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Antique Teddy Bear - Discover The Amazing History

by Daniel Wright

The teddy bear, that iconic symbol of childhood, owes its existence to an act of kindness on the part of Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth president of the United States. On a 1902 hunting trip in Mississippi, Roosevelt's hosts trapped a bear and offered Roosevelt the chance to shoot it. Roosevelt refused, saying that it would be unsportsmanlike to shoot a helpless animal. This incident became the basis for a political cartoon called "Drawing the Line in Mississippi". Morris Michtom, a store owner in Brooklyn, saw the cartoon and was inspired to create a stuffed toy bear, which he named "Teddy" after Roosevelt.

In a series of later cartoons, the teddy bear, named after a popular U.S. president, was shown to be small, cute, and cuddly. These cartoons motivated the store owner, Morris Michtom, to start creating tiny stuffed bears as children's toys. Michtom's wife was already producing stuffed bears for the store, so they had everything they needed already in place to market his smaller, cuddlier version.

Michtom sent a sample of the toy to President Roosevelt, requesting at the same time that the President allow use of his nickname in the name of the toy. President Roosevelt okayed this, and this is where the toy teddy bear began to become a part of popular culture. From their earliest days these stuffed bears showed great popularity, and when Mr. Michtom put a sign in his window advertising 'Teddy Bears' this name soon become synonymous with these stuffed animals.

Within several years, other shops started selling stuffed animals. These were sold all over Europe and the U.S. A lot of books, media, and music at that time made references to toy bears. As the years went by, the teddy bear became more popular as a collectible, of great value to those who collect toys, vintage dolls, and antique dolls.

A number of toy bears are high in value. For instance, a toy bear that's woven partially from gold and made by the original manufacturer as a commemoration of the toy's 125th anniversary is on the market for $84,000. Michtom's company, which marketed the original teddy bear, the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co., is still in business now.

The hobby of toy bear collecting should not cost you thousands of dollars. There are many ways to find reasonably priced and sometimes great bargains for vintage bears at garage sales, flea markets, online auctions and special collector's venues. In addition to its status as a collectible vintage bear, this toy that bears the name of a popular president, will make a warm and cuddly companion for a young child.

Discover the amazing world of teddy bears at The Vintage Doll Shoppe. We're the net's one-stop for vintage doll collecting. Browse a huge selection of vintage dolls for sale including Bisque, composition, celluloid, china, tin/metal, wooden, and other and antique dolls. We share our latest interesting finds in The Doll House, our blog devoted to vintage dolls. While visiting, enjoy our collection of videos showcasing antique doll collections, restoration tip videos, vintage commercials, and much more!

Published September 24th, 2008

Filed in Kid


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