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How valuable are your Teddies?
For collectors, the most valuable teddy bears are those from the pre-1939 ‘golden age’, when all the bears were handmade. As these teddies were expensive even at the time, it is hardly a surprise that one in good condition will be worth thousands or even tens of thousands today.
In general, the rule with teddy valuation is that the older the teddy is, the more money it will be worth. If you had bought a teddy in 1902 from the New York shop that coined the name, you would be able to sell it for hundreds of thousands today.
However, it is not only the early 20th century bears that can be very valuable. 1930s teddies that do special things – walking or dancing, for example – can also be worth a significant amount, especially if they are still working, as these bears were not produced for very long and it is difficult to find one in good condition.
If you own a hand-made pre-1939 teddy bear, the best thing to do is to take it to a professional valuer, and get it insured for the value if it turns out to be worth a lot. If you want to sell it, the valuer should be able to help you by suggesting names of auction houses or interested buyers, and will often be willing to guide you expertly through the entire selling process for a cut of the final sale price.
There are also a few teddy bears that are valuable because they are from the 1970s teddy bear revival, when artists with fond memories of hand-made teddies started producing them this way again. However, very few of these bears were produced, and most that do exist are in the hands of collectors, so your chances of finding one are very slim.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of