20 Most Valuable Teddy Bears Worth Money

Buying regular teddy bears is easy—you just pick what appeals to your eyes. However, when collecting antique and vintage ones, you must learn to identify and date them.

The most valuable teddy bears collectibles can be worth as much as $6,500, while some less valuable pieces can cost less than $100. For this simple reason, you need to understand antique teddy bears identification—this is the only way to ensure you get value for the money you spend.

In this detailed guide, we will go beyond showing you how to identify and value old teddy bears to give you a sneak peek at some of the most valuable vintage and antique teddy bears currently on the market.

Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!

Antique Teddy Bears Identification: Tips to Identify and Date Teddy Bears

1. Determine the Teddy Bear’s Maker

It is often possible to determine a teddy bear’s manufacturer by observing its appearance. Different antique teddy bear manufacturers utilized various distinctive features on their teddy bears, making their productions easily identifiable.

However, the best place to start when trying to determine a teddy bear maker is the label. The label will always have the name or initials of the company.

Characteristics of American Antique Teddy Bears

American teddy bears had several features that made them stand out:

  • They had straighter arms
  • Slimmer bodies
  • Broader heads
  • Shorter muzzles
  • Rounder ears and feet

North America had the most significant number of teddy bear manufacturers—however, the most popular ones include:

  • Ideal Novelty & Toy Co. (1907 to 1997) – The earliest teddy bears from this company did not feature a label. However, later bears feature a label with the name “ideal” on it.
  • Bruin Manufacturing Co. (From 1907)– Teddy bears from this company feature a label on the foot’s bottom with the initials “B.M.C.”
  • Gund Manufacturing Co (From 1898 to Today)– This company produced its first teddy bear in 1906. The teddy bears feature a label indicating “Gund Creation.”
  • Aetna Toy Manufacturing Co. (1901 to 1919)– Established in 1901, Aetna started producing teddy bears in 1906. Teddy bears from this company are labeled “Aetna” on their left foot.

Characteristics of Antique German Teddy Bears

The earliest German teddy bears (from the 19th Century) boasted the following characteristics:

  • Realistic teeth
  • A hump on the back
  • Long muzzle
  • Claws

However, with the turn of the 20th Century, German teddy bear manufacturers adopted the characteristics of American teddy bears. Some famous German teddy bear producers include:

  • Steiff (1880 to today)– While bears from this company did not have a label, they had a metal button on their left ear.
  • Gebruder Bing (1863 to 1932)– Originally, teddy bears from this company had a tag on the ear. The label was later shifted to the bear’s arm.

Characteristics of British Antique Teddy Bears

The first models produced by British antique teddy bear companies combined the features of the earliest German teddy bears and those of American teddies. Some of the famous teddy bear manufacturers in Britain include:

  • K Farnell & Co. Ltd (1840 to 1968)– This company produced its first teddy bear in 1906. Unfortunately, the company did not label its bears until the 1930s.
  • Deans Rag Book (1903 to 2015)– This company started producing teddy bears in 1915. Most of the company’s teddy bear models were unlabeled.

2. Consider the Fabric or Fur

Depending on when they were produced, antique teddy bears will have different fabrics and fur:

  • Mohair– This was the original material used. It is very silky and soft. Mohair maintained popularity until acrylic plush became the new material for old teddy bears 1950s.
  • Artificial silk plush– This material was available in various colors and was used on teddy bears collectibles produced in the 1920s.
  • Synthetic plushes– These were developed in the 1960s.
  • Felt– This was used for the pads on the oldest antique teddy bears.
  • Cotton– Cotton became extremely popular immediately after the first world war.

3. Check the Stuffing

Wood Wool

The oldest antique teddy bears featured wood wool—also called excelsior—as their stuffing. The stuffing was made from fine, long wood shavings. Wood wool makes the teddy bear crunchy when you squeeze it.

Kapok

The silky fiber obtained from a seed pod from a tropical tree—similar to fluffy cotton wool—came into use for the first time after 1914. Antique teddy bears filled with kapok are heavier, firmer, and resistant to insect attacks.

