Most Valuable Teddy Bears in the World
Teddy bears came into existence in 1903 thanks to a political cartoon. It depicted a hunting trip taken by President Teddy Roosevelt, showing that he famously refused to shoot an injured bear cub because he felt it was unsportsmanlike.
American toymaker Morris Michtom seized on the popular story and created "Teddy’s Bear." Other manufacturers quickly caught on, but none more so than the Steiff plush toys company from Germany, which quickly became a worldwide brand name due to the quality build of their teddy bears.
While not all vintage teddy bears are as valuable as the ones on this list, the popular stuffed animal has certainly stood the test of time and continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Do you happen to own any of these most expensive teddy bears?
35. 'Titch' Hecla Teddy Bear
Bottom line: Titch, an expensive teddy bear made by Hecla in 1907, has one of the sweetest looks of all the bears we've come across.
He's only 11.5 inches tall and his paw pads are slightly worn, but his warm face looks like he has years of happy memories.
If only he could share them with us.
34. Bruin Steiff Teddy Bear
Bottom line: This Bruin Steiff teddy bear is a few decades younger than most of the rare teddy bears here, and it shows.
His velvety brown mohair is in perfect condition. If he were sitting in the window of a toy shop today, this 12-inch teddy would fit in just fine.
His squeaker doesn't work any more, but this 1940's bear was otherwise flawless when he was sold.
33. Omega Coaster Teddy Bear
Bottom line: If you've heard of Omega Toys, you're probably not a zoomer or millennial. It was the original trade name of the British United Toy Manufacturing Co. Ltd., which made stuffed animals from the late 1800s all the way up until the 1980s.
This rare Omega Coaster teddy is perched on top of a wooden trolley, and his jointed legs really pedal when the cart is pushed forward.
His fur is thinner than it once was, and his eyes have lost some of their brown-painted backings, but he's still considered to be in excellent condition for being made in the 1920s.
32. Worn Steiff Teddy Bear
Bottom line: A large Steiff teddy bear featuring blonde mohair, black button eyes and a black stitched nose, this rare teddy bear looks a little bit, how shall we put it, well loved.
He's balding and his paw pads had to be restored, but he still has character. Judging by the price tag, that's all that matters.
31. Steiff Sailor Teddy Bear
Bottom line: Ahoy! This 1920's era bear is two feet tall, and his fur is thinning a little, but his historic look helped him hold his value. The expensive teddy bear had the original Steiff button in his ear and a crisp sailor's collar adorned with a Theodore Roosevelt pin.
His long, jointed limbs and swivel head still work, and his brown and black glass eyes are as shiny as ever. If only people aged as well as teddy bears.
30. Strunz Jester Teddy Bear
Bottom line: Not in a laughing mood? Bear with us, because the price on this jester teddy is no joke. Made by Strunz circa 1904, this rare teddy bear is almost impossible to find for sale.
Its jester costume is exactly like the one manufactured by Steiff for their clown toy in the same year. Steiff was understandably unhappy about the exact copy, but Strunz continued copying them for years.
29. Blonde Mohair Steiff Teddy
Bottom line: A rare Steiff teddy bear with blonde mohair and sweet, black button eyes, this original bear dates back to around 1908.
The paw pads were restored, and there are a few pin holes on the feet pads, but the bear's knit scarf and "Good Bye Teddy! Good Bye!" pin set it apart from the crowd.
28. 'Caesar' Steiff Teddy Bear
Bottom line: Caesar doesn't look much like Julius Caesar, but that's a good thing. He's way cuter. Caesar the teddy bear was made by Steiff around 1908. That's only six years after Steiff popularized the teddy bear in 1902.
The age of this bear is easily distinguished by the center seam running down the middle of the bear, a trademark of some of the earliest Steiff teddy bears.
The 19.5-inch bear no longer growls, but he was otherwise sold in excellent condition. This rare teddy bear was once owned by Jeanette Paros, who lovingly ran her own antique teddy bear business for decades.
27. Farnell Gas Mask Teddy Bear
Bottom line: The story behind this valuable teddy bear is heartbreaking.
As you can see, the Farnell teddy bear is made with a child's gas mask attached. It was given to a boy named David Ellender, born in January 1939. At the time, it was a way for parents to make sure their child was prepared at all times in case of an air raid.
The area where the seller lived was heavily shelled in the following years. He was fortunate to survive, and the worn bear was sold with David's original National Registration Identity Card.
26. Bing Clockwork Teddy With Ball
Bottom line: This rare teddy bear isn't the only clockwork bear on this list, but it's probably the coolest. The Bing clockwork bear was made around 1910. Its limbs are attached to little wheels and a red tin ball.
Inside the ball is where the real magic happens. When the ball is wound up, a motor inside it begins to whir, rotating the ball and helping the whimsical bear walk all on its own.
25. Fine Steiff Teddy Bear
Bottom line: Unlike many rare teddy bears, this vintage Steiff is in exceptionally fine condition.
Made with glossy white mohair, a nose stitched in brown and black glass eyes, it's about as close to mint condition as a 100-year-old bear can get.
