Collector'S Corner: How much is that teddy in the window?

Teddy bears are always popular, but they can mean big bucks, too, says Gwyn Jones

The world-record price for a teddy at auction now stands at a staggering £110,000. The top prices are for vintage Steiff bears from Germany, but for those with fewer resources, other areas of this market are worth considering. The outlook is anything but bearish.

Christie's, the main teddy-bear auction house in the UK, held a sale in December and some interesting trends emerged. "We never seem to get enough bears to go round, particularly the better-quality ones such as the Steiffs and the really early bears," says Christie's Daniel Agnew. "The market has now settled down to a steady level - 15 years ago, when it was all starting, you got extremes of prices, when things would sell for four times the estimate and then, next time, sell for less. Now, we are seeing a steady increase in the values."

One fascinating collection under the hammer last month belonged to Clifford Berryman, the man who, it could be said, inspired the birth of the teddy bear as we know it. Berryman was the cartoonist who, famously, drew President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a bear cub.

It was from this cartoon that Morris Michtom, founder of the Ideal Toy Company, first created a cuddly bear named after the president. This event coincided with Steiff first producing bears in Germany, which were then imported into America.

Agnew says that lesser- known British bears have started to receive a lot of interest. "British bears are becoming more collected, but it's not really the big names," he says. "During the First World War, we stopped importing German bears, so lots of companies set up overnight. Some of these are rather obscure and, consequently, their bears are rare and are starting to make more money.

"Companies such as Harwin, the Teddy Toy Company, and Terry are sought-after, but the best known is Farnell. Prices have gone up for some smaller manufacturers, but they are still a long way short of Steiff."

Agnew says that the price of rare British bears has doubled in the last five to 10 years, with some fetching up to £7,000. Compare with Steiff (for rarities you can add a nought), and there's clearly room for growth.

"The modern Steiff limited-edition bears, particularly those in editions as low as 1,000, are strong sellers now because there are more Steiff collectors than there are bears," adds Kathy Taylor at Vectis Toy Auctioneers. "To be worth top money, they must have their certificates, boxes and tags. In mint condition, they can go for £1,000. People are realising toys are collectables," she says. "The price of more modern toys is going up because they're within people's memories - they want to buy what they wanted in childhood." It helps that teddies appeal to all ages, and to men and women.

For Agnew, while the meteoric price rises of the Eighties are unlikely to be repeated, the outlook is good. "Bears will prove to be fairly good investments but I think that early British will become more appreciated," he says. "Provenance is important - people love photographs, and if you have a nice one of grandma holding the bear, it can double the value."

Christie's : 020-7930 6074; www.christies.com

Vectis: 01642 750616; www.vectis.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Life and Style
Men with beards rejoice: Your beard probably doesn't harbour faeces-like bacteria
health
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before