Textile Mills’ Waste

During the second world war, kapok found a new use lining soldiers’ life jackets. Textile mills’ waste became the replacement.

Rubber and cork granules were also utilized occasionally. These materials gave the teddy bear the sensation of internal movement.

Plastic Foam

In the 1960s, plastic foam became popular. It allowed the teddy bears to be machine washable and wholly synthetic.

Polyester Wadding

This material became popular at the turn of the 1970s. Its popularity grew over the following decades and is still in use today.

4. Analyze the Teddy Bear Shape

The shape of the teddy bears has been changing over the years:

  • The oldest teddy bears will have longer limbs and a pointed snout.
  • In the 1950s, stumpy limbs became popular
  • From the 1960s to the 1970s, several companies were producing unjointed splayed-arm teddy bears
  • The earliest teddy bears were jointed with metal and cardboard discs. They used metal pins which may appear as rust through their fabric.
  • In the 1960s, plastic joints became popular.

5. Check the Teddy Bear Eyes

Between 1902 and 1915, teddy bear eyes were leather-covered wooden buttons on shanks or wire hooks. Then, during the first world war, Glass eyes—clear with painted backs, black or blue—replaced the wooden eyes. Plastic screw-in eyes became a thing after 1955—this was in line with improving safety for kids.

Factors to Consider When Valuing Teddy Bears Collectibles

Now that you understand how to handle antique teddy bears identification, we will show you how to value them. When valuing teddy bears, consider the following factors:

  • Age– The older the teddy bear, the more valuable it will be.
  • Condition– A teddy bear in good condition will have a higher price than one in bad shape.
  • Manufacturer– Steiff produced the most prized German teddy bears. Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. produced the most valuable teddy bears in the United States.
  • Labels and Tags– Teddy bears with their original branding (tags and labels) are more valuable than those without branding.

Use Professional Appraiser When Valuing Your Teddy Bear

If you have an antique teddy bear you suspect might be valuable, working with a professional appraiser can help determine its value. While you may need to pay the professional appraiser, they will tell you everything you need to know about the teddy bear.

20 Most Valuable Teddy Bears

S/No.
Name
Year
Cost (USD)
1. 
Antique Steiff Hump Teddy Bear
1920s
$6,500
2. 
Antique Steiff Teddy Bear with Voice
1920s
$6,000
3. 
Antique Steiff 16-inch Seam Teddy Bear
Late 19th Century
$5,495
4. 
Rare Steiff 1920s Teddy Bear
1920s
$4,800
5. 
Steiff Store Display Teddy Bear
1930s
$3,740
6. 
Antique Eduard Cramer Teddy Bear
1920s
$3,495
7. 
1907 Steiff 32 cm teddy Bear
1907
$3,299
8. 
Pre-War Steiff Teddy Bear
Early 20th Century
$3,000
9. 
1910 Steiff Full Joint Teddy Bear
1910
$2,999
10. 
1900s Blonde Jointed Steiff Teddy Bear
1900s
$2,500
11. 
Steiff 1907 Light Cinnamon Teddy Bear
1907
$2,458
12. 
Steiff Ride on Teddy Bear
1907
$2,189
13. 
Antique Schuco Teddy Bear
1920s
$2,249
14. 
1950s Chad Valley Co. Ltd Teddy Bear
1950s
$1,999.99
15. 
Schuco Schreyer Teddy Bear and Steiff Cat
1930s
$1,700
16. 
1950s Gebruder Herman Teddy Bear
1950s
$1,295
17. 
12.5-inch Gerbruder Teddy Bear
1910
$1,295
18. 
10-Inch Jointed German Teddy Bear with Shoebutton Eyes
1900s
$1,295
19. 
Ultra-rare Jugendstil Steiff Rolling Teddy Bear
Pre-1946
$1,200
20. 
15 Claw Steiff Teddy Bear
1920
$895

1. Antique Steiff Hump Teddy Bear

Antique Steiff Hump Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

This antique, 5-way jointed teddy bear came out in the early 1920s. The teddy bear boasts Steiff as the manufacturer.

