Ask the Experts: Despite wear, dad’s teddy bear may bring $225

LET-QI would like to see if you can give me some information on a teddy bear I have. It was my father’s teddy bear and I believe it to be about 70 years old.  I am not sure what type of bear or the worth of the bear, and would like to see if you could please help me.0102130900

— D.D., via email

Ask the Experts letter "A"The teddy bear was named after Theodore Roosevelt who refused to kill an injured bear cub while hunting in Louisiana in 1902. Toy makers immediately began making the teddy bears, which were all the rage. Morris and Rose Michtom were the first to call their version “teddy bears.” Steiff in Germany began marketing their bears about the same time and their brand became the most famous.

There are many versions and types of teddy bears and the old ones are now being reproduced, so inspection of the materials and methods used in any single bear is a necessity.

Your bear appears to be one from the 1930s to 1940s based on what is seen in the photo, but “hands on” inspection is needed to verify this. The eyes appear to be glass (or celluloid) and the nose is stitched. No maker is known but we know it did not have a button in the ear which would indicate a Steiff bear. The paw pads appear to be 0102130901creplacements, which reduces the value of the bear. You did not say if there is a voice. Additionally, the limbs are jointed. The fur is cinnamon. We do not know the material used to stuff the bear but it was probably excelsior (softwood shavings).

There is damage present. So, based on what is seen in the photo, the bear should have a market value as is of $225 or more based on where and how it is sold. A collector would love to have it.


LET-QThe disc measures 7 1/8 inches and is flat on the bottom. The rod measures 10 feet in length and has notches on one side every 1/2 inch. All parts except for the thumb screw are wood. I’ve inquired in numerous antique shops without success.

— M.B., via email

Ask the Experts letter "A"

Your wood tool was used in several applications a hundred or more years ago. It was wood because it was used in wet conditions such as ship building. It was used for alignment with notches as markers along the line. It was also used in the building of ice houses along the East Coast of the U.S.

These were built without nails or metal because of the wet, melting ice during summer months in the wood buildings. Ice was sawed out of ponds and stored in saw dust to be used for cooling food products such as fish. Pegs were driven into the


side boards and frame of the building using bee’s wax as the glue. The peg was smeared with the wax, which was purchased as a block, and then driven into the bored holes created with an auger. Once inserted, the wax hardened and was as strong as steel. No metal was necessary. The holes were bored along the path of the notched board, which could be slightly rotated as necessary.

This system was still in use until WWI. As noted, it was used in other situations as well.


About our A.I.A. appraiser: Dr. G. Marchelos is an honors graduate and certified appraiser of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. Additionally, Dr. Marchelos has a PhD in history, is a professor of antiquities at the University of Alabama, and is a nationally recognized appraiser working for both private and public institutions across North America. Dr. Marchelos is also a well established antiques dealer, operating both in the U.S. and Europe.