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You will recognise Old Boy, because he is the official mascot of My Teddy Bear Museum , and a truly cherished part of my collection . Old Boy is an absolutely gorgeous 28 inch tall Steiff Bear with features typical of Steiff Bears from the 1920s. He sports an embossed Steiff button with underscored F in his left ear, large vertically embroidered shield shaped nose with dropped central stitches , long curved tapering arms with 4 claws on each pawpad , and long curved legs with narrow ankles ending with long narrow feet with beige felt pads reinforced with card. There are also 4 claws on the feet. Most typically, Old Boy has large clear glass eyes with brown painted backs and black pupils , dating it to the post World War 1 1920s era.

 


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Also typical of this era was the introduction of kapok stuffing to the body in addition to woodwool, giving its body a slightly plumper look than earlier Steiff bears.

This side view clearly shows the plump fat body with a prominent hump, and the lovely long tapering arms and legs .

Steiff bears of this era also sport a shaved muzzle. .

Like many vintage bears that have survived generations, Old Boy sports holes in his pawpads , exposing the woodwool stuffing in his paws. His head would have been completely stuffed with woodwool, also known as Exelsior , although kapok would have been added to his body to make it softer and more cuddly.

Although showing signs of his age, Old Boy has that wonderful look that vintage bears which have been played with, passed down from generation to generation, sport .... a relaxed , comfortable look, filled with years of whispered memories .

 

Just look at that face ! Steiff bears from the 1920s with their large soulful eyes and appealing round faces are to me the most beautiful of teddies throughout the ages. They are truly the epitomy of everything that is appealing about teddy bears, and Old Boy is a classic example of Steiff artistry at its peak !

I first caught sight of Old Boy in 1993 at a Trade Fair in Singapore . 2 lovely young enterprising ladies by the name of Ruth and Dee had just formed a new company trading in teddy bears called Pawmarks , and they were exhibiting at the Trade Fair. I had heard that they had brought in several antique bears, and interest piqued, I made my way round the many makeshift stores at the Trade Fair looking for the Pawmarks stall . When I caught my first glimpse of Old Boy , I gasped, and it was truly love at first sight. THIS was my dream bear , and I just knew that I had to have Old Boy in my collection.

Alas, it was not to be then, because he cost way too much for me to afford then . It was heartrending not being able to buy him , but then, no one in Singapore at that time could bear parting with that much money for a bear either, so Old Boy was to return to Pawmarks with Ruth and Dee, with no one to claim him as their own .

Through the years, I paid many visits to Pawmarks , always to visit Old Boy, as he was called by Ruth and Dee , who had by then decided not to sell him. It was not until 7 long years later that Ruth and Dee decided that it was time for Old Boy to find a new home. He was to be put up for auction at Christies South Kensington , but as Ruth and Dee knew how much I had loved the bear, they offered Old Boy to me first . By this time, the price of vintage bears was at its peak, with many vintage bears fetching astounding amounts at auctions run by Christies South Kensington, and the price asked for Old Boy was significantly higher than he would have sold for 7 years earlier. It was a difficult, difficult decision for me, but I was not going to let the opportunity to bring Old Boy home with me slip through my fingers again.

Happily, Old Boy is now the most cherished part of my humble Teddy Bear collection, and the proud mascot of My Teddy Bear Museum , and it is my joy to be able to share him with you in this way. I hope that you enjoy him too as much as I have over the years....

 

 

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