Not all toys gain the level of originality, prominence and excellence that Steiff teddy bears have built upon themselves and the hearts of the people for a century and counting. But aside from the cuddly wonders that they have endowed and introduced to the world, they too have established perhaps one of the most popular and recognizable trademarks in the industry: the knopf-im-ohr, which literally translates to button-in-ear.
It is no secret that the German born and based brand was family run since the beginning with its founder Margarete Steiff joined by her relatives and nephews throughout various periods and phases. Her nephew Richard who was an addition to the team is to be credited for designing the teddy bear. Likewise, her other nephew Fran, was to be praised for having thought up the idea for the button-in-ear.
After the toys received a massive acceptance from both local and international markets, the rise of replicas and copycats came into light. To help identify original products, the brand began adding the said trademark since November 1, 1904. It was, as its name suggests, attached to the ear of the Teddy bears produced by Steiff. The term “Button in Ear” was registered as a trademark on December 20, 1904 and patented on May 13, 1905. By September of 1908, the fabric tag was added.
The button-in-ears found in Teddy bears are all characterized by a metal button embossed with an elephant save for occasional pieces made of gold, diamond or Swarovski for very rare finds. However the make and material has evolved throughout the years. Therefore apart from authenticity and symbol of quality, they can tell collectors and buyers about the origin and time of the toy’s manufacture.
To better illustrate, here is a summarized timeline of the more iconic button-in-ear evolution through the years.
1904 (Ø 6 mm) – The elephant button was the first of its kind and came with an embossed logo of the brand.
1905 (Ø 6 mm) – The blank button was either made of iron or nickel-plated.
1908 (Ø 4 mm) – The Steiff button was made of iron and nickel-plated, with the word Steiff (with the F drawn back as far as the E) instead of the elephant logo.
1925 (Ø 8 mm) – The same metals were used but the diameter got doubles in size.
1952 (Ø 5 mm) – The inscription was changed into the script typeface.
1967 (Ø 5 mm) – The nickel button came in the form of a hollow rivet.
1969 (Ø 5 mm) – The button became rounded off with very small recessed lettering.
1977 (Ø 8 mm) – They were made of brass, zapon-varnished and the logo recessed in script typeface.
1986 (Ø 9 mm) – The last time since the design of the button-in-ears of Steiff bears were changed, these were made of the same metal but with a slightly convex surface.
Online shopping has easily become second nature to most of us. In fact, it has successfully embedded itself into our routines and lifestyles. But like anything else, especially with regard to shopping, buyers need to be smart if not cunning. We need to remember a couple of things if we were to purchase items through cyberspace. That said here is a list of things to remember should you buy teddy bears online soon.
Read the fine print. We’re all guilty of clicking “agree” even if we haven’t (a) read the terms in full and (b) bothered to understand them. We find them quite the laborious task and we can’t blame you because companies aren’t really wording these terms in a friendly manner. Still, it’s an important task to do because it contains not only our rights as customers but also the responsibilities of the site and shop in terms of privacy protection, product returns, shipping terms and the like.
Look for the “s”. Or in some cases the lock icon on the address bar. This means that the website exists on a secure server and that any information exchanged is better protected. It’s no guarantee but it’s the better option.
Dothe math. The price of the toy isn’t all there is to it. When we buy teddy bears online, we have to account for additional costs such as shipping fees which can greatly vary depending on the number and weight of items bought, the destination of the package and its origin as well as custom fees, duties and taxes if any.
Think of dates. No not the fruit you silly! Because online shopping means having the item delivered to your doorstep, you need to take into account the length of time it takes for it to arrive. Depending on the specifics of the shipment (e.g. origin and destination), things like the courier company and post office processing should be considered. You need to schedule those purchases so they arrive on time.
Research and double check. Run a Google search on the website or online shop you wish to buy from. It’s important to get to know both the products and the sellers. You wouldn’t want to buy from a shady site, do you? That’s not worth your safety, time and money.
Read feedbacks. When you buy teddy bears online, always make it a point to look up reviews and feedback from customers on trustworthy blogs, websites and forums. You can even check social media.
A trend is defined as something that is currently preferred by many that often encompasses a period of time. Trends come and go. Others may stay for long while some die down in a matter of weeks or even days. Speaking of which, do you think collectible teddy bears are too?
In this age where people have felt the need to more freely dive into their passions, collectors are nothing new. Over the years, people have amassed trinkets from the small and simple to the grand and massive, literally and figuratively. Teddy bears are no doubt one of the more popular items to collect. To say that such is a mere trend would be a little silly because these have been around for years and you’d be surprised of how many there are and how large some have grown to be.
