Online, Monthly Teddy Bear Magazine
Teddy Bear & Vintage Toy Appraisals
June 2019

Introduction . . .

 

I am now honored to reach out to the collectors and owners
of unidentified bears, stuffed animals and vintage toys.

Ken did this for years and was an expert appraiser. I was his understudy or apprentice and together we viewed and enjoyed each and every request that came our way.

Appraising bears online will be a fun adventure for all of us. We will share our discoveries here on this web page.

Meeting new faces, in teddy bear form, and sharing the knowledge I have gathered, will be a joy. Together we can discover that everything old can be newly appreciated!


Beary best,
Brenda Yenke
                      

How much is your beloved bear worth?


Cursor down to discover the appraisal procedure.

Brenda,
I have a bear that is 14" high, two tone color with a squeeze box music box inside. It as my father-in-laws when he was a child. it is late 1920s or early30s I am guessing.
Sincerely,
Michael
Hi Michael,
What a wonderful heirloom teddy from your father-in-law! He is a German musical teddy bear, from the Joseph Pitrmann factory, in Nuremberg. They were founded in 1910, with the trademark of “Jopi”, established in 1921. They ceased operating in the 1960s, with a final showing at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959. Known for quality products, the tipped mohair as your teddy exhihibits, was quite the rage of the 1920s. They were also known for their musical squeeze boxes, or concertina, with the bellows stimulated by a gentle continuous motion. These are large devices, occupying most of the tummy area. Your teddy is in very good condition with some thinning to the mohair, and the loss of one ear. An accomplished teddy bear artist may be able to recreate a left ear, or perhaps a simple lace could be used for an adornment. The pads are wool felt, he is stuffed with excelsior and is five way jointed. The glass eyes are larger than normal, creating
a very adorable look. The nose and mouth are hand sewn cord, and is in perfect condition. At the time he was made, ribbons were attached to the neck area as well. If you have any pictures of him with the original owner, especially as a child, this would add to value and be referred to as provenance. A very exquisite bear, the value today for your 14” Jopi would be $850.00.
Brenda

Hi Brenda,

 

This bear is 21 inches and came from the same person; European as the bear below.


Thanks for letting me know who he is.
Lisa

Hi Lisa,
This teddy bear has a longer pile mohair, with the similar trait of the sliced in ear. He is a German bear, from the Alvin Kiesewetter factory located tin Coburg. They formed originally in 1907, and a trademark was developed in 1921, “AlKiCo”. From the Teddy Bear Encyclopedia, Cieslik authors, a similar bear to yours is captured in a 1920 ad. I think he dates to this period, after WWI, with exporting a major advantage. The cord nose and claws are in good condition, while the arms are low on the shoulders. The current eyes are replacements, as the original were amber glass simply inserted into the head, on wire shanks and could easily be removed. The pads are also recovered. He is hand closed seam is in the back of the body, with excelsior being the stuffing. At 21”, this is considered a larger bear, with a value of $300.00. Your provenance helps with the values, creating background stories!
Brenda

Hello,
This little guy is 13" tall and is well over 100 years old. My hometown was mainly folks of German, Swedish and Danish decent.
Thank you,
Lisa

Hi Lisa,
Your smaller teddy at 13” is made of very short bristle mohair and has arms that are a bit shorter than the legs. American teddies dating to this era, 1914, experienced stiff competition from the European counterparts. He does have the front closure as many of the imports had, and that was to accommodate voice boxes. Some had growlers, some squeeze boxes and others were apeechless! The cord nose and inverted Y extension mouth are in excellent condition, along with the three claws on each limb. The felt hands and feet have been recovered, as most of the American models had a lesser grade of wool felt, showing wear. The eyes appear to be a flat piece of fabric, replacing the original glass eyes that would have been simply on a wire shank and inserted into the head. The sliced in ears were a trait for a few American companies, a cost saving method to insure faster production. The year of the teddy boom was 1907- and it continued for several years. I think this mohair was actually produced in the States, another cost saving practice. His arms are set rather high on the body, and excelsior is the stuffing. Unidentified American teddy refers to those made in the U.S., with similar characteristics, and hard to document without original advertising. New York was the center for many short lived as well as long established factories. Today his value would be $150.00.
Brenda

