Ken Yenke Ken Yenke | Author | Authority on Teddy Bears | Museum Curator
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Discovering & Appraising Old Teddy Bears

by Ken Yenke

Ken with a large 1920's Steiff Bear and Marji at the Cincinnati Teddy Bear Show

Brenda & Ken Yenke

Brenda and I share the love of teddy bears, whether new or old, with everyone who has ever experienced that first special unsuspecting glance from a teddy bear! I described that look as the "4th dimension," which is only possessed by very special plush animals.

Because we have done evaluations of hundreds and thousands of animals and bears, when someone presents a unique story with a unique bear, it makes the evaluation very important.

Let me share one from the Bright Star Promotions' Teddy Bear Show held in Erlanger, Kentucky on October 19, 2008.

Marji Levey, of Cincinnati read in the local newspaper that there was going to be a teddy bear show and that Ken Yenke would be there to do evaluations and appraisals. Marji had inherited her father's teddy bear a couple of years ago, and had been unable to find anyone in the area who could provide a documented evaluation of exactly what value was of the bear.

Marji's dad was born in 1927 and fled from Cologne, Germany to the United States in 1939. The only childhood possession that made it with him was his teddy bear. Marji has in her possession childhood photos of her dad with his teddy, which documents the family provenance.

Now for the teddy bear! It was made by Steiff in the 1920's and the teddy stands 28" tall and was the largest stock size made at that time. The bear retains the original button in the ear.

Although there is a lot of mohair thinning on the torso, the pads are great, and the teddy's head and face are nearly perfect.

With provenance and the bear's condition, Marji was pleased to know that the collector's value for her dad's bear today was in the $7,500.00 to $10,000.00 range.

Just think, without a Bright Star Promotions' Teddy Bear Show and all the ads in the newspaper, Marji may have never gotten the proper value, but more importantly, she was assisted in appreciating what a tremendous family heirloom she is caretaker of now.

Congratulations Marji and thanks Valerie Rogers, the show's promoter, for providing the "avenue for collectors to walk on."

Bring your old beloved teddy bear to one of the shows I'm participating in and you too could discover its value and history.

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