As a matter of fact, a lot of events are organized all over the world for these toys. Steiff, the German brand known for being the first to have designed, manufactured and released these teddies as early as 1902, holds an annual event to celebrate and to release new or even limited edition models. A teddy bear museum in Jeju Island South Korea also exists and in there resides the most expensive teddy of all time which fetched a staggering US $2.1 million in a 2000 Monaco auction.
The fascination with these toys stems from their long history and our affiliation with them at an early age. If we look back at our childhood, these toys have been with us. They are after all the most popular and kid-friendly. This makes it no longer a surprise that we carry a fondness for them as we grow up. They are often a memento or a souvenir that bears memories and caries with them a sentimental value.
But collectible teddy bears can also be more than that. There are those who only realize their fondness for them later and instead of sentimental value, they collect for a different reason. They see these toys as a special item or even a growing investment. Many of the items in their stash are limited edition models or even vintage items that are far from cheap. Some are even considered one of a kind! You’d be surprised as to how much some of these teddies are valued in the market. A trend? Most definitely not!
We’ve all known how stuffed animals bring joy and happiness to kids and adults alike. Some are even considered collectibles with vintage pieces and limited editions raking up bids at auctions around the world. But even these seemingly harmful cuddly wonders aren’t all safe. There are dangers to them too. Take a look at the following hazards to watch out for.
1. The Age Hazard
What’s good for some may not be good for others. This applies beyond mere preferences and likes. Think about it this way. A toy for a ten year old may not exactly be safe for a two year old. Stuffed animals come in all shapes, sizes and designs. Some would even have mechanical parts that move or produce sound. This considered, see to it that kids play with toys appropriate for their age.
2. The Size Hazard
This one in particular is a very common mistake. Do remember that kids and toddlers aren’t as physically able as adults. They can’t lift or carry objects that are bigger and heavier than them, stuffed toys included, thus creating risks of suffocation if they fall flat on top of them. The rule of thumb is that for children aged three and below, the toy’s dimension should be smaller than their height and lighter than their weight.
3. The Choking Hazard
Be on guard against toys that can send kids straight to the hospital’s emergency room. They must not have any detachable parts that can be easily swallowed and cause an accident. For instance, buttons, eyes and similar accessories should not be easily removed or torn away. As for ribbons, they must not be any longer than six inches.
4. The Sanitary Hazard
Play time should both be fun and safe. Apart from avoiding accidents, we should also avoid threats to health. Make it a point to check the label to make sure it’s made of toxic free materials. At the same time, keep them clean and sanitary at al times.
5. The Mediocre Hazard
Stuffed toys need to be of great quality. In other words they need not only be safe as per the materials used and their dimensions but they too must be well-crafted. Because stuffed animals are still toys to begin with, they will be played with and handled not so carefully especially by children. The toy should be durable enough. The limbs and hem should not tear at a mere pull.
If we told the world some few decades back that we could shop with a touch of a button, we’d probably be burned in a stake and accused of witchcraft. But today’s digital age has brought to light possibilities which were then too impossible to even be conjured by mere imagination. Buying Steiff teddy bears online, is one example.
Gone are the days when we’d have to fall in line for endless cashier queues then later on suffer the traffic on the way home. Convenience is within our fingertips. But even with this modern-day shopping bonanza, some things just never change. For instance, the following tips when buying said teddy bears online (or offline).
Preference is always king. – Penchants and likes, we all have them. We prefer one thing over the other. What we may enjoy, another may not. This is why it’s important to keep the recipient’s tastes in mind or yours if you happen to be buying for yourself. With so many options and designs in the market, opt for those that fit the bill.
Consider storage. – Some stuffed toys are as small as the palm of your hand while others are so massive they’d probably kill you in your sleep. We’re kidding of course. When shopping, always keep in mind that the recipient will have to store or display it somewhere. They can either place it on top of their bed, in the cabinet, atop a desk or wherever. Find a bear that’s easy to stow away as they are to play with. We wouldn’t want to cause some inconvenience, now would you?
Shop with the age in mind. – Who’s the teddy bear for? A toddler, kids, teen or an adult? Remember that what pleases one does not necessarily please all. Each age group will have a certain preference. For instance if you are planning to give it to a two year old then make sure that it isn’t too large or heavy that it poses a choking or suffocation hazard.
Durability and safety above all things. – Whether given to a kid or an adult, durability is always on top of the list. This speaks of quality from the material down to the last line of production and manufacturing. When buying teddy bears online, read reviews and feedback to gauge and get an idea about the longevity and quality of the toy. Is the stitching sturdy? Can it be easily washed? Do the accessories and buttons stay out despite being pulled?
