A woman named Pam Brown once said, “In a world gone bad, a bear—even a bear standing on its head—is a comforting, uncomplicated, dependable hunk of sanity.”
Today, as part of its 150th Anniversary Celebration, FAO Schwarz has unveiled a gallery of classic Steiff collectibles.
In 1905, Steiff brand introduced the five-piece “Barle Bear,” which was renamed the “Teddy Bear” in 1906 after Teddy Roosevelt, out on a hunt, refused to shoot an injured bear.
The walk-around gallery will feature early Steiff teddies in addition to vintage stuffed animals and pop culture characters, the likes of Mickie and Minnie. All of Steiff’s products are handcrafted and characterized by buttoned ears (an element introduced to prevent counterfeit) and the brand’s motto that “only the best is good enough for children.”
Perhaps best recognized in the form of the nearly life-size animals which tower from FAO’s shelves, Steiff pieces have been a long-time fixture of the store.
Four bears, two vintage and two commemorative, have been made available for purchase: The PB 28 Rod Teddy Bear, only five of which are known to exist and which fetches a nice price at $32,000; the Center Seam Teddy Bear: Early in the 1900’s, Steiff would join two rolls of mohair fabric every seventh bear to prevent waste, creating a distinctive seam down the center of these bears’ faces; the 30-Piece 150th Anniversary Edition Bear and and the 1,500-Piece Limited Edition Anniversary Bear.
On August 23, the granddaughter of Steiff founder Margarete Steiff’s nephew, who invented the Teddy Bear, and the great-great granddaughter of F.A.O. Schwarz will come to the store to discuss the brands and sign purchases. Experts will also be on site to offer complimentary appraisals of Steiff memorabilia.
For more information on the gallery or items for purchase, visit FAO’s 150th Anniversary page.
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