Teddy Bears are loved by children and adults alike across the world and here at the Antiques Association in Woburn village we have a characterful selection for you.
The history of the teddydates back over one hundred years to 1902 when President Theodore Roosevelt was hunting in Mississippi and had had no luck shooting a bear.
On the very last day of the trip, the president’s aides captured a bear that had attacked the hunting parties’ dogs. They roped the hapless bear and the hunters encouraged Roosevelt to shoot the bear. When Roosevelt saw the tethered animal, he refused to shoot saying it was unsportsmanlike.
News of his gesture was picked up by the Washington Post who ran the now famous cartoon by Clifford Berryman, depicting Roosevelt, his gun resting on the ground and his back to the animal, gesturing his refusal shoot the bear.
Berryman’s cartoon and the story is said to have started the teddy bear craze in the United States. The cartoon certainly depicts the bear with the familiar rounded sticky out ears and button nose.
In New York, shop keepers Morris & Rose Michtom picked up on the news story, made a toy bear and displayed it in their shop window calling it Teddy’s Bear. This early marketing tactic was the start of things to come.
Michtom went on to form the Ideal Novelty and Toy Corporation and so became the first company to produce teddy bears as a mass produced soft toy.
At around the same time, Richard Steiff, was designing soft toys in Germany. He came up with design for a teddy bear based on the bears he had seen at his local zoo.
The Steiff Company produced its first jointed stuffed teddy bears in around 1902 and Steiff bears were first introduced to the public at the 1903 Leipzig Fair. Steiff bears are considered the best and most desirable to collectors noted for their humped back and long arms.
The world record price for a Steiff teddy bear was at Christies in 1994 where “Teddy Girl” was sold to a Japanese collector for £110,000. The bear was made in 1905 and had belonged to collector Col Bob Henderson who was famed for taking her everywhere with him..