Ask the Experts: Value of rosary case is in its nostalgia

AskATheader LET-QI am hoping you can help me. I purchased a Grisly Spielwaren baby teddy bear from an estate sale. The bear has two tags on it. One has the name of the distributor of the bear with the name of Charles Moose.

There was an article on your website dated February 11, 2011, which an author by the name of Ken Yenke talks about vintage bears, and he mentions getting information from his friend, Charles Moose.

I am trying to get more information on the bear I purchased. I searched and searched the web with no luck. I am wondering if I could get the email of Ken Yenke to see if he could Baby Bear 1contact Charles Moose to see if he could help me since it was purchased from him. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

— E.S., via email

A The Hermann-Spielwaren company was founded in 1954 in Germany and specialized in hand-made mohair character teddy bears; the literal translation of Spielwaren is “play wares.” A needle and thread superimposed on bear on all fours is the identifying trademark of Grisly Spielwaren. For approximately 20 years, between the early 1960s and the late 1970s a round metal disc with this trademark was attached to the bear’s left shoulder area. This practice was resumed in 1996 with a rectangular gold and red metallic tag.

Unfortunately, the left chest area on your bear is covered by the large tag. If either of these tags is on your bear it will help in dating the production date. The lack of such a tag would indicate a production date prior to the early 1960s or between the late 1970s up to 1996; there is also the possibility that the tag has been removed.

There are many different designers and character Grisly bears available both new and vintage, typically selling in the $120 to $150 range.

The “Baby Bear” is a difficult character to identify; you might try contacting the company for their production date.


This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine
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LET-QI received this keepsake from my grandmother when I finished my First Communion, and she said she received it from her mother when she finished her First Communion. I know nothing more about it and would like to get more information. My gram has since passed about six years ago but would be about 93 if she were alive.

— M.P., via email

AThis sentimental keepsake from your grandmother was an apt gift for marias pics 005your First Communion and one that was a very common gift to young people receiving that sacrament; it is a rosary bead case. There are only two vessels associated with the Catholic church of this shape and size. One is a rosary bead case and the other is a pyx, or vessel for carrying communion to the home-bound or hospitalized. It is unlikely that a pyx would bear the likeness of the Virgin and would more likely portray an image of Jesus, the Pascal Lamb or the letters “IHS.” The image of the Virgin is appropriate for a rosary bead case, as the rosary is associated with the Blessed Mother.

Your rosary bead case is unique in that it bears a second image; there is an image of Jesus on the inside at the bottom. Typically these rosary bead cases sell for $10, but with the additional image this case might sell in the $20 to $25 range. It may easily be 100 years old, and how wonderful that you have such a sentimental reminder of your Communion and your grandmother.

About our A.I.A. appraiser: Anthony J. Cavo is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute Of Antiques and a graduate of Reisch College of Auctioneering. He has extensive experience in the field of buying and selling antiques and collectibles; at age 18, he became one of the youngest purchasers and consigners of antiques and art for a New York auction house. Mr. Cavo is an active dealer in the antiques and collectibles marketplace in the U.S. and abroad.

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