With so many items to choose from, why do many people choose to go for collectible teddy bears? What’s in them that make them so popular and fun to have? We went out to ask around and below are only a few of the answers we got. Check them out and see if you bear the same reasons too!
“They’re just too cute and adorable!”
Brenda – There is something about the toys that make them so charming. It’s like magic to be honest. Sometimes you feel under the weather and you look at them and get this sudden rush of happiness. They’re on the spot pick me uppers! I like to keep some in my bedroom while the others are spread across my home.
“They’re history tucked in a cuddly toy.”
Jonathan – I like antiques. I guess I have always been drawn to it. Looking at how much I gravitate towards old city charms, I wasn’t too surprised when I realized that I have a thing for vintage collectible teddy bears and toys. It was an instant attraction and connection. There’s so much history in them, some you get introduced to while others you have to discover for yourself. My collection isn’t that huge but it’s enough to get people talking when they come over to visit. They’re an instant conversational starter and quite an interesting one too!
“They’re quite a lucrative investment too.”
Alex – I’m a stock broker and investments are my thing. Teddy bears on the other hand were quite unexpected. I was scrolling through Craigslist and saw one for sale. I was surprised at the reaction and interest of a lot of people about the toy and so I thought: why not invest in them too? I currently trade collectibles but I keep a good number for myself. There are just some pieces that are hard to let go.
“They evoke a sense of exclusivity.”
Patricia – Not everyone has these bears and that somehow makes me feel special. It’s weird but there’s a sense of gratification in that. Rare and vintage ones can get really expensive so I try my best to save up whenever I can.
“They’re a forever friend.”
Selena – I own a lot of stuffed toys, not just collectible teddy bears. Some of them I’ve had since I was a kid while the rest were purchases over the last few years. What I like about them is that they remind me of the kid in me, the innocence and the simple joys. Plus, they’re always there to give you a hug!
Stuffed animals are every kid and kid-at-heart’s embodiment of a “cuddly wonder”, apart from pets that is. Because we all adore them, we tend to bring them around and have them for playtime round the clock. The thing is, all that is going to take its toll on the toy. They’ll get dirty and grimy eventually. It’s not the end of the world though because there are ways to reverse that. How so? Read on and find out.
Get your trusty wash cloth out of the bag.
Mild dirt can easily be removed with the help of a damp cloth. Take out some mild soap and water and use a clean cloth to rub off the grime from the toy. Make sure that you wring the cloth well to remove excess water. You want it damp and not dripping wet. Avoid a sponge at all costs too because it’ll drench the toy more than you’d want it to. This can also be done as a means to remove any stain prior to washing so that it doesn’t sit long and worsen.
Take them out for a well deserved bath.
Go rub-a-dub-dub with your stuffed animals! If they’re roundabout dirty and they need to get a full on cleaning then washing is the task you’re going to have to face. You have two options here. You can either do it by hand or by machine. In both cases, you’ll need lukewarm water and mild soap. No bleaching detergents or agents are allowed at all costs. Nor is heat as it can dull the colors and melt some parts (e.g. buttons, adhesives, and etcetera)
If you choose to wash by hand, you’re going to need a sponge this time or a soft bristled brush to rub away the grime and filth. As for a washing machine, you’ll need to place the stuffed toy inside a pillow case or mesh bag first to protect them and also to avoid any of their accessories from falling off into the washer and damaging its motor. Rinse well and dry without the heat of a blower, a dryer or the sun.
Get your fridge involved.
Yes, you’ve read that right. Your stuffed animals have a lot to thank your refrigerator, the freezer in particular. Should you find a bug infestation, you’ll have to un-stuff the toy, wash and res-tuff it. But before doing so, you’ll need to seal it inside a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 2 days straight to kill the bugs and their eggs.
Online toy shopping has become a norm these days and we’re no longer surprised. Its convenience is very much on point and that’s only one benefit to boot. Care to find out what the other perks are when you buy a Steiff bear online? Check these out.
You can buy from anywhere around the world.
Physical stores can be limiting at some point. There are items that are only available in other countries and it can be a huge bummer. Purchasing online however fixes the said dilemma. You can virtually shop from anywhere around the world and have it delivered to your doorstep.
You don’t have to move an inch.
In fact, you can very well be in your pajamas and in bed. You don’t have to do your hair or suffer the traffic as you commute to your shopping destination. You can be on your ride from work, at home, on a plane, in the kitchen or essentially anywhere and you can shop. Add to that the fact that these online toy stores are open round the clock. If that’s not convenience then we don’t know what is.
You save on time and money.
Because you cut on travel you save a lot in terms of costs. You don’t have to spend on gasoline or fare. You won’t even have to waste your precious time stuck in traffic as mentioned earlier. Imagine the holiday shopping horrors. Thinking about it already gives us the chills.
