Antique Bears: The Wonderful World of Cuddly Antiques

Carmen D. Lade

Long before Paddington made his appearance, children had discovered that stuffed bears were cuddly and cute creatures that could inhabit their daytime tea parties and share their night time dreams. It seems like almost every adult has a fond memory of one of these furry creatures in their lives, which really goes to show the popularity of stuffed bears, since it wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that the first one made its appearance in Germany.

It is the very popularity of these bears that made them so appealing to collectors who simply could not resist these cuddly little bruins. Today antique bears are one of the most sought after toys for the avid antique toy collector, rating right up there with antique dolls. However, since stuffed bears are a relatively new toy as compared to many others the high demand for these bears can make them somewhat hard to find and finding one in mint condition can cost a good deal.

Some of the Most Expensive Stuffed Bears in the World

Behind every bear is a story. Some of these stories are of happy childhoods, and others are of sad occasions and some even have the distinction of travelling great distances. Here are a few of the most expensive bears in the world today:

Alfonzo – This bright red Russian bear complete with a homemade Cossack outfit was given to Princess Xenia and was a treasured possession of hers throughout her life and then passed down to her daughter. Later in the 1980s he was sold at Christies.

Teddy Girl – This small brown teddy bear may well have been the first female to ever truly serve in war as she went off to battle with her owner Colonel Bob Henderson.

Titanic – This small black bear is named after the ship he was designed to commemorate. Forever in mourning for those who lost their lives in the most well known ship wreck in history, this little bear commanded a high price at auction.

Luis Vuitton – This little bear was designed and then manufactured in a limited edition. They were originally sold at charities and just like his namesake designer this cuddly creature commanded a high fee when auctioned off.

While the bears in your collection may not command quite the same fees these bears did, the stories behind them are no less poignant which is part of the joy of collecting antique bears. Each and every one of these bears were probably loved by some child and there is a story behind each one.

For those thinking about collecting, bears that were made before WWII and that are in excellent condition are the most sought after, but even some bears from the 50s and 60s are becoming collector’s items, so you will want to hold onto them because their worth will only grow.

For those who are lucky enough to have that first Paddington bear that appeared in 1978 hold onto him too because it may not be too long before Paddington joins his friends in the world of collectable antique bears.

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