19 May 2021
Collection belongs to the UK’s leading dealer in antique and vintage teddy bears
The private collection of Sue Pearson, the UK’s leading dealer in antique and vintage Teddy Bears and Soft Toys is going under the hammer at Special Auction Services in Newbury for £15,000 on Tuesday 8 June 2021.
Sue is parting with her collection which comprises 34 lots of teddy bears and soft toys because she is downsizing, and she is keen to find good homes for them.
She says, “I have a strong emotional attachment to these special bears, and they represent a happy and important part of my life. As I am semi-retired now I want to see them go to new homes although I have kept a small cabinet of miniature bears.”
They were displayed in the spare bedroom of Sue’s Sussex house and several of them have fascinating stories and provenances and comprise bears that Sue has collected over the years, the odd one gifted as well as ones she has purchased. Highlights include:
Pricey, a large Farnell teddy bear (c. 1920) which was one of Sue’s earliest purchases and is estimated at £1,500-2,000. His name comes from Sue’s love of hunting around antique shops where she discovered him with no price tag and when asking the price, the dealer sucked his teeth and said “He’s pricey madam,” and the name stuck! Pricey has appeared in Sue’s books and has accompanied her on many trips and TV programmes, the last being an antique quiz with Alan Titchmarsh called ‘Masterpiece’ in 2017.
An early 1900 cinnamon Steiff called George which was the childhood toy of a German girl who married and moved to Northern Rhodesia is expected to fetch £1,500-2,000. George stayed in the family for four generations, in particular providing comfort to one of the children Margaret who had cerebral palsy and he was there with her when she met the Queen Mother in 1957 who was visiting her care centre.
Johnny (estimate £300-400), an early German teddy bear in 1st World War uniform, is being sold with a letter from his original owner Grace Tyler. Grace saw him in the shop window and was bought for her by her kind cousin for the large sum of 2/6 much to her mother’s dismay. The letter goes on to say, “He had 11 brothers & sisters and was never lonely again. They had bear tea parties on the lawn and went climbing the rhododendron bushes with their owner and had many happy adventures. Now he is 84 years old (believed to bought circa 1911) so he likes a quiet life and I am sure he will be happy! Grace Tyler”
The Three Musketeers – Old Ted an early Steiff Teddy Bear (c. 1907), a late 1930s Alpha Farnell teddy bear and Wowie a British white terrier nightdress case which were the childhood toys of three siblings in Liverpool carry an estimate of £1,500-2,000.
Old Ted was a great comfort to the frightened children in the air raid shelter during the Second World War and the bears are being sold with photos and correspondence which details their history with the family.
Joan’s Teddy Bear (estimate £400-600) was bought directly from Joan Haggard, who had him all her life. The bear was sent to Joan unexpectedly from the Colonel of her father’s Regiment on the day her father was due to leave for active service abroad in September 1916. As she grew up, Joan was encouraged to give away her toys to those less fortunate, however this was the one toy she could not bear to part with. This lot will be sold with photos and correspondence between Joan and Sue.
The auction will comprise over 450 lots of bears and soft toys made by makes such as Steiff, Farnell, Deans and Bing and include a rare Steiff hot-water bottle teddy bear expected to fetch £6,000-8,000 and a rare Steiff black mohair teddy bear, 1908-10 which carries an estimate of £3,000-5,000.