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Unfinished ‘bear business’ draws on friendship and expertise

Learn how a decades-long friendship between two men brought together by collectible bears lead to one of the men completing the work of his dear friend, all in the name of assisting someone looking for information about bears.

Editor’s Note: In the May 29, 2013, issue, a subscriber-submitted question about a Grisly Spielwaren bear appeared in the Ask the Experts column. In the inquiry, the subscriber references an article about Grisly bears, written by Ken Yenke in 2011, in which he references speaking with his fellow bear expert, Charles Moose.

In his response to the reader, Dr. Anthony Cavo, a graduate of the Asheford Institute of

Grisly inquiry

Original Ask the Experts article which appeared in Antique Trader.

Antiques, provided quite a bit of history about the Grisly company, and also said there was some difficulty in completely identifying the date of production of the bear. He suggested the subscriber contact the company for more information. Upon seeing this column in Antique Trader, Yenke reached out to his friend, Charles Moose about the identity of the bear. More than a year later, Yenke’s wife, Brenda, passed along to us additional information about the Grisly bear in question, along with the exchange between her husband and Charles.

In addition to valuable information about Grisly bears, this exchange between Charles, and Ken, who passed away from leukemia in March 2014, demonstrates an equally valuable aspect of the collecting community – the opportunity to forge lifelong friendships. We offer our sincere thanks to Brenda Yenke and Charles Moose for sharing this with all of us, and our continued hope for peace and healing for all of you following the death of Ken. He was someone who definitely made a positive difference in the world.

[From Brenda Yenke]
Charles Moose found his original article on Grisly to answer the inquiry of E.S., who had one pictured in your [Ask the Experts article]. My husband, Ken Yenke, had forwarded the picture to him last year. Since that time, Ken passed away March 19, from leukemia and Charles has found his answer. Ken and Charles are the history for teddy bears! We hope you can use this updated information. Charles is a retired rep for Grisly, but would gladly answer any questions. Thank you.
—Brenda Yenke

[From Charles Moose]

Grisly bear catalog page

An actual page from a 1995 Grisly bear catalog. (Photo courtesy Charles Moose)

Last year Ken sent me a picture in a letter to an editor requesting information on a Grisly baby bear with a pacifier and bib. At the time I couldn’t find a catalog with the bear, but I sent him some info on Grisly to pass on to E.S. via the Antique Trader.

That was at the time Ken was beginning chemotherapy, and I do not know if he passed on the information or not. I just discovered the query, and also found a catalog with the bear. A bit belated, I thought you might forward this to A.T. and hope they would be able to relay to E.S. And perhaps print some more info on Grisly. I will also forward the earlier info on Grisly – see if you think it would be of interest. And let them know the distributor of Grisly from about 1992-2003 can still be reached.

The scan is from a 1995 catalog, the baby bear is named “Our Youngster” and has a “ma-ma” voice (I think it was a growler with a special sound); 469 is its identifier and /30 cm his height (standing).

[There was a total change in the numbering system in 2001 – blocks of numbers from 500 were assigned to design artists.] The last website by Grisly still stands at:
I also have copies of articles on Grisly.
— Charles Moose


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