First, let me tell you how invaluable TBR magazine and your books are for my reference. I have two bears that look very similar, but I know they are different makers. Can you help identify them for me? —Lynn Capizzo, Harrison Township, Mich.
Lynn, you have two great old teddy bears. They are both 12 inches tall, German made and date to around 1907–1908. One is a Bing teddy with more elongated claw stitching. With thinning mohair, it is valued at just under $1,000. The other teddy is a Steiff with significant thinning, but still a desirable look. He is valued at probably $750.
I am sending you a photo of a bear that just cried out for me to take him home! He is 15 inches tall, has great cinnamon mohair and is in very good condition. Do you know who made him and what he is worth? —Minerva Junquist, Wellsboro, Pa.
Minerva, you are the proud owner of a teddy sold in the late 1930s by the Atlanta Toy Co. It is similar to the Ideal, Gund and Knickerbocker bears of the period. Your American-made teddy is worth around $300 as shown. Great find!
Your name was passed to me by a serious collector of bears. She saw my bear (right) and thought I should send a photo to you to evaluate for me. The bear is 13 inches tall and the tail wags the head, which she said is special. Thanks for your help. —John Howard, Whitby, Ontario, Canada
John, your friend was correct. You do have a special teddy. It is a rare “Baby Bear” produced in the 1930s by the German Schuco Co. The tail is called a yes-no movement, which makes your teddy also a mechanical toy. Even with soiling and some thinned mohair, it is worth more than $1,000.
This is a fox terrier I have which has a tag that says “Made In US Zone” on it. Can you verify the date it was made and its value for me? —Gloria McAdam, Merced, Calif.
Gloria, you have a Steiff “Foxy” fox terrier that is even more special by virtue of his US Zone tag. It means he was sold between 1948 and 1953. Collectors place a premium on that identification. In good condition, I believe he would bring at least $300 on today’s market.
I recently acquired this teddy for $100 at a bear show. I was told by the dealer that the owner was over 90 years old and the bear is also. Can you verify the age and make? Many thanks for your assistance. —Mary Ellen Smajo, Ph.D, Chicago
Mary Ellen, your bear appears to be an early German style, possibly that of Wilhelm Strunz. I would date the 17-inch bear to around 1909, which is pretty close to 100 years old. It has a great shape and profile in spite of the significant mohair loss. He is certainly worth at least twice what you paid.