In December 2015, Davidd told us the tale of The Great Teddy Bear Shipwreck Mystery. The story goes that back in 1903 some three-thousand teddy bears were sent by ship from Steiff’s factory in Germany to America only for them to disappear. The bears were made and packed up for shipment, but there is no record of them ever reaching their destination and none of the US-bound bears has ever been found. The templates, patterns and even photos of the bears exist but not even one sample was kept. One popular explanation is that there was a shipwreck and the bears had a watery end. All that is certain is that if just one of these bears turned up today it would be ‘open chequebook’ time for museums and collectors. After all, these were the first teddy bears ever made.
For some time now, Razzi has been asking if we could get him a Steiff Bear as a little companion. Although he already has Pookie, I thought it might be a good idea. Because of the history of the Steiff Company, to bring one of their bears to join us here at Jammy Toast would be fantastic. After searching for a while, we discovered that the most expensive Steiff Bear ever sold was a Steiff Monaco Bear which sold for £130,190. It was dressed by Louis Vuitton and sold at a charity auction in Monaco. Razzi said he had to have one of those!
Margarete Steiff was born in Giengen, Germany on 24th July 1847. Margarete was a very lively, well-built child and led a carefree life until she became ill with polio before her second birthday. She was destined never to walk and to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Her mother, above all, found this very difficult. She would have to care for her daughter for as long as she lived. Her daughter would never be able to take on the role of housewife and mother and, at the time, it seemed as though she had absolutely no prospects for the future.
For many years people on both sides of the Atlantic have argued over who invented the teddy bear. In Germany Steiff have long laid claim to inventing teddies while in America a couple by the name of Morris and Rose Michtom have claimed to have invented the teddy after seeing a cartoon in the Washington Post featuring President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt hunting real bears. Upon investigation it has been proven that Margarete Steiff and the Michtoms both came up with very different designs for a teddy bear around 1902. Here at Jammy Toast we thought it was about time we did some investigating and try to prove once and for all who really did invent the teddy bear.
We have been asked a number of times recently who invented the teddy bear? Although this is a question we have answered previously, I was shocked to discover that it was three years ago when we last looked at the question. The short answer is that Germany and America both hotly contest the title of “Inventor of the Teddy Bear”. Indeed, Steiff and the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company can both lay claims to having designed teddy bears as early as 1902. Did both sides suddenly invent a teddy bear at exactly the same moment or did one side copy the other? Here is what we said in 2010…
Many rare teddy bears have gone on display in a new exhibition on the history of the cuddly bear in Hampshire. The exhibition is being held at Portsmouth City Museum and features some very early examples of teddies as well as famous bears from books, films and television. The display includes a teddy version of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre using more than fifty Steiff bears. All the bears are on loan from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood and admission is free.
For some time now, Razzi has been asking if we could get him a Steiff Bear as a little companion. I thought this would be a good idea, because of the history of the Steiff Company, to bring one of the bears to join us here at the Sanctuary. After searching for a while, we discovered that the most expensive Steiff Bear ever sold was a Steiff Monaco Bear which sold for £130,190. It was dressed by Louis Vuitton and sold at a charity auction in Monaco. Razzi said he had to have one of those!
We have been wondering lately about who is the most expensive Teddy Bear in the world. A few years ago Mr Bean’s Teddy Bear from the television series, sold for only a couple of hundred pounds. Many Bears sell through eBay for hundreds of pounds and every so often you hear of ones selling at auction for thousands of pounds – but which Bear would be the world’s most expensive?
Following our investigation the other week into who first invented the Teddy Bear, we thought that today we would pay tribute to that person: Richard Steiff. He was a German inventor and entrepreneur who just happened to be the nephew of toymaker Margarete Steiff. He was born in Giegen on the 7th February 1877 but moved to study Arts and Crafts in Stuttgart. During his studies, he would regularly visit the nearby Nill’scher Zoo and spend a great deal of time drawing pictures of the Bears.
For many years, an argument has existed between Germany and America over who first came up with the idea of the Teddy Bear. Recently a truce seems to exist between the two nations who are now credited with jointly coming up with the invention. Here at the Birkenhead Bear Sanctuary we find it very hard to believe that two people either side of the Atlantic suddenly had a “eureka” moment and invented Teddy Bears at exactly the same moment. Therefore, we thought we should investigate and try to discover who did first invent the Teddy Bear.
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