staying in a Bed & Breakfast that was operated by a couple who also dealt in antiques. They had a booth at an antique mall, and they provided us with some inside information on where to hunt for teddy bears! One of the places they sent us was to a small doll show at a hotel that was not normally attended by tourists from "the colonies." Nevertheless, we discovered on arriving that it was in fact well known to local collectors, so we were taken back a bit to see a long line of collectors waiting to get in.


While we did spot a teddy or two with price tags a bit high for our budget, we were nearly through the small show when Doris spotted an unusual teddy. It was in a seated position with arms and legs that were fixed rather than jointed, and when she picked it up she discovered that the head was held in place by a magnet. The body was actually a tin container, and the base was marked 'ORIGI - ges. Gesch. Reg."

The dealer knew nothing and was in fact somewhat reluctant to sell it, but a hefty sum of Pounds Sterling convinced him, and the bear returned home with us. A German friend was able to tell us that our little prize was actually a candy container, and she recalled that it actually had a ruff around the neck, which Doris subsequently added to it.

An innocent looking teddy with a sweet surprise.

Remove teddy's head to discover candy treats!

This teddy loves Animal Crackers.

Teddy's treats can be retrieved from a zippered back compartment.

"An All Consuming Hunger" is a chapter that highlights a discovery we made at one of our favorite shows. It is called the Chicago Toy Show, and takes place several times a year at the fairgrounds in St. Charles, Illinois. Back in the days when we set up at shows, this was one of our favorites, as it was a show that offered toys and dolls from all over the country - and indeed, with a number of foreign dealers in attendance. We were always torn between getting our booth set up to take advantage of early sales, or setting it aside and making the rounds as other dealers were unpacking. In most instances, we took turns. Doris is one of those methodical shoppers that takes her time to check out every last item, while I tend to hit the ground running to cover the entire show quickly so I don't miss a "sleeper" - that special item that carries an extremely low price - a rarity, indeed.
It was at the St. Charles show a number of years ago when I spotted what first appeared to be a "bag" bear - that is, a non-jointed simply constructed teddy. I would normally pass on such a bear, but this one had two things going for it - it was in vintage mohair, and it had a most unusual mouth. When I paused long enough to check it out, I soon discovered that the head tilted back to open the mouth wide, exposing a metal cavity opening, and the back had a zippered compartment to allow you to retrieve whatever you fed the bear (hopefully something solid, not liquid!). Needless to say, he joined our collection, and further research showed that it was marketed in 1935 as the Feed Me Bear. A photo of the original showed him with a bib that said "feed Me" so Doris created a proper bib for the bear.



 

Terry & Doris Michaud

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