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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Antique Interior Decorating: Teddy Bears

Children have always valued their toys, but as playthings and companions to be loved, abused and discarded, according to mood and whim. It is adults who have elevated them to the display cabinet. Who would have dreamt 15 years ago that the major auction houses would devote sales entirely to teddy bears, attracting buyers from all over the world prepared to part with thousands of pounds for a coveted teddy bears...
A teddy bear is more than the sum of his parts, but scrutinizing the parts is as good a way as any to ascertain date, country of origin, authenticity, condition and even maker.

Identification and authenticity
Look at the fabric: original old bears (pre-1930) are usually of wool mohair. After that date, new materials were introduced, such as cotton and silk plush and later, in the 1950s, nylon and other synthetic fabrics. Next, try to determine what stuffing has been used. You can do this by assessing the bear's weight: if he is light, he is probably stuffed with kapok (possibly mixed with wood wool); heavier bears that are crunchy to the touch are probably stuffed with wood wool. After about 1940 new, lighter materials were used, of sub stuffing, and later on, lightweight foam.

Then look at the ears, eyes and nose. The ears should be correctly positioned. Check the teddy bear's head for signs of where different ears might once have been stitched, in which case, the present ones are almost certainly replacements. The eyes should also be scrutinized: if the teddy bear was made before 1914, he should have boot-button eyes. During the 1920s, though, glass eyes became the norm. Plastic was sometimes used from the 1950s.

Then look closely at the nose stitching, as this is a good way to identify a bear's maker, each company tending to have its own distinctive type of stitching. Most noses were made of silk thread; black wool noses are probably replacements. Keep in mind, though, that replacement ears, eyes or nose do not make a teddy bear unbuyable or unsaleable - but any alterations should be reflected in the price.

Source :nicespace. 2013. nicespace. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nicespace.me/. [Accessed 06 May 13].

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