jeudi 18 juillet 2013

What Every Collector Should Know About The Buying And Care Of Antique Teddy Bears

By Danielle Galloway

Teddy bears are endearing toys which have been around for generations. People who collect antique teddy bears are sure to find what they are looking for either online, or at an antique fair or dealer. When buying these charming toys, it's helpful to know how to find a genuine product for one's money and also how to properly care for them.

The early teddies were designed to closely resemble real bears, so one can tell approximately how old they are by their general appearance and construction. They usually have a longer snout, large feet, wider hips, and longer, curvy limbs, they also may have a hump between their shoulders. Instead of plastic, eyes are most often made out of glass or boot buttons. The fur is usually made from mohair and stuffed with wood shavings, wool, or kapok, and the body may have a hand-stitched seam.

It's advisable to obtain a reference guide that highlights key features to note. Certain manufacturers and time periods have trademark characteristics which make it easy to identify their bears. These guides also give expected price ranges for specific toys, but sometimes these are on the high-end and it is still possible to purchase the same teddy for a lower price.

It is likely that a teddy may have been repaired at one time or another, but this need not devalue it. Restorations are a common practice of many dealers who wish to try to restore the toy's original appearance and make it more attractive to buyers.

The internet has become a teddy mecca, with an enormous assortment to choose from. One must realize that there are some so-called "antique" bears being sold which are in fact newer ones that are being made to look old and priced as though they were. While their features may resemble early designs, they are normally made of plush rather than mohair, which may be "aged" to look worn out.

There are also some toys manufactured as true replicas of early ones, but they are then altered by dishonest sellers who try to make them appear genuinely old and mark up their prices accordingly. Some people recommend smelling a bear to see if it has an "old scent" to it, but this does not always help as many dealers clean the bears they sell which effectively eliminates any odor.

It is best to handle these toys by their torsos rather than their limbs, as this may cause damage to the delicate joints. Since they are prized collector's items, they must also be kept away from children and pets. Limiting contact with hands is best, as the oils present in skin can cause deterioration the bear's fur.

Moths are sometimes a problem with antique teddy bears, but this can usually be eliminated by placing the toys in the freezer overnight. Cleaning must be done with the utmost care. The bear can be gently vacuumed to remove dust and then cleaned with a sponge dampened with a solution of fabric wash or soap flakes dissolved in water. Paper towels can be used to blot up excess dampness and then the toy should be left to dry and then have its fur brushed lightly with a clean brush.

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