24. Steiff Store Display Teddy Bear
Sold: Not yet sold
Bottom line: This valuable teddy bear has flattened fur, a missing label and patches where the mohair is worn away completely, but the seller still thinks it's worth a hefty sum. The reason for its supposed worth is the bear's history.
This type of large teddy bear was used as a display toy in old toy shops. They were made with built-in sound boxes that growled when a red string is pulled, but most of them don't work anymore.
This one does.
23. Bing Clockwork Teddy Bear
Price: $4,416 (£2,160)
Bottom line: For a long time, Bing was the only other teddy bear maker in the world besides Steiff. And at first, Bing simply copied Steiff until a lawsuit changed the company's tune.
Starting in 1909, the year this bear was made, Bing used its own designs for bears. That included claws and a pronounced face.
This valuable teddy was also large at nearly 20 inches tall.
22. Steiff Center-Seam Teddy
Bottom line: Made over a century ago in 1907, this Steiff bear features reddish mohair, a swiveling head and long, jointed limbs.
The Steiff button in his ear is part of what made him so valuable as a collectible teddy bear.
His felt paw pads have a few holes, but the bidders didn't seem to mind.
21. Steiff Karl Lagerfeld Teddy Bear
Bottom line: It’s not the most expensive teddy ever made, but it’s one of the coolest.
In 2008, two German legends, the Steiff toymaker and artist-designer Karl Lagerfeld, teamed up to create a teddy version of Lagerfeld with all of his signature elements — hip sunglasses, a suit and tie, and a "KL" monogrammed belt.
Only 2,500 of them were made, and they originally retailed for about $1,500 a piece. However, they are listed for sale on eBay for upward of $8,000.
20. Louis Vuitton Monogrammed Teddy Bear
Bottom line: In 2005, the venerable French fashion house released a teddy it named DouDou (which roughly translates to a cuddly toy or blanket) for the stocking-stuffer friendly price of $9,000. Only 500 were made at the time, and they were obviously ultra-exclusive.
A few years later, there was a second run, but that didn’t diminish the bear’s value — or at least what this seller thinks of its value, hoping to sell it for a whopping $100,000.
19. Gund Snuffles Teddy Bear
Bottom line: This cuddly little bear debuted at the 2010 American International Toy Fair, where it was encased in thick glass and watched over by a security guard.
Snuffles is the most popular teddy in Gund’s lineup, and this one was made extra special with the additions of white alpaca fur, Tahitian black pearls for eyes and a 10-carat diamond necklace with a white gold chain.
18. Steiff Record Teddy
Bottom line: This rare Steiff Record Teddy riding an antique metal framed cart was produced around 1915. Each wooden wheel of the cart has "Steiff" stamped on it, and the entire ensemble was in excellent condition at the time it was sold.
It was originally estimated to be worth less than a third of what it sold for, racking up 32 bids before it finally closed.
17. 'Mr. Edward Bear'
Bottom line: 'Mr. Edward Bear' was made circa 1912 by Steiff. Handcrafted with white mohair, black boot button eyes, a stitched brown eyes and jointed limbs, the 25-inch bear was given to the original seller when she was a teenager in the early 1900s.
The teddy bear originally growled, but the growler no longer operates. Despite having some moth holes here and there, Edward sold for just over 15 grand.
16. Steiff Grandfather Teddy Bear
Price: $19,993 (£10,000)
Bottom line: Not to be confused with the newer Steiff Grandpa Teddy Bear, the Grandfather version was a display bear for Steiff and a big one at that, measuring 46 inches tall.
He was created sometime in the 1920s, and this model had plenty of wear and tear when it was auctioned in 2007.
15. Steiff Alfonzo Teddy Bear
Price: $20,195 (£12,100)
Bottom line: Alfonzo was a one-off bear made in 1908 specifically for Princess Xenia Georgievna, daughter of Russian Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (hence the bear’s red color). Georgievna took the bear with her on a visit to Buckingham Palace in 1914, but she would never return home due to the onset of World War I and the Russian Revolution a few years later.
She kept Alfonzo until her death in 1965, and her daughter eventually auctioned off the bear in 1989 — the year the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union’s grip on Eastern Europe loosened.
A limited reproduction of about 5,000 bears was released in 1990, but those bears never achieved the value of the original.
14. Steiff Large Display Teddy Bear
Price: $35,620 (£18,000)
Bottom line: At 45 inches tall and released in 1906, this is one of the largest and oldest-known Steiff models. The seller’s great-grandfather originally owned the bear, although it’s unknown how or when it was first acquired.
It spent many years on display in a shoe store in Massachusetts before it was auctioned off. It also lived in the owner’s home, where it was rarely shown and generally kept away from curious children.
13. Steiff PB 28 Rod Bear
Price: $49,868 (£25,200)
Bottom line: The PB 28 series was released in 1904, making these few remaining teddies the oldest known bears in the world.
The one sold at auction in 2006 was in terrific shape for its age and also sported the rare white mohair, which likely boosted the price from an anticipated £15,000 ($29,400) to more than £25,000 ($49,000).
These bears were called Rod teddies because they had metal rods inserted in them so as to create joints.
