The collection started in Washington DC in 1975 when neighbor, Adrienne Mars gave me a gift of “Lauren Bearcall” when she heard that my personal treasured teddy passed down from my Mothers side of the family had been destroyed by my Father.
Additionally, around this time I was apparently showing interest in the entertainment business, having just seen Hello, Dolly!
starring (and met backstage) Pearl Bailey at the Kennedy Centre. Many years later, she sent me “Humphrey Beargart” and later still, the Russian “Bearonsky” — these 3 bears from the North American Bear Co. hold special place n my heart.
Every bear in our collection is hand made, typically of mohair, and curated carefully by us to add value to the collection of about 3,000 teddies in total. We typically look for a local hand made teddy in cities we travel too, so the collection is truly global.
Toby’s favorite bear? The Elasoplast antique bear made during WWII and put in a shop window to both advertise the bandages, and soften the terrible blow of the blitz of German bombings in London for small children. The most valuable bear is likely the c.1912 Antique teddy from Southhampton (Titanic
time), or the Hermann Berlin Wall bear with it’s curved paws to hang on the wall, and a piece of the Berlin Wall in it’s knapsack. But since they are highly collectible, it could also be the Merrythought Princess Diana white rose bear. But we don’t collect for financial value (although it’s certainly an insurance consideration), we collect for the memories of travel, the joy of the cuteness and artistry and the fun of it all.