A TEDDY bear spotted at a car boot sale could sell for thousands of pounds at auction thanks to a mum’s hunch.
Jeanette Davies saw the antique teddy on a stall at a car boot sale at Monmouth Show Ground in June while browsing with her son Kyle Johns.
She said: “I just had a feeling - a gut feeling. I thought he looked like a Steiff bear, a make which can be valuable. Sometimes you just take a gamble and I’m glad we did.”
Jeanette, 60, persuaded Kyle to part with the largest amount of cash they’ve ever spent at a car boot - £130 for two teddies. But it’s proved to be money well spent. Her hunch was correct.
The toy that took her eye has been identified as a rare Steiff dating back to 1905 by Hansons Auctioneers’ teddy bear consultant Janet Rawnsley - and its valuation stunned Jeanette and Kyle.
The bear will go under the hammer on August 16 guided at £4,000-£6,000. The other teddy, a pre-Second World War Chad Valley bear, has value too. Its estimate is £80-£120.
Kyle, 29, said: “We’ve been going to the Monmouth car boot sale every Saturday for years but we’ve never found anything as valuable as this. Mum was convinced the bear might be special but I wasn’t too sure. In fact I was reluctant to spend £130 - she had to persuade me!
"The teddy bears were being sold by a woman in her 70s. She told us she was clearing everything ahead of a move to Australia. The bear my mum thought might be valuable belonged to her grandfather for 60 years.
“I shared a photo of it on Facebook and started getting messages from people saying it was special. My nan’s a big fan of Charles Hanson who runs Hansons Auctioneers. She likes watching him on the TV antique shows and suggested we contact him.
“I messaged Charles on Twitter and it all went from there, pretty quickly really. Me and mum were really surprised when we received the valuation. We had no idea the bear could be worth so much. We would have been pleased if we’d doubled our money with a valuation of around £250.
“We’re going to Hansons to watch the auction. We hope the bear will be bought by someone who will love it, perhaps a keen collector. Maybe it will join a family of bears.
“It is a brilliant find for us. I help mum run a weekly flea market stall but we’re certainly not antiques experts. Mum just had a hunch it was special.”
Janet Rawnsley said: “It’s an amazing chance discovery. This Steiff bear, a renowned German make, is a rare and hard to find 1905 cinnamon-coloured, centre-seam teddy bear.
“He has a remarkably handsome face and shaven muzzle. I call him Mr Cinnamon. It’s time for him to begin a new life in a new home 118 years after he was manufactured in Germany.”
The bear has a mohair coat, original boot-button eyes, stitched smile and cupped ears, one of which has been sewn back on, slightly in the wrong direction. His head turns on a good firm swivel. The limbs are long and slim. The left arm has a satin band over a fur cut as the paw pads were replaced, possibly in the 1920s.
“Despite some small repairs, the bear is in good condition for its age,” said Janet. The cinnamon shade has some age variation but retains its original beauty. This is a great teddy bear of exceptional rarity for a serious Steiff collector. Cinnamon teddies were a rare production and an expensive toy from around 1905-1908.”
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneeers, said: “Finds like this make people’s day - and give them hope! They remind us there are always treasures to be found at car boot sales, flea markets and charity shops. I’m looking forward to helping Mr Cinnamon find a new home. He’s a wonderful collector’s item. My thanks must go to Kyle’s nan for encouraging her family to contact me.”
The bears will be offered in Hansons Auctioneers’ August 16 Staffordshire Country House Auction at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge. Catalogues/bidding: www.hansonslive.co.uk or www.the-saleroom.com.
Entries are invited for Hansons Auctioneers’ September 19 Dolls, Teddies and Textiles sale at Bishton Hall.