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118-year-old teddy bear bought at Welsh car boot sale expected to sell for thousands

09 Aug 2023 4 minute read
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers with the rare 1905 Steiff teddy bear. Photo Hansons Auctioneers

A rare teddy bear bought on a hunch at a car boot sale is expected to fetch thousands when it goes under the hammer later this month.

The 1905 Steiff teddy was seen at a car boot sale at Monmouth Showground, South Wales, in June.

It was bought by Jeanette Davies, 60, and her son Kyle Johns, 29, along with a second bear for a total of £130.

But the Steiff toy has now been valued at between £4,000 and £6,000 and will be sold by Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers on August 16.

The pre-Second World War Chad Valley bear which is estimated to fetch between £80 and £120 when it goes under the hammer.

The second toy, a pre-Second World War Chad Valley bear, is estimated to fetch between £80 and £120.

Ms Davies said: “I just had a feeling – a gut feeling.

“I thought he looked like a Steiff bear, a make which can be valuable.

“Sometimes you just take a gamble and I’m glad we did.”

The hunch was strong enough for the pair to part with the largest amount of cash they had ever spent at a car boot.

Mr Johns said: “We’ve been going to the Monmouth car boot sale every Saturday for years but we’ve never found anything as valuable as this.

“Mum was convinced the bear might be special but I wasn’t too sure. In fact, I was reluctant to spend £130 – she had to persuade me.

“The teddy bears were being sold by a woman in her 70s.

“She told us she was clearing everything ahead of a move to Australia.

“The bear my mum thought might be valuable belonged to her grandfather for 60 years.

“I shared a photo of it on Facebook and started getting messages from people saying it was special.

“I messaged Charles on Twitter and it all went from there, pretty quickly really.

“Me and mum were really surprised when we received the valuation. We had no idea the bear could be worth so much.

“We would have been pleased if we’d doubled our money with a valuation of around £250.

“We’re going to Hansons to watch the auction. We hope the bear will be bought by someone who will love it, perhaps a keen collector. Maybe it will join a family of bears.

“It is a brilliant find for us. I help mum run a weekly flea market stall but we’re certainly not antiques experts. Mum just had a hunch it was special.”

The 118-year-old bear has a rare cinnamon shade of fur, earning the name Mr Cinnamon.

It also has original boot-button eyes, with Hansons stating that one ear has been sewn back on “slightly in the wrong direction”.

The auctioneers also estimated that the paw pads were replaced in the 1920s.

Janet Rawnsley, a teddy bear consultant for the auctioneers, said it was an “amazing chance discovery” and that the bear was in “good condition for its age” and “retained its original beauty”, despite some age variation to the fur.

Mr Cinnamon. Photo Hansons Auctioneers.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Finds like this make people’s day and give them hope.

“They remind us there are always treasures to be found at car boot sales, flea markets and charity shops.

“I’m looking forward to helping Mr Cinnamon find a new home. He’s a wonderful collector’s item.”

The bear will be sold at the auction at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire.

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