|1954 German Teddy Bear|
Teddy bears have seen a resurgence in popularity as international "do-it-yourself" chains have opened. Among the largest and best-known are Build-A-Bear Workshop and Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
Popular and Most Loved bears
Some popular mass-marketed teddy bears made today include Rupert, Sooty, Paddington, and Pudsey Bear. Books have also been written with the teddy bear featured as their main character. These include Winnie-the Pooh, Corduroy, Teddy Tells Time, and Teddy Dressing.
|Rupert and Sooty bear|
|Paddington and Pudsey bear|
|Winnie the Pooh and Curdoroy bear|
The world's first Teddy Bear Museum was set up in Petersfield, Hampshire, England, in 1984. In 1990, a similar foundation was set up in Naples, Florida, United States. These were closed in 2006 and 2005 respectively, and the bears were sold in auctions, but there are today many Teddy Bear Museums around the world.
Teddy Bear Celebrates 100th Birthday
Tuesday, 3 December, 2002
A childhood favourite has reached a ripe old age - the teddy bear is 100 years old, reports BBC News Online's Georgina Pattinson. The toy was first created in 1902 and was named after the then president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. Now the teddy is big business: Hamleys toy shop in London expects to sell thousands before Christmas.
Christie's, the London auction house, has been holding a sale of teddy bears on Tuesday. The bears on sale are a selection from the beginning of the 20th Century to the present day.
Historians agree the teddy bear got its name when 'Teddy' Roosevelt, as the 26th president was nicknamed, was on a hunting trip in Mississippi. The president failed to make a kill and so his hosts caught a bear, presenting it to him as a target. He refused to shoot it, saying: "Spare the bear". His action was immortalized in a Washington Post cartoon and, consequently, a pair of New York shopkeepers, Morris and Rose Michtom, made a soft toy bear they called Teddy's Bear.
At the same time, a factory in Germany owned by seamstress Margarete Steiff began making a soft plush, jointed bear - with a trademark button in the left ear. In 1903, the company exported 3,000 bears to America. Daniel Agnew, a specialist from Christie's, said the bears on sale on Tuesday were more than childhood toys. He explained the hobby of collecting bears had become more and more popular in recent years. "In the 1970s and 80s, it became a big collecting subject," he said. "Steiff was always the most expensive and is consequently the most valuable now."
In fact, the jointed bear is not modelled on the grizzly - but on the barribal bear, a golden bear with long arms and pronounced snout. The centenary sale at Christie's featured over 380 rare, unique and cuddly teddy bears from all over the world.
Famous manufacturers also include Schuco, Farnell and Merrythought and estimates for the bears range from £150 to £30,000. One bear - which sold for £28,200 - is a rare black Steiff teddy bear, one of only 600 ordered for England after the sinking of the Titanic on 14 April 1912. Another rare example is a Steiff hot-water bottle bear - which sold for £32,900.
The most poignant story behind the bears is that of 'Edwin' - a golden bear found in the breast pocket of soldier Percy Kynnersley-Baddlely, killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
The bear was sent back to the dead soldier's young widow, Verna, who placed it on a shelf next to her husband's photograph.
Edwin was expected to fetch a sum between £300 and £500 but was sold to a private collector for £4,230. But why are bears still so appealing? "That's a hard one to answer," said Mr Agnew. "A child can play with a bear like a doll - but a lot of children are not keen on dolls and if you are a boy you can play with it because it's like a grizzly bear. "Everyone has nostalgic memories about their bears."
Libby Baldry, a teddy bear consultant at the toy store Hamleys, said teddy bears were one of the most popular items in the run-up to Christmas. "The most expensive one we've sold recently was for £975," she said. "Everybody has to have a teddy bear. "You can tell them your secrets and problems. "You can tell them everything and they don't answer back - they give love."
Source: BBC News World edition