Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Antique Bing Teddy Bears and Toys

I have to share some more teddy bears from the Chelsea Teddy Bear Museum. Ken Yenke, museum curator, is a big fan of Bing bears and toys, so many are featured in the museum. I too have a special fondness for Bing bears. The first one here is an early bell toy featuring a bear pulling the wheeled bells. This early Bing toy is from 1900. Also in this picture is the Roosevelt Stock Farm, a wood barn with great lithographs. The second one is hard to tell the size, but it's the largest bear that Bing ever made, at a whopping 34". This one dates to 1919. Also pictured is an 1880 German bear and baby. The third picture is Bing's windup jalopy bear from 1908. I just love these little guys. Also pictured is Schuco's Trippel Trappel dog, circa 1914. Bing also made one of these Trippel Trappel dogs which rolls along on little wheels on its feet.

Chelsea Teddy Bear & Toy Museum

I finally visited the Chelsea Teddy Bear & Toy Museum in Chelsea, Michigan. The museum curator, Ken Yenke, is a noted antique teddy bear authority, and shares his wonderful antique teddy bear collection in this excellent museum. I can't even pick my favorites, but I have to share a few here. I have a special love for the circus, and clown bears, so this first one just cracked me up. This is a Strunz clown bear from 1908. Love his chubby body. Next is a real oldie, German made from 1880, this Mom and baby bear are made of paper mache and worsted wool. Love these 1800's bears, reminds me of an old German nodder I have with the same worsted wool. In 1907 Columbia made their laughing Roosevelt bear. Certainly none other like it, smiling with glass teeth. Cute touch here with a pipe added. Can't wait to visit the museum again. I'm sure they'll have a nice Christmas display soon.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Antique Goldilocks and the Three Bears

The classic story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears has been around a long time. It evolved over many years, with the earliest having many different names for Goldilocks...Silverhair, Goldenhair and Silverlocks were some of the names before Goldilocks. In 1888 the first book was published which named the characters, Goldilocks and the three bears. At this time, bears were bears...not the cuddly teddy bears we all love today. Most experts agree that there were no known teddy bears before 1903, the first teddy bears being manufactured in 1904. What is so interesting...in the 1888 Goldilocks book, there are clear pictures of baby bear with his little teddy bear friend, propped up in bed, being pulled by baby bear in his wagon, sitting on the kitchen floor, etc. This was 15 years before the production of the teddy bear.
Over the years Goldilocks and the Three Bears has become a classic. Books abound, and all sorts of soft stuffed toys have been produced. My first set of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears were soft stuffed dolls from the 1920's. These dolls were Kellogg's cereal premiums. Wonderfully detailed fabric would be offered for mothers to sew and stuff for their children. My most recent acquisition is a set of the three bears made by Dean's Rag Book. When I first purchased it I fell in love with them, but had never seen them before. I was thrilled to find a label which identified them as Dean's Rag Book. The green label I believe dates it to the 1930's, which seems to fit looking at the clothes. Baby bear is a tad different, with shorter fur and I'm wondering if he's a later version. Could there have been a Goldilocks with this set as well? If anyone has any other info, I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Antique Dollhouses AKA Teddy Bear Houses

Gottschalk, Bliss, two of my favorite early dollhouse manufacturers. Of course, to me, the dollhouses are teddy bear houses. The antique business for me is ever changing, and the little houses and miniatures are my new favorite things, well...next to teddy bears. When I saw this Gottschalk dollhouse, circa late19 th century, I fell in love with it and knew it was coming home with me. Seems like my collecting/buying/selling habits are getting smaller and smaller. I started out in the antique world selling large primitive furniture. My hubby quickly tired of my antique business and the 20' trailer was traded for a van. My large furniture changed to child and doll size furniture for the bears. Now I'm enjoying the miniatures. Funny how you just fall into things. The antique teddy bears will always be my passion, but I wonder what else will come next. I'm sure it'll be something that compliments the bears, antique of course. The larger dollhouse pictured here is a Moritz Gottschalk house, the smaller one's maker is unknown, but is in the detailed tradition of the early Bliss and Gottschalk dollhouses.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Antique Bing Teddy Bears