The beige-colored teddy bear combines mohair fur and Alpaca as its primary materials. This teddy bear is currently listed on eBay and will set you back $6,500.  

2. Antique Steiff Teddy Bear with Voice

Antique Steiff Teddy Bear with Voice
Source: ebay

Produced by Steiff in the 1920s, this antique teddy bear has been around for 100+ years. However, the seller notes that it is in good condition.

The teddy reportedly fits on all occasions. This antique piece is selling for $6,000.

3. Antique Steiff 16-inch Seam Teddy Bear

Antique Steiff 16 White Center Seam Teddy Bear Wonderful

This teddy bear is 16 inches tall and boasts mohair as its primary material. The teddy bear still has its original shoe button eyes and paw pad—overall, the antique teddy bear is still in good shape.

The teddy fits in the circus theme and is a plush bear. You can add this to your collection at $5,495.

4. Rare Steiff 1920s Teddy Bear

Rare Steiff 1920s Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

Slightly bigger than the previous antique teddy bear, this one stands at the height of 20 inches and boasts a combination of mohair fur and Alpaca as its materials. Additionally, this piece is 5-way jointed and reportedly has its dress and costume.

The teddy bear fits all occasions. To add the bear to your collection of antiques, you will spend $4,800.

5. Steiff Store Display Teddy Bear

Steiff Store Display Teddy Bear
Source:ebay

Steiff designed this teddy bear to be a display toy in stores. This piece is 28 inches tall, guaranteeing visibility in a store setting.

The stuffed animal is brown and was constructed using mohair. To add this 28-inch piece to your collection, you will need $3,740.

6. Antique Eduard Cramer Teddy Bear

Antique Eduard Cramer Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

Eduard Cramer produced this piece in the 1920s to put good vibes anywhere the teddy bear was placed. The 11-inch teddy smiles in every setting and boasts mohair as its primary material.

The seller notes that the teddy is in excellent condition and does not show any damage. You can get this piece on eBay for $3,495.

7. 1907 Steiff 32 cm teddy Bear

1907 Steiff 32 cm teddy Bear
Source: ebay

Manufactured in 1907, this is one of the oldest antique teddy bears on this list. Just as you would expect with the earliest teddy bears, this piece boasts mohair as its primary material.

To get this teddy with its costume, you will spend $3,299. However, you will also have to compete with 27 people who have already expressed interest in it.

8. Pre-War Steiff Teddy Bear

Pre-War Steiff Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

This antique teddy bear from Steiff was handmade in the early 1920s. The gold-beige teddy has mohair and Alpaca as primary materials.

The seller notes that the antique piece is signed, guaranteeing its authenticity. This piece is worth $3,000 and comes with a pulling horse.

9. 1910 Steiff Full Joint Teddy Bear

1910 Steiff Full Joint Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

If you would like to go back 110+ years, this teddy bear from Steiff is ideal. The teddy came out for the first time in 1910.

The full-joint teddy is 30 cm tall. This piece is selling on eBay for $2,999.

10. 1900s Blonde Jointed Steiff Teddy Bear

1900s Blonde Jointed Steiff Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

This 23-inch-tall teddy bear was manufactured in 1902 by Steiff. The teddy boasts glass eyes, and its paw seams, nose, and mouth are embroidered.

The fact that the teddy is stuffed with wood shavings verifies it is one of the earliest teddy bears. The antique piece is worth $2,500.

11. Steiff 1907 Light Cinnamon Teddy Bear

Steiff 1907 Light Cinnamon Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

This plush bear has been around since 1907. However, the teddy has been handled with extreme care and is still in impressive condition.

The teddy bear has been carefully restored to eliminate cosmetic wear. This antique teddy bear is selling at $2,458.92 on eBay.

