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Teddy Bear Collector

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Teddy bears help the tears go away and give you courage to endure tough times. These young farmer bears are great listeners and never give away your secrets.
Courtesy of: Bears From the Den

Just like teddy bears themselves, teddy bear collectors come in all shapes and sizes. There are millions of them around the world and the number is growing now that teddy bears aren't just for little kids anymore!

Collectors go beyond just hanging on to the favorite toy bear they had as a child. Avid teddy bear fans have hundreds of bears and are always ready to add another cute new bear!

There is some debate over how these bears were invented. The most commonly held theory is that teddy bears date back to 1902 and are named after U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt.

A Brooklyn candy store used them as a promotion to help sell their sweets. Teddy bears took off and that New York candy store became the toy giant known as the Ideal Toy Company.

Some collectors stick to whatever catches their eye, while others go after artist bears, which are designed and handmade in limited editions. Others collect antique bears.

"All of the bears I have mean something to me. They remind me of a good time I've had," says Dan Bear (yes, his real name), a collector in Atlanta.

Most mass-produced teddy bears cost between $20 and $50, depending on their size and the manufacturer. Bears handmade by craftspeople or artists start at about $100. Antique bears run into the $250 to $500 range.

Regardless of what kind of bears these people collect, they have one thing in common -- they love their bears and believe they make life a little softer around the edges.

"In my experience, bear people tend to be a really warm natured, happy and loving bunch of people. Some people have a lot of love to give and teddies give them a good outlet for that," says Karen Wright, a bear collector in England.

There are lots of places to find great teddy bears. There are teddy bear fairs, where artists show their handmade creations, specialty shops, mail order catalogs, and even stores on the Internet. Most collectors say they're always on the lookout for a great bear and know when they have to "adopt."

"I experience mental squeals of joy and usually think, 'That's neat and a bit different and I hope it doesn't cost too much, because I just have to have it,'" says Amy Lobsiger, a bear collector in Detroit.

One of the nice things about this kind of collecting is that anyone can do it. You can spend as much or as little money as you want, you don't need any special skills and you can start at any age.

The only problem is storing the bears -- and this is only a problem if you have a lot.

"I've got about 200 teddy bears -- some in cabinets, some on the TV and lots in other places," says Nadia Verleger, an avid bear collector in Germany.

But isn't this a kid's hobby? No! Those "in the know" suggest this type of collecting is growing as it becomes more accepted for adults.

"I think it's become more socially acceptable to collect teddies now. People just think you're a bit strange now, whereas when I began, they thought you were totally loopy!" says Wright.

Teddy bear collectors can turn to a number of occupations geared toward their interests. There are opportunities to make and sell bears, as well as opening or working in a specialty shop. The flair for collecting would make them ideal for secondhand or antique shops.

The instinct for collecting and preserving may also lead to careers in archiving and curating.

Getting Started

Whatever your reasons for collecting bears, it's lots of fun, say collectors.

Start small and don't think you need every bear out there. "Maybe select a particular artist or manufacturer you like and stick with those at the start," says Lobsiger.

If you're looking at starting a collection you may hope to make money with someday, keep everything your bears come with.

"If you intend for your bears to become collectibles, keep any packaging and tags that come with your bear and take good care of them," says Verleger.

Another way to learn more about teddy bears is to try making one yourself. A craft store is a good place for information and supplies.

Another good way to learn more is to get in touch with other teddy bear collectors.


Teddy Bear Tymes
P.O. Box 21036
St. Catharines , ON
L2M 7X2
E-mail :


American Teddy Bear Encyclopedia,
by  Linda Mullins
A Collector's History of the Teddy Bear,
by  Patricia W. Schoonmaker
The Ultimate Teddy Bear Book,
by  Pauline Cockrill


Good Bears of the World
A nonprofit organization dedicated to giving away teddy bears to the needy and the lonely, both young and old

History of the Teddy Bear
Attempts to answer the question of who invented the teddy bear

See the latest collection of adorable bears

Bearly a Page
The teddy bear's place on the Web, with quotes, photos and lots more

Bears From the Den
A teddy bear for everyone

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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.