Any bear is a good bear...that's my motto. But oh my...the early Bings in my opinion, are just way special. The Gebruder Bing Company of Nuremburg, Germany, was founded in 1865 and quickly became one of the premium toy manufacturers of the world. Lucky for us bear people, they began making bears in 1906 and continued until their factories closed in 1932. These early bears have characteristics only seen on Bing bears. I stand in awe when I look at these artistically made bears, with their endearing expressions, beautifully detailed bodies and wonderfully detailed noses. There are many characteristics unique to Bing, such as their sentry style bears that appear to stand on tip toes. Their beautifully detailed noses are a work of art in themselves. As with early Steiffs, they have long arms, big feet and big humps. Pictured here are two early Bing teddy bears along with a 'Bing Pigmyphone', a little clockwork phonograph within a wonderful lithographed tin, made by Bing at the turn of the century. Love these antique teddy bears and toys.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Antique Teddy Bears, Alligators and the Everglades

Murphy got to go on another Florida outing. I'm not sure why he always ends up in the car. Maybe because he's just traveled all the way from Germany and I think he needs to see America. This outing took him alligator hunting (looking) in the Florida Everglades. Driving through the Everglades, you don't really need to search for them. We saw at least 50 of them on the side of the road, just basking in the sun. Murphy wasn't afraid, even though they were just on the other bank (hard to see in the picture, just to the right of his shoulder). He's quite the brave bear!

Antique Bing Teddy Bear Goes to the Seashore

Ahhhh...sunny Florida. Life is good. I'm probably the biggest beach bum wanna be that you'll ever meet. Sun, beach, ocean waves and breezes, life doesn't get much better. But now, back to business. Oh, wait...Can I take the business to the beach? Sure...teddy bears love the ocean too. They're not quite the sun worshiper that I am, you know, it fades their mohair. They do love to be photographed in new places. So I grabbed the newest member of my family, a wonderful early Bing teddy bear I named Murphy, and some antique beach toys, and off to the beach. Now I'll be on a new mission...I need to find antique beach toys for the bears. Antique sand pails and shovels, how about an antique boat? Antique child beach chairs are hard to come by, but hey, I'm in Florida, I need to look for different things. I may look a little strange to the average beach goer - carrying teddy and his toys down to the beach. But bear people understand and they smile as they watch me and my antique teddy bear crossing the sand.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Antique Teddy Bear Hunt

Heading south for the winter has become a yearly tradition for me for several years now. There's lots of quality antique shows to sell at, buy buying has always been challenging for me. And of course, that's the fun part of my business...finding new bear friends and their toys and accessories. There just aren't many primitives around down here, and antique teddy bears are just plain hard to find anywhere. I'm accustomed to weekly auctions and estate sales back in Michigan, but antique auctions down here are few and far between. And estate sales are basically unheard of...which is something I truly don't get, with all the seniors down here...go figure. But I keep plugging along, searching all the time. I was shopping at a weekly flea market on the way home from a 3 day antique show, actually getting some good prims. I was toodling down the aisle, when I spotted him. OMG...He sat there looking at me, begging me to take him home. I happened upon a handsome teddy bear that I quickly grabbed. Of course, the dealer was sure he was an early Steiff and didn't hesitate at guaranteeing me that. I gave him my opinion, but didn't argue with him when he still insisted it was Steiff. German, English, American...they're all endearing to me. He was cute as a button, so into my cart he went. Now I'm toodling along with teddy sitting there, a happy camper, as I push him along. Okay, antique teddy bears are here, but you sure have to be on a bear hunt, which I always am.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Antique Teddy Bears Love Their Ducks

Antique teddy bears love their toys. I've devoted a bathroom for antique duck toys and the teddy bears love to play in there too. The wind up toys and pull toys are great, but one of my favorites is the homemade ducky rocker. Have you ever seen such a cutie...and one of a kind...that's what makes him special. The teddy bears takes turns riding on him. Mr. Petelhoffer is pulling his duck filled with little teddy bear friends and Toots is riding ducky...at least today. Someone new will be in the bathroom tomorrow.