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 (www.goodbearsoftheworld.org)and 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.