Toy bears became known as teddy bears after American President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub on a hunting trip in 1902. Entrepreneur Morris Mitchtom (who later founded the Ideal Novelty Company) made stuffed toys of 'Teddy's bear' and the craze began.
Toy bears became known as teddy bears after American President Theodore Roosevelt
The most prolific and famous makers were German and include Steiff, Schuco and Bing. Notable British makers include Chiltern, Merrythought and Chad Valley.
Teddy bears made before the Second World War generally have long limbs, a pronouced snout and often a hump on their back. Post-war bears tend to be plumper, with shorter limbs and rounder heads. Be aware that many bears made from the 1980s onwards are in the pre-war style.
The shape of the head and its features will help to identify a maker, as will labels and their positioning. Always aim to buy in the best condition possible. This delightful Fifties Chiltern 'Hugmee' musical teddy bear, above, is valued at £200-£300.
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