How to sell an original steiff bear circa 1930

teddy bear material image by Alison Bowden from

The German company Steiff introduced the world to its stuffed toy bears in the late 19th Century, and its plush creations remain sought after by collectors today. Original Steiff bears can fetch thousands at auction -- a bear manufactured in 1926 was sold for 101,556 British Pounds at the 2002 Steiff Festival Giengen in Germany. If you have an original Steiff bear from the 1930s, there are several characteristics that can be used to confirm its authenticity. Stuffed bears can be sold at auction or for a consignment fee at Steiff resellers.

Confirm your stuffed bear's authenticity. Steiff made several stuffed bears during the 1930s. They included the "Teddy Clown," a bear with a felt clown's hat and neck ruff, and "Dicky Bear," a white, blond or brown bear with a stitched nose and a smiling mouth. Steiff also made "Teddy Babies" from 1929 to 1950. Teddy Babies were created in 12 sizes and were made of mohair and wool plush.

Check the ear tag. Steiff used a yellow paper ear tag on bears made between 1934 and 1950. The ear tag will feature the bear's identification number and the words, "Made in Germany."

Look for a metal button attached to the bear's left ear. The manufacturer tagged each bear made from 1934 to 1948 with a brass button bearing the company's name. Earlier bears made from 1925 to 1934 featured a nickel-plated button.

Research the going rate of Steiff bears on online auction sites. List your bear for sale on sites like eBay at a starting bid that's comparable to similar auctions. Alternatively, try selling directly to eBay buyers and sellers involved in Steiff auctions. Check the individual auction listings for e-mail addresses or other contact information of buyers and sellers.

Contact retail auction houses. Auction companies like Christie's have stables of specialists who can assist you in listing your bear for auction. In 2010, Christie's held an auction featuring 1,300 Steