The Teddy Bear.
Repeatedly, I have been asked about the teddy bear. Over and over again I have heard this question in one form or another.
What is the deal with the teddy bear?
First of all his name is Mr. Ted. In formal settings, he goes by Ted E. Bear ESQ.
When I first started laying out the website I needed a picture to hold the place on pages. Ted sits on a shelf over my desk and watches me work. I call him my assistant. (Don't tell him I said that. He thinks he is the boss!) He doesn't do much work, but when I look up and see him watching over me, he always brings a smile to my face.
I don't expect much work out of him as he is retired. He was born in 1926, and faithfully served two generations of children. Mr. Ted is 78 years old! He deserves a bit of quiet respect. The way he's going he will probably outlive me!
Anyway, I had a picture of Mr. Ted and used it as a placeholder on a web site I was building. I planned to have a graphics designer put together a nice looking logo to replace Ted's picture.
By the time I got around to ordering a graphic, I had gotten used to old Ted looking back at me from these pages. So I decided to let him have the honor.
I remember when I first saw Mr. Ted. I was in a woman's garage looking through piles of unwanted stuff for other interesting items. I saw a nice looking wooden box under a workbench.
I like boxes. Especially old wood ones. I asked the woman if she wanted to sell the box.
She said, "Yes." I dragged the box out from under the bench, and tried to open it. She showed me how to work the hidden clasps, and I opened the box. The box contained items from her childhood. Inside the box lay a neat old Alexander baby doll in the original clothes. Below the infant was a neat old carnival Kewpie doll. Under the dolls there was an old baby blanket that had fallen apart over the years.
I pulled the ratty old blanket out of the box, and there Mr. Ted was. Lying nested in old yellowed newspapers in the bottom of the box covered with lint and shreds of the decaying blanket looking up at me.
It was pitiful.
The newspapers were from 1947, and the box hadn't been opened in 45 years!
If Ted could talk - I think he can on some emotional level - his words at that moment would have been, "Save me! Please, Save me!"
Think about it, 45 years trapped in a wooden box with two dolls packed in on top of him. I had to save him.
I made the deal with the woman and packed all my purchases into my car. While I was driving home I planned to put Mr. Ted on eBay. His box mates quickly found new homes through eBay auctions.
When I was cleaning the lint and dust from him, he spoke to me. Not in words, more like the warm feeling you get when you hold a pretty girl's hand at the movies. At that moment Ted went from being a few dollars in my mind to being something more.
I don't know what it was. I don't remember having a stuffed toy when I was a child. Maybe Mr. Ted is supposed to be with me? I like to think so.
Dealing with antiques and collectibles a lot of diverse items pass through my hands. Most are just transactions. They pay the bills. Every now and then something speaks to me and get a place in my home. Mr. Ted has a place, and has earned it.
Sounds kind of corny coming from a 41 year old man. But I am OK with it. It's the truth. Ted belongs on the shelf over my desk.
If you want a little history about the bear here's all I have been able to piece together. Ted was a Christmas present in the mid 1920s. The woman I saved him from thought 1926, when she was seven. She wasn't sure, and he might actually be a few years older.
I think he was made, or born, in the United States. The football shape of his torso generally means American bears. He has paper and wire squeakers in his paws. One still works, the other has been damaged over the years. From what I have learned these paw squeakers are unusual.
Ted's eyes are hand blown glass on steel pins. Two colors of glass. With his one ear cocked as if he is listening to something important and the smirk on his face he is one special bear.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing him on the web site as much as I enjoy having him a part of my life.
Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.