 

Hello Brenda,
I find theses 3 quite endearing and they are special to me. I recently acquired the endearing family of bears in the picture and should like to have some information starting with the father bear because it seems the box is a mismatch. Father bear is 16 inches tall, mohair, cinnamon brown color and dressed in ethnic clothes including a pocket handkerchief and black laced felt boots. He is meticulously made, the snout area clearly is stitched and trimmed by hand, and he has glass eyes. In fact, overall, he is in mint condition. The label in back at the neck reads "Made especially for you by Marian Bush." Herein lies the puzzle as although transported in a Margarete Steiff Giengen-Brenz "knopf im Ohr" box made in West Germany there is no Steiff ear tag or swing ticket. The head is solid and hard and stitched to the trunk of the body which is not fur but formed as a stuffed shirt. The arms and legs are not jointed but firm although not as hard as the head. The britches are puffed up. The boots are laced and constructed with soles to enable the bear to stand on a shelf. I look forward to your comments.
Karen.

Hi Karen,
Thank you for all the photos, and the detailed description. Your Papa bear and family are handmade articles from an American teddy bear artist. That is the cloth name tag, Marian Bush, creator and maker. Her family of bears are meant to be a grouping, with Papa in his riding appearl with boots and Mama, in her gingham dress. They are not jointed because of the costuming. We had a local doll collector/teddy bear artist years ago named Helen Kirschnick. She did a great job on the making of teddy bears, but the real draw was what they were wearing. They all told a story. This is similar to your presentation family. Although I am not familiar with the artist, she certainly has a gift for fashion. The fur is an acrylic, and most likely they are poly stuffed. The Papa has acrylic felt clothes while the Mama bear has cotton and a apron or pinafore. The four smaller bears even seem to be jointed. The nose is handstitched cord and the eyes shoe buttons. I would say these were made in the 1990s, when teddy collecting was extremely popular. Many teddy bear artists enjoyed their gift of creating one of a kind, as well as doing multiple orders. Perhaps the original owners needed a safe place to store the bears, hence the Steiff box. Later examples of Steiff had a cloth bag for storage, with embroidered name plates. Collectors wanted more room for bears, not boxes! Value for your family would be $85.00.
Papa and Mama would be $30.00 each.
Brenda

Hi Brenda,

I purchased this bear on eBay
Previous owner won it in a competition over 50 years ago , and was being sold due to her passing. He is a lovely big boy 32" tall. 5-way jointed, s Solid wood filled bear with glass eyes and original stitching. I believe his covering to be mohair .
Pads are hard and they look painted to me. There are no claws.

Thank you,
Dawn

Hi Dawn,
A great teddy with a thoroughbred background! He is in the line of British makers with the coated pads, large tummy and upturned “Pooh” type nose. However, the triangular stiltched cord nose and elongated mouth qualify him for the Australian firm of Berlex. They were founded in the 1930s in Melbounre and continued into the the 1970s. Teddy bears from this continent had similarities to England. The pads are a vinyl fabric, heavily coated and durable. His stuffing is excelsior,
5 way jointed, and has a nice round tummy. The fur is mohair, and he is in very good condition. We can see why he took first place in competition! Glass eyes set outside the head seam with his cupped ears, make him very photogenic.
The real Pooh Bear was a Farnell teddy, with Merrythought and Berlex contributing their designs. Later models of Berlex had stationery heads, exhibiting a 4 way jointing. Your model dates to the 1930s and with his large 32” height, would be valued at $750.00 and up. Their ID was a cloth tag located on the right arm seam, reading Berlex in script or Berlex, Melbourne in capital letters.
Brenda

Hi Brenda,
This little bear was purchased via ebay from an Antique dealer in Glasgow who discovered it amongst a job lot from a house clearance.
Other than that I know nothing about the little bear or it's history. It was listed as Vintage mid century miniature mohair bear. 8" tall, well loved, pin jointed, wood filled bear with black eyes.