You have a bigger selection of toys.
The sky is the limit as they say. A few words on your search bar and bam you’ll be given thousands upon thousands of options. You can go as specific or as general as you do your research too from the toy’s features to its manufacturer. You can even scour for vintage teddy bears and limited edition pieces.
You get to compare and canvass easily.
Searching is easy and so is price comparison. You can easily canvass for the same model and manufacturer from various sellers and see who offers it for a better price, with shipping costs and customs if any computed. What’s better is that you can do it by virtue of cyberspace too. No more hopping from one shop to the next and sweating it out.
What are you waiting for? Press that button and buy a Steiff bear online!
Would you believe us if we told you that stuffed animals can cost a fortune? Well a good amount of them do and we’re here to list them down. We say that it’s time to raid that attic and check old boxes. Who knows, you might just have one of these lying in the corner.
Steiff Louis Vuitton Teddy Bear – $ 2,100,100
A collaboration between the German toy powerhouse and the infamous fashion emporium, this teddy bear was fully decked in designer clothing. The well-known LV monogram can be visibly seen all throughout from the bear’s clothes to its matching luggage case. This piece smashed records back in 2000 at a Monaco auction and has not been beaten ever since. It is currently preserved in a museum in Jeju Island, Korea.
Louis Vuitton Monogram Bear – $ 182,000
As if the above wasn’t enough, LV also had one manufactured on their own to celebrate its 150 years in the fashion scene. Only 500 of these were made. One named DouDou which stood a foot and a half tall was sold at a Monaco auction for the aforementioned price. The toy was decked in came with the fashion house’s monogram all over it. What a way to celebrate!
Teddy Girl – $ 150,000
This cinnamon haired toy manufactured by Steiff in 1905 is one of a kind. Although other models may still be found, the Teddy Girl proved to be exceptional as it once belonged to Colonel Bob Henderson. Serving the British Army as a small arms adviser to Field Marshal Montgomery, he took the bear to war with him during World War II. In 1962 he became the President of the Teddy Bear Club and founded Good Bears of the World, a charity that provides teddy bears to sick children. Years after his passing, the toy went up for sale at a Christie’s auction and was sold to businessman Yoshihiro Sekiguchi.
Black Mourning Bear – $136,000
The tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 left the world in terrible grief. Because of this, Steiff produced 600 black mourning bears in 5 different sizes to commemorate the incident. One of these was found stored in a closet for years and was sold at a 2000 London auction to the Puppenhaus Museum in Switzerland.
Which among these priciest stuffed animals do you want to add to your collection?
We all love a good collection story and although cars and jewelry may sound pretty neat, we prefer collectible teddy bears as the topic for the day. And we don’t see why not? Just because they’re toys doesn’t make them any less of an interesting pick. Plus, a lot of them even rake up as much value as real estate property.
To tickle your curiosity and interest even more, we give you the following facts you need to know about collectible teddy bears!
The world’s most sought after collectible bears, most of it at the least, were manufactured by a German company called Steiff. The same brand is the pioneer for teddy bear design and production and was established as early as 1880.
Not all of them are antique or vintage. Manufacturers have been releasing current collectible pieces in small numbers, often relating to or paying a nod to certain people, themes, events, literature and movies.
The most expensive teddy in the whole world cost a whopping $2.1 million. It was purchased at a Monaco auction back in the year 2000 by a certain Jessie Kim from Korea. It is the Louis Vuitton Bear manufactured by Steiff and was decked out in clothes and accessories with the ever popular ‘LV’ monogram. At present, it is being displayed at the Teddy bear Museum in Jeju Island in Korea.
A diamond and sapphire eyed teddy bear exists. For its 125th anniversary, German brand Steiff manufactured 125 pieces of this toy. It had diamonds and sapphires for eyes, golden thread for fur and a mouth pure of gold.
The first few models of the toy originally came with five joints. These are considered to be one of the rarest collectibles to find and coming across one in excellent condition is even more uncommon making them quite the hot item in auctions.
Black mourning bears were manufactured in 1912 to grieve the tragic Titanic incident. The toys came in black through and through from head to paw.
Colonel Bob Henderson fought alongside a toy he nicknamed ‘Teddy Girl’ during the Second World War. It was an 18 inch tall Steiff cinnamon centre seam teddy bear with thick curly mohair, black boot button eyes, pronounced clipped snout, black stitched nose, mouth and claws, swivel head, elongated jointed shaped limbs, shaped paws, large ‘spoon’ shaped feet and hump and believed to have been manufactured in 1904. Today, it is one of the most famous collectible teddy bears around the world.