I acquired this sweet old teddy bear who is only 10 inches tall. Could you identify the type of bear, or where he was made, and value? —Michele Behan, Severna Park, Md.
Michele, your early American teddy bear was made by the excellent crafters named Aetna. The 10-inch size is referred to as doll-size because they were intended to replace little dolls of that popular day, in 1907. The nose appears to be original, but there is a lot of missing mohair. The eyes are also original blown glass with amber irises. Value, as shown, is up to $500. Very sweet teddy!
Enclosed is a look at a crib bear, made of wood. He is jointed and in great condition. Is there any value? —Nancy Ball, Sun Valley, Nev.
Nancy, your little wooden jointed bear dates from the 1930s and was manufactured in Japan. These little bears, in great condition, can fetch up to $50 from collectors. If it were a special character, like Winnie the Pooh, it would bring several times that.
Many thanks for sharing your expertise in the Teddy Bear Review column. I am learning to appreciate and observe vintage bears with a keener eye. Beverly Dolezal photographed my bear, so please give her credit if you use it in your column. This is a yes/no bear. When were they named “Tricky”? Also, I have read about prices all over the place, so I want to know what this 12-inch bear would bring. —Mary Ellen Akers, Clearwater, Fla.
Mary Ellen, the term “Tricky” was first used by Schuco after World War II. Each teddy had a plastic tag on his chest, which said Tricky on one side and U.S. Zone Germany on the reverse. Your bear is one of the original yes/no bears from around 1920. It has shoe-button eyes, short cinnamon mohair and a short non-lever tail. It appears to have replaced pads and minor wear to the mohair. As shown I would value him in the $750 range.
I am the retired director of the Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum. This teddy bear came from Howard Reed Martin, who was born in 1872 and passed on in 1960. His niece brought me the bear for some restoration and ever since I have been trying to establish his maker. Others have told me it is probably a Steiff. I would appreciate your expert opinion. He has tin disc joints. —Frances Kerber Walrond, Webster Groves, Mo.
Frances, your 12-inch teddy looks to date from 1907. I don’t know how much restoration you did, but from what I can see in the photo I would say the nose is re-sewn, and the eyes look a little large. From the body—wide, low hips and large ankles—I don’t think it is a Steiff. Steiff did not use tin discs, but Wilhelm Strunz did.
Would you please help me identify the maker, year and value of this sweet teddy? He was purchased from a reputable antique dealer, but did no know much about the bear. I paid $600 for him; originally it was marked $900. Simon is my teddy’s name. I also need to know how I can have my other bears appraised. I was glad to find you in Teddy Bear Review magazine. —Barbara Lammela, Swanzey, N.H.
Barbara was surprised and pleased that I phoned her about “Simon” and answered her questions. I needed to clarify the size (13 inches) and also that it is not mohair but cotton plush. Simon is a made-to-look-old teddy that came out of Europe in the 1980s. They come in brown, bright gold and tan. Usually, they are attractive but have scuffed or worn areas to make them look vintage. I have seen them priced at $2,000 at some antique shows over the years and have seen as many as a dozen lined up on antique shop shelves. They are imported and sold for $200 to $300 to be resold. They are worth $200 to $300.