On receipt of the little bear I discovered that it has a working squeaker and On moving it's arms I found a turquoise thread poking out from under it's right arm.
Dawn

Hi Dawn,
This little guy is referred to as the “peanut” shaped bear, with a stationery head and movable arms and legs. Bing, a German Company, did an elaborate example of this type bear and some were mechanical. Petz, another German Co. also had a similar type design with sliced in ears. Yours seems to be a 1920s example of a Japanese type teddy with rods extended through the body for articulation of the limbs. In fact, the squeaker you mentioned was also used in American teddy bears, as we imported their voices! Many times this mechanism is non working, as the tightly sealed vessel develops an air hole, and then no voice! Glad yours still speaks. Production was quick, with the sliced in ears, yet a simple hand sewn nose and mouth to further dress his presence. The eyes seem to be shoe buttons, also hand sewn into place. The fur is a short mohair and he is stuffed with excelsior. No pads or claws, this center seam teddy is completely a sweetheart. Value would be $125.00.
Brenda

Hi Brenda, Large Golden yellow bear is 27" tall. Solid and heavily weighted bear
Filled with wood shavings
3 claw stitches on both feet and a thin material covering the base. Paw pads have three claws. Fully jointed.
The covering is velvety to the touch, no loss. Nose is horizontally stitched.
Body is tightly packed so unable to feel for growler,
if he has one it is inoperable
This bear is called Grandma's bear as previous owner revealed that his Grandma lived in France when she first married, where she ran
a small antique shop.
It came to me in a dirty state wearing its original clothing with vintage earrings, necklace and broach. She now looks like a completely different bear colour, wise & condition wise since her clean and years of dirt have been removed. I think she's in great condition for her age, and is my favourite.
Thank you,
Dawn

Hi Dawn,
This yellow example of the GOKRA maker of Germany is actually mentioned in their ad of teddy bears, with the gold yellow velour notation. It is very clean for a vintage bear, almost like it was unplayed with all these years! The cupped ears are also high on the head, handsewn with a slight tuck. This bear at 27” is quite large, and stands with the help of the cardboard inserts before the finishing pads were attached. The three claws are common for several German makers, most commonly- Hermann. The back seam is where the bear has a hand closed seam. The eyes seem to be amber glass, and sewn into place. You can tell glass from plastic eyes by the temperature they convey. Cold to the touch is glass, while plastic has a warmth. You can also feel the outer edge with your fingertip. A rough surface indicates plastic while a smooth surface points to glass. The black cord horizontal nose and mouth seems to be perfect for the finishing detail, matching the black pupils! The tear drop pads are felt. Five way jointed allows teddy to pose in various positions, while the excelsior stuffing keeps him firm. Value for Teddy would be $375.00.
Brenda

Hello Brenda,

I found this bear at my parents home. It belonged to my father and he had shown it to me several times. It’s been in storage approximately 70+ years. As best I can guess. I know very little about it. My father passed away in 2002. 2 years ago we cleaned out my mother’s home and found it. She’s been moved to assisted living. The bear is 10 inches long has jointed arms and leg. It does have a working squeaker.
As best I can tell it is Mohair and has glass eyes. It also appears to be filled with the excelsior. I’m wondering what it’s worth.

Thank you,
Robert

Hi Robert,
It is wonderful that he was preserved all these years! He is an American bear, from the Aetna Toy Animal Co., formerly called Keystone Bear. They produced bears during the early years, forming in 1907. They were only sold through the George Borgfeldt & Co, wholesalers. Their quality was excellent, with the finest mohair, wool felt pads (cardboard under the felt for standing), amber glass eyes, long arms, and a voice box. The hand closed seam is in the back of the body, while the vertical woven nose with cord is in very good condition. An extension for the inverted Y mouth is missing, but we can see the remnant yarn. The ears are somewhat to the side of the head, dating him to around 1908. The stuffing is excelsior. Originally teddy bears were made for boys, since girls had dolls. The association to Theodore Roosevelt also trended towards appealing to boys. However, the girls adopted their “New Love”, by Bessie Pease Gutmam, with the painting of a teddy being clutched by a little girl while her doll was sitting alone, The firm became known as Aetna Doll and Toy Co., then in 1919, E.I. Horseman purchased the company. If you had pictures of your Dad with teddy, that would add provenance. Value for the 10” Aetna would be $750.00.
Brenda

Good Morning Brenda,

I have rescued this Teddy Bear from my Mum and Dad’s attic, it was on the way to the dump! The Teddy Bear’s height is around 45cm (18"). The head, arms and legs are jointed.

