Thursday, 25 March 2010

Christie's 2nd Teddy Bear auction 1994

This is the auction which featured the world record Teddy Bear, Teddy Girl, which sold for a staggering £110,000. This record still stands today for an antique Teddy Bear, no matter what Steiff say.. they are just bending their figures to suit.

After the success of Christie's first Teddy Bear auction in December 1993, where Elliot was sold for £49,500, the second auction was very much looked forward to. It also had a lot of items entered, a total of 302 lots. The first section was the collection of the late Colonel Bob Henderson, who was in the Royal Scots. He was born in 1904 and died in 1990. His main bear was Teddy Girl, who was his brothers childhood bear, which he inherited when his brother grew too old for bears. Teddy Girl was originally Teddy Boy, but when Colonel Bob had his own daughter she gave him a sex change and the name stuck. After his military service Bob devoted a lot of time to his Teddy Bears, he was also involved with the charity Good Bears of the World ( he was one of the first Teddy Bear collectors.
The first thirty-two lots were this collection, like many early collector, a lot of the bears were very cheap and cheerful, but there were a few highlights like Boots, who is now living with Alfonzo at Teddy Bears of Witney.
Teddy Girl was lot 32, when Leyla and I estimated her, we thought we were very bold putting £6000-8000 on her. As the auction grew nearer, we realised that she was one very popular bear. She wasn't just a beautiful center-seam cinnamon Steiff, but her provenance and the fact she played such an important part in the history of bear collection.

When the auction happened she rapidly over-took any expectations and before we knew it the hammer went down at £100,000.(add 10% buyers premium)At which point Leyla, who was holding Teddy Girl at the front of the auction, burst into tears!!!
People often ask me why she sold for so much. She now lives in a Japanese Teddy Bear museum in Izu. This museum was about to open when the owner bought Teddy Girl. When a bear sells for this sort of money, there is a lot of publicity. If you added up the coloumn inches of the newspapers alone and tried to buy that as advertising space, it would have cost you a good few million pounds, so perhaps Teddy Girl was not so expensive!

Teddy Girl did over rather shadow some rather amazing bears in this auction. There was an amazing Steiff Dolly Bear, a red Steiff with a white head and wool ruff, this was probably the best example of this rare bear ever seen. There was a beautiful Teddy Bear purse with a photograph of the original owner as a child holding it. There was an amazing frosted electric blue yes/no Schuco Teddy Bear; an extremely rare pink Steevans Teddy Bear with large metal button in ear; and a superb black Steiff Teddy Bear.

Were you there? I bet you wish you had been. I doubt there will ever be another auction like it.

This catalogue is now very rare and a must for any collector. I have about two soft back versions left. There were also a very short run of hard backs which were made for people closely involved with the auction, there are about 10 of these left.

This catalogue will be a real collectors item in the future.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Have a look at the new items I have listed on my website....

Here is a selection of items for sale, take a look at, there is a link under useful link on the right of this page..

A Steiff Dicky

Edwardian Teddy Bear china

Merrythought character toys

Steiff miniature 1920s monkey with button

Early Steiff burlap bear on wheels

Friday, 5 March 2010

Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising

Yesterday I had a little trip to a wonderful museum, hidden away in a mews around the back of Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill in London. Based around and owned by Robert Opie, it is the most amazing collection. If you are ever in the area, it is well worth a visit. You could tie it into a visit to Portobello road market which is on Saturday morning, get there early before the crowds. For more information see the website below.

The first part is all in date order, special cabinets showing Boer, WWI and WWII, the arrival of radio, etc.. the second half is themed by brands or type of product, like sweets and biscuits.

Not only does it have a wonderful selection of advertisements, packets, tins, etc. It also has a lot of character items, toys, dolls and teddy bears. Here are some of the items I found most interesting, there was a lot more, sorry about the poor quality of the photographs.

Here you see a lovely, strange looking velvet dog, next to a Tubby.

Also some Dean's toys including Brumus and Ivy, Arthur Askey, Lupino Lane and Mickey Mouse.

There is also a great Churchill doll, I am not sure of the maker of this, but I suspect it's Farnell. He is next to a lovely girl doll in her uniform.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Harwin Faun

This wonderful creature I sold during my Christie's time in December 2006. He has a felt face and torso. Wonderul oily-clear and black glass eyes with brown painted backs, these are very typical of good quality early post WWI British toy production. He has painted features, which is used on Harwin dolls (the ones which were copies of early Steiff dolls). He has a ginger mohair wig and felt horns, the head swivels. He has fixed arms, but his legs are jointed white mohair deer legs bent at the knee with felt pads. Silk flowers decorate the hair and the `leopard fur' patterned mohair skin garment. He is 20.3/4in. (52.5cm.) high and dates from around 1914.

The Faun, which is associated with Satrs, but are know to be more gentle, are mischievous creatures with the legs, ears and tail of a deer and the face and body of a handsome man. They follow the god Faunus and can cause nightmares. At times, they can also be quite cheerful.

This is probably one of the strangest toys I have sold, I doubt you will see another one. I thought he was wonderful and would have loved to own him. Do you like or hate this chap?