12. Princess Diana Beanie Baby
Bottom line: The Princess Diana teddy is something of a legend among collectors. Upon its release in 1997, the year she died, it went for a mere $5 to $7. But the story goes that stores were only allowed to purchase and sell a few at a time, which got people thinking it would be a limited edition bear.
That apparently sent the price skyrocketing, with at least one confirmed purchase of a set of three bears on eBay for $50,000.
Also note that the seller now wants more than $700,000 for their last remaining set of three.
11. Steiff Dicky Teddy Bear
Price: $53,977 (£26,400)
Bottom line: This was an engagement present the year it was made in 1930 and remained in the couple’s family until it was auctioned in 2007.
The Dicky teddy was beloved from its debut thanks in large part to its soft fur and the warm smile on its face.
10. Steiff Center-Seam Teddy Bear
Price: $55,304 (£28,680)
Bottom line: Although far from the most expensive bear ever sold, this cinnamon-colored teddy is one of the rarest in the world. It was made in 1908 and features a brooch with the name Will.
It was owned by Pam Hebbs, who was considered to be one of the world’s greatest teddy bear collectors and evaluators.
She wrote "Collecting Teddy Bears" in 1988, which showed off her extensive collection and knowledge of antique bears.
9. Steiff Hot Water Bottle Bear
Price: $61,742 (£31,200)
Bottom line: In 1907, Steiff created a new kind of teddy that contained a pouch for holding a metal bottle with hot water inside to keep kids warm in cold months. The bottle could be removed when not needed.
The bear sold at the Christie’s auction in 2006 and was owned by the same woman for her entire 90-year life. She even had pictures from her childhood to prove its authenticity.
8. Steiff Elliot Teddy Bear
Price: $73,409 (£49,500)
Bottom line: The Elliot model debuted in 1908 and was notable for its bright-blue mohair. Steiff also made five other colorful bears and sent them all to Harrods in London.
Elliot was the least popular among the lot and was never recreated. However, one of them survived and was auctioned in 1993 — fetching three times the estimated price.
7. Steiff Harlequin Teddy Bear
Price: $74,201 (£46,850)
Bottom line: The Harlequin model is one of the prettier Steiff bears with its two-tone coloring. It was made in 1925, and this particular bear was in very good condition upon its sale in 2010.
The original owner sold it in 1999. She worked for Steiff for more than 40 years, including for the last five years of founder Margarete Steiff’s life (who died in 1909).
6. Steiff Diamond Eyes Bear
Price: $85,630 (£43,000)
Bottom line: This blinged bear was never sold at auction (at least not yet), but it came with a hefty price tag upon its release in 2008 to commemorate 125 years of Steiff plush toys.
To achieve such a price, Steiff spared no expense. The bear’s eyes are made from emeralds and diamonds, and its nose is solid 24-karat gold.
It’s unclear how many were actually sold, but department store Selfridges said at the time that they hoped lavish Christmas spenders would be enticed by the gilded teddy.
5. Steiff Happy Anniversary Teddy Bear
Bottom line: Boasting one of the most extensive teddy bear collections in the world, Rosemary and Paul Volpp celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary in 1989 by buying one of the rarest and most expensive teddy bears: Happy Anniversary.
At the time, the bear was the most expensive teddy purchase ever made. The couple said Happy was their most popular bear. While there are replicas of this 1926 bear out there, don't be fooled for the real thing.
4. Steiff Teddy Bear
Bottom line: This is the oldest known teddy bear in the world, made in 1904.
It reportedly sold at a German auction for more than $100,000 in 2000.
3. Steiff Titanic Mourning Bear
Price: $133,285 (£91,750)
Bottom line: After the Titanic disaster in 1912, Steiff made 600 black teddy bears to mourn the victims of the shipwreck.
The woman who owned this particular bear said she never cared for it all that much. So it sat untouched in storage for decades, which is why it was in such good shape at the time of the auction.
2. Steiff Bear 'Teddy Girl'
Price: $171,578 (£110,000)
Bottom line: At the time, Teddy Girl was the most expensive teddy bear ever sold. More incredible than the price tag, however, is the story behind this Steiff.
It was made in 1905 in Steiff’s second year of making teddies, and it was the beloved bear of Bob Henderson. He would become a colonel in the British Army and fight in World War II — right alongside his beloved Teddy Girl.
In fact, she never left Henderson’s side until his death in 1990.
1. Steiff and Louis Vuitton Bear
Bottom line: There are plenty of websites claiming this bear sold for more than $2 million, but we were unable to find a credible source.
However, the Guinness Book of World Records confirms the bear sold for $182,550, which was closer to other sources we found.
On a side note, Kim Kardashian bought one of these teddies for her third child for $170,000.
Is My Teddy Bear Worth Anything?
The teddy bears on this list might be over the top, but there are many teddy bears that are valuable. The first thing you'll want to do is properly identify if your bear is indeed an antique and then check to understand its value.
Here are some great tips on how to do that from Totally Teddy Bears. You can also find antique appraisers online or even in your community.
Lastly, you can always turn to eBay's teddy bear collectors and hobbyists page to see what price other sellers are asking.
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