We are not sure where the Teddy Bear has come from and do not know much about him!

Hope you can shed some light on him and his chubby cheeks!
Many Thanks,
Donna

Hi Donna,
I had to smile when I saw your “Cheeky” teddy bear! I will enclose a picture of his cousin, as shown in the Linda Mullins Teddy Bears Past and Present, written in 1986. Within this book he is labeled as from 1930, and an unidentified maker. Many since have called these Dutch bears, with the large head, full cheeks and tin painted eyes. Arthur Van Gelden made bears from synthetic silk plush, firmly stuffed with excelsior, and five way jointed. The arms are short, and set high on the shoulder, while the legs are chubby and have slightly formed feet. Both pads on the limbs are contrasting silk plush with no claws. He has a finishing seam in the center back body. The tin eyes resemble the Berryman bear eyes, with the googly look. The left button eye seems original, the right has been repainted. He has a sweet smile, probably so happy to have those chipmunk cheeks! The nose and mouth are black cord. He dates to the 1930s, as this company was short lived and WWII, stopped production. Value for your 18” attic find is $150.00.

Brenda

Brenda,
I bought this bear at an antique store today. I was so curious about his origins, and happened upon your page! I hope you can help me :)
He is 26" tall and is jointed at the head, arms, and legs. I believe his fur is mohair, with felt pads? His body is pretty firm and "crunchy," and I can see the filling on the right paw. His eyes are glass and amber in color. His nose is some kind of yarn. He does not have any labeling that I can see. Let me know if there is any other information I can provide.
Thank you so much!
Carly

 

Hi Carly,
What a sweetheart, I like your taste! Your teddy bear is American, and dates to 1915-16. With this large size, not many were made in this category. The fur is mohair, with a wool cord hand sewn nose and inverted Y mouth. He has shorter arms than those made a decade earlier, but substantial enough to correspond to the football shaped body. There is no definition on the wrist area, which is a very American trait for this period. The legs are long and formed with a noticeable upward foot; however, this is slight compared to some German models. The front body seam is machine sewn, while the seam in the back is a hand sewn closure. The stuffing is excelsior, which allows him to retain his shape. There is wear to the wool felt pads, common for the American bears with a lesser quality felt. The eyes are glass, and may be replacements. He would have had a more amber colored eye with a black pupil. The ears are somewhat cupped, and the shoulders are placed high on the body. According to ads from this period, possibly Bella’s Hess & Co. catalog features a 24” bear, or Holland’s Magazine from Dallas TX, posts premium toys and offers them for earnings. For many years, these have been accepted as similar to Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. There is little notice of a hump on the back. Value for your large bear would be $800.00.
Brenda

Hi Brenda,
Here is the bear I would like you to look at. Top
of head to feet 16”. Has strange almost triangle ears with the point in his head the ears don’t seem round on top but straight across. His fur seems like there are different color tones. Might be the light. When you squish his head it makes a crunch sound but you have to listen very close. Seems firm everywhere He was bought after 1939 up until 1944. The head can swivel side to side. Looks like there is a lot of hand stitching. I don’t know if the ribbon is original or not.
Valerie

Hi Valerie,
Your non jointed teddy with the jointed head should have been referred to as a crib bear. The disc joints were hard and cumbersome, so leaving them out meant for a “softer” bear. With the over stitched seams on the muzzle and seams, it most probably is a Gund bear, American manufacturer. The large glass eyes and large smile make him very appealing.
The muzzle is a shorter mohair, while the body has a longer nap. The nose cord is done in a vertical stitch, with no claws or pads. Your time line for purchase points to the war efforts and scarcity of materials. At the time, Teddy Gund was introduced in 1948, but had jointed arms and legs. Cubbi Gund was unjointed and premiered in the 1950s. Most of these were plush teddies. At 16”, he is still considered medium sized.
Your version dates to the first efforts after WWII-1942. The ears are flat, another cuddle factor. If you have pictures to support his early life, this could be provenance and add to his value. As he is now, value would be $125.00. Brenda