12. Steiff Ride on Teddy Bear

Steiff Ride on Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

This ride-on teddy bear was produced in 1907. The teddy bear boasts four wheels and stands at the height of 17 inches, a length of 22 inches, and a width of 14 inches.

This piece has not been restored and boasts its original design. Adding this to your collection will cost you $2,189.

13. Antique Schuco Teddy Bear

Antique Schuco Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

This gold-colored antique teddy bear was produced in the 1920s. The bear boasts mohair as its main material and has sparkling jewel eyes, making it stand out.

Produced by the Schuco brand, this piece sells at $2,249.99 on eBay. Interestingly, more than 18 people are already interested in it.

14. 1950s Chad Valley Co. Ltd Teddy Bear

1950s Chad Valley Co. Ltd Teddy Bear
Source:ebay

If you are looking for old teddy bears 1950s, this piece may appeal to you. Fitting in the vintage category, this teddy bear came out of the Chad Valley Co. L.T.D. factory.

The blonde teddy bear is 15 inches tall and is in excellent condition. To buy this piece, you will need $1,999.99.

15. Schuco Schreyer Teddy Bear and Steiff Cat

Schuco Schreyer Teddy Bear and Steiff Cat
Source: ebay

The seller notes that this vintage collection includes a package—a teddy bear manufactured by Schuco Schreyer and a cat manufactured by Steiff. According to the seller, both pieces date between 1930 and 1939.

The brown toys are reportedly in good shape, which is why they sell at $1,700. To get this collection, however, you may have to compete with 11 people already interested in it.

16. 1950s Gebruder Herman Teddy Bear

1950s Gebruder Herman Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

One of the most impressive teddy bears collectibles from the 1950s, Gebruder Hermann, a German company, manufactured this piece. The old teddy bears 1950s comes with a costume and stands is 19 inches tall.

The bear is in fabulous condition and boasts mohair as its primary material. To get this piece, you will need $1,295.

17. 12.5-inch Gerbruder Teddy Bear

12.5-inch Gerbruder Teddy Bear
Source: ebay 

Another piece from Gebruder, this piece is 12.5 inches tall. The teddy bear was produced in 1910.

One of the teddy bear collectibles that take the shape of a dog, the teddy still has its original material. This piece is selling at $1,295 on eBay.

18. 10-Inch Jointed German Teddy Bear with Shoebutton Eyes

10-Inch Jointed German Teddy Bear with Shoebutton Eyes
Source: ebay

Another impressive piece from Steiff is this antique teddy bear stands at 16 inches and is 10 inches when seated. The stuffed animal boasts mohair as its main material.

The seller notes that the teddy bear is still in excellent condition. Listed on eBay, you can add this piece to your collection if you are willing to spend $1,295.

19. Ultra-rare Jugendstil Steiff Rolling Teddy Bear

Ultra-rare Jugendstil Steiff Rolling Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

This ultra-rare piece came out between 1900 and 1904. The seller notes that despite being one of the oldest teddy bears collectibles, the Ultra-rare Jugendstil Steiff Rolling Teddy Bear is still in excellent condition.

The antique piece still has its original rolling parts. To add this piece to your collection, you will spend $1,200.

20. 15 Claw Steiff Teddy Bear

15 Claw Steiff Teddy Bear
Source: ebay

This plush bear from Steiff came out in 1920. The teddy bear is 12.5 inches tall and boasts excellent mohair coverage.

The antique teddy sells at $895 on eBay. Interestingly, when we checked the listing, more than 20 people had expressed interest in purchasing it.

Overview

Suppose you are thinking of broadening your collection of antique teddy bears collectibles. In that case, there are several things you need to know—the year of manufacture, the designer, manufacturer, country of origin, and distinguishable features and labels. This detailed guide focuses on all of this.

We have gone one step further to show you what the most valuable teddy bears look like. So whether you are looking for something antique or want old teddy bears 1950s, this guide will help you.

We hope this guide has answered your questions about antique teddy bears identification, valuation, and collection. Please let us know in the comments if you need additional information.

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