Welcome to Fun Fur Fact Friday! Our first installment in the Fun Fur Fact files is about collecting and caring for these precious friends we call teddy bears.
When you are bitten by the bear bug, there is only one remedy: adopt a teddy bear! As you hunt for that perfect new companion, keep the following tips in mind.
- Buy what you like.
- Avoid buying for investment, unless it’s a confirmed antique and you can have it appraised or a bear by a well-known artist.
- Look at the quality of construction.
- The stitches should be neat, tidy, and nearly invisible.
- All the bear’s joints should turn with the same ease.
- There should not be lots of fur trapped in the seams.
- The eyes should be firmly attached and evenly set.
- The ears should also be evenly attached.
- The nose stitches should be pulled with the same tension so there are no bumps or loops.
- Any added color should not rub off on your hands.
- Be sure the bear doesn’t reek of smoke or moth balls.
Where to Find Them
- Teddy bear shows are a great way to find that special teddy and connect with like-minded “bear” people.
- Some collectors like to know the artist behind the bear; some won’t buy the bear if they don’t like the artist!
- Artist bears
- Some stores hold artist signing events
- Artist-designed manufactured bears
- Manufactured bears
- Teddy bear artists’ Web sites and blogs
- Teddy bear forums
- Antique stores
- You may be able to find old and new bears at antique stores. Beware of new bears that are made to look old and are being sold at a premium price.
- Garage sales and estate sales
Care and Feeding
- Keep teddy bears out of direct sunlight; their fur may fade, particularly if it has red tones.
- Periodically check your bears for carpet beetle larvae–they will eat your bears…and they especially like red felt! Keep bears off the floor if possible.
- Fluff and move your bears around every now and then.
- Periodic dusting is important; perhaps use a vacuum nozzle covered with a pantyhose leg.
- Surface clean only–never throw a teddy bear into a washing machine or dryer. Use only suds on the fur (not the backing), and dab with clean water to remove. Towel off with a clean cloth.
- Old bears and manufactured bears (such as Steiff) are more desirable if their tags are intact. Try to keep all original ribbons, clothes, tags, and so on that come with any bear you purchase, old or new.
- Hugs are great for a bear’s well-being, not to mention a person’s!
- Be sure to keep a close eye on your teddy bears when they’re around honey or scones with jam.