Hello Brenda,
I recently found these two bears at an antique shop and am very interested in learning more about them. Both are between 17 3/4" -18" in height, stuffed with wood wool, disk jointed, and covered in mohair. Both also have small humps towards the top of their backs and hand-stitched noses. The first is missing both eyes, and has one paw ripped open. All pads look to have been originally made of blue fabric, but later covered with yellow felt. There is also a small bell stitched onto its neck. The second bear has a hole in one shoulder, is missing an ear, the stuffing from one foot, and one eye. The other eye is amber and black colored glass. There are also hand stitched claws on two of the feet. Most of the hair has fallen off both, and they are in less than ideal condition, with no tags to identify a brand. Any information you have about them would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Treva

Hi Treva,
Your bears are very well loved!  The one on the left, is American- attributed to Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. with the stick like arms and legs, and football shaped body. He had glass eyes, amber with black pupils, a horizontal cord nose and had a mouth extension with the inverted V. We can still see the downward stitches in place. He dates to the 1920s with the shorter arms and a football shaped body. The pads are are replaced. Looks like he has some missing excelsior on the right paw. The metal bell was an add on, maybe his voice box was not working. Not sure if the blue fabric was original, most had a tan felt covering. Value would be $125.00.

========================

The bear to the right is German, and with the sliced in ears, most likely Petz. He seems to be winking with the left eye missing! The eye remaining is glass, a brownish red iris and black pupil. The nose is cord and sewn in the horizontal fashion. His arms are longer, and his right foot has a formed ankle. The left side could probably use excelsior in this area to reform his foot, ankle and pad restored. He dates to 1915, has claws and a wide neck joint. As is, he would be known as primitive and valued at $75.00.

Restoring could increase the value. The mouth extension was a small inverted V.
Brenda

Hello Brenda,

I’m looking for some help with a bear my grandmother has had for year and years. It has been well preserved and she told me that it is Steiff bear. I believe she acquired it at an auction 50+ years ago. She was meticulously storing this little bear and she was an extensive antique collector, so I’ve always assumed that she was correct, that it is indeed a Steiff bear. After doing some research, it appears to be an authentic bear, missing the tags, but may have a small hole in the ear where there was a tag and a string is still attached coming from the arm – but not sure if that was an original tag.

The unique part is that is has a ring in it’s nose with a chain, which I have not been able to locate in my research. I’m looking for any help with identifying this bear, it’s authenticity, and the year it was produced. The bear is dark brown, definitely mohair, appears to have some type of wood shavings inside (small hole in foot) has five claws, and very black eyes. Thanks,
Bransie
Hi Bransie,
The teddy bear your grandmother had cherished for many years appears to be made from a worsted wool fabric. It is not a Steiff, but quite possibly an American maker- Hahn and Amberg. They were known to do Teddy Dolls as well with the teddy bear body and a bisque doll head- dressed with a hood to resemble an Eskimo doll. I believe the stuffing you see is actually the cork stuffing used by this company, very firmly stuffed. The pads are wool felt, the nose and claws a black cord. Five claws date to a very short period of time-1906-07. The nose ring has roots in the European community, when a real preforming bear was lead by a trainer into the community to dance and entertain. The attached chain kept him under control of his master. It is said that bears have a natural sense of rhythm. Much like the hurdy gurdy organ and the monkey performers, this was a form of entertainment! The eyes are shoe buttons sewn inside the head seam, the ears are not cupped. Both these traits are different from Steiff. History of this company goes back to 1878 to Cincinnati, OH by Louis Amberg, with a move to NY in 1893. Hahn joined Amberg from 1907-1910. It then became known as Louis Amberg with the imported bisque doll head now replaced with their own composition doll head, an unbreakable alternative. Hoseman bought the company in 1930. Value for this 13” teddy would be $1,200.00. Brenda
Hi Brenda,
There are no tags or identifiers that I can find. He is in really good shape. 15" tall, is five way jointed and appears to be mohair. I believe he has excelsior stuffing because it sounds crunchy when squeezed. His body is quite firm and feels like there may be something hard in his belly. I hear something moving around inside of him when shaken;- maybe a broken growler? My husband is going to take him to work to be x-rayed. He has 3 claws sewn in each paw. There seems to be a small divot on the back of his head near his neck, but it's not a hole in the fabric. Thank you very much!
Laura
Hi Laura,
Your medium sized teddy, at 15”, comes from Germany. The company is Clemens, who has similar traits to the German Hermann teddy. He has a chubby style body, inset muzzle of a shorter mohair that matches his ears, and sports a vertical cord stitched nose with an inverted v mouth. The three claws are this same cord. The wool felt pads are in perfect shape. The growler is the noise you hear upon turning him over, a clunking sound that would have “growled”earlier. This is very common to have an air hole, making the sound silent. The eyes should be glass, dating to the 1950s. Plastic eyes were common in the 1960s. Hans Clemens first bears were made from blankets leftover from WWII. A great use of materials during a time of recovery. In 1947, he traded the shoe maker profession to a toy maker. The teddy bear was considered a comforting companion after the ravages of war, launching his factory into success. The longer pile mohair contrasting with the shorter makes it quite huggable. Value for your vintage teddy would be $175.00. Brenda

