What makes an Antique Bear Collectable?

Bears in Demand

Many collectors of antique bears often ask what bears are in demand and what they should buy that will increase in value.

It is difficult to predict what make of bears will the best long term investment but there are some things that you can look out for that will help the future value of your bear.

Condition of the bears Mohair has to be one of the important factors, the better the covering and condition the more you will expect to pay now and probably in the future. Obviously some identification such as a label, button or tag will enhance the value of the bear as many of these marks have been lost over time. Original nose/mouth stitching, paw pads and eyes again help keep the value up. What you should be looking for is an all original bear, if you can find it!

However even if your bear has some restoration or more fragile than a perfect original the value should increase with time but the perfect specimens as with anything will fetch the top prices.

What is selling at the moment is an easier question to answer as we (Bourton Bears) are doing 47 shows this year we get an idea of what seems to be in demand from the average collector. We always have people looking for 1950's Chad Valley bears with glass eyes and also the earlier Chad's 1930's with buttons or labels.

Chiltern Hugmee bears always seem to attract people because of their endearing faces. These two British makes are probably also popular with the collector because they are more affordable than other makes as they were made in large quantities here in the UK. These bears also are the ones most of us grew up with and can remember as a child.

Early Farnell bears are a prized possession in a collection and many collectors aspire to one of these for their hug. The face of these bears is very distinctive and we always seem to sell these fast when we are lucky enough to get some in stock (that is if I don't keep it for myself). Steiff and Bing bears are the top drawer bears and early examples can cost thousands of pounds but most people would like at least one, especially a pre 1920's Steiff with its button and these we can sell very quickly at the right price but finding them is more and more difficult.

There is much demand for Merrythought and Deans bears especially the early bears with labels and the Merrythought Cheeky bears from the late 1950's/60's are always popular. The most popular bears we sell throughout the year still have to be those with an air of mystery about their origins as they are not easily identifiable but are reasonable priced and have great faces and characters and more affordable for the average collector.