Steiff factory got bear necessities right for record prices
THE 10 most expensive teddy bears ever sold on auction were all made in the Steiff factory in Germany.
The top five in descending order were: Steiff Harlequin bear: This multi-coloured bear was made by Steiff in 1925 as a sample, and just one example survives today. In 1999, it was bought on auction in Germany by collector Paul Greenwood for £60000. Hedge fund manager Greenwood was later convicted of fraud, and forced to auction his collection of teddies in 2010 for $1.75million. Steiff Rod bear: Produced in 1904, this is the earliest Steiff bear to appear for sale. The earliest bears, made in 1903, featured string joints for limbs but none have yet been discovered. The 1904 bears were made with metal rod joints, making them far sturdier. At the annual Steiff Festival in Germany in 2002, an original rod bear sold at auction for £82 000.
Steiff Titanic mourning bear:
Following the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, Steiff produced 600 black mohair mourning bears to commemorate the tragedy. In 2000, one such bear sold at Christie’s in London for £91 750 to the Puppenhaus Museum in Basel, Switzerland. Steiff Teddy Girl bear: The Teddy Girl bear, made in 1905, was given to Bob Henderson on the day he was born. Henderson later became a colonel in the British Army, and took the bear with him to World War ll. In 1962, he founded Good Bears of the World, an international charity which provides teddy bears to sick children.
Henderson died in 1990, and in 1994 his bear was sold by Christie’s to a Japanese businessman for £110 000, setting a world record price for an antique bear. Steiff Louis Vuitton bear: In 2000, Steiff teamed up with Louis Vuitton to create the world’s most expensive bear. Wearing a designer coat and hat, and accompanied by a miniature Louis Vuitton suitcase, the teddy bear sold in Monaco in 2000 for $2.1 million.
It is now in The Teddy Bear Museum in South Korea.
The Steiff Louis Vuitton teddy bear, which is the world’s most expensive teddy.