Hello Brenda,
This is my much played with and very beloved teddy named Honey. I believe he was given to me by my grandmother, Winnie Struve Taylor, when I was born in 1940. He has been packed away for about 60 years. I unpacked him recently. His sweet face and worn fur stirred memories of the joyful hours I spent playing with him. I now wish to know his history as eventually he will be passed on to my daughter and then to my granddaughter. He is fully articulated. a growler inside that I do not recall working. His stuffing appears to be kapok and excelsior. He has no evidence of ever having a tag and no stitched claws.
Dianne

Hi Dianne,
Thank you for sharing Honey’s provenance! I am hoping you have pictures of yourself and him because that adds to the story. If not, please take pictures now and document his present moments. Your teddy is an American maker..Knickerbocker. They began back in 1850, in NY, established as a toy maker. They produced the Victorian wooden lithographed blocks popular for children during this era. In the 1920s they began to market the teddy bear, along with other stuffed toys. In 1968, they received permission to make “Smokey Bear”. Your teddy dates as early as the 1930s with the amber glass eyes, vertically stitched nose and felt paw pads. Most had a mouth, but it must have been lovingly worn off. It was a mere inverted V with only one strand of cord. Their profile is almost straight for the back, no humps visible. The back seam was the closing seam, hand completed. Characteristic traits also include large cupped ears and dropped shoulders for the arm attachment. He is 5 way jointed and stuffed with excelsior and kapok. The mohair is long and has some wear spots. Honey is 12” in height. Shirley Temple made Knickerbocker famous, by having one as a devoted companion. He even appeared in one of her films. Honey has had an honored life as well, loved unconditionally and for generations to come! Value with your story would make Honey’s value at $200.00. The voice box should be kept in a separate little linen bag, just to make it possible that one day his voice may return! Brenda

Hi Brenda,

This guy or guys, I have 2 of the same bear but one is 1” shorter than the other, is 18” long (17”) Yellow/Golden Mohair, Disc jointed, appears to be some kind of velvet or vinyl type paw pad covering, 18” has plastic eyes I think, 17” has glass ( I just discovered that), nose is something weird plastic?, floss mouth, big squeakers, straw stuffing (see boo-boo picture) the 17” is much nicer overall. The color is more true in the first picture. Thanks!
Christy

Hi Christy,
Your “twin bears” are English, from Chiltern Toys. They were established in 1908, and made dolls initially, then teddy bears in 1915. Your teddies are adorable, coming from the Hugmee series which was produced from 1923- 1960s. They are mohair, and have rexine pads- linen underside with a oil cloth type covering. The Hugmee name translated to huggable! Several deigns were available through the years. The plastic nose was started in the late 50s. According to one source the noses, were used for the plush dogs at the one factory, then used for the teddies. Chiltern was taken over by Chad Valley in 1967, and many had the dual ownership listed in the tag. The printed label for your bears would have read, Chiltern Hygienic Toys, Made in England. The 17” bear dates to around 1958, has glass eyes and is in very good condition. His value would be $350.00. The 18” has plastic eyes, dating to the 1960s and would be valued at $250.00. They both give bear hugs! Brenda

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