Steiff Bears Can Be Worth Thousands
Highly collectible vintage Steiff teddy bears are a perfect way to celebrate National Teddy Bear Day this week! Teddy bears were named after President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. An avid outdoorsman and hunter, he was praised when he saw a bear cub and didn’t shoot it. Newspaper cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew a picture of the incident, capturing the attention of shopkeepers Morris and Rose Michtom. The couple started selling stuffed bears as “teddy bears.” They were extremely popular with the public. The next year, the couple founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. in 1903. A German version was made about the same time by the Steiff Company, a company founded in 1880 by a German seamstress named Margarete Steiff, whose bout with polio had limited her to sewing with only one hand. Steiff’s idea for the bear came from drawings of the animals at the Stuttgart Zoo. An American wholesaler named George Borgfeldt saw the bear at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903 and ordered 3,000 of them. By World War I, Steiff had sold millions of these toys in the United States, Germany and England. Steiff bears made after 1905 have a trademark Steiff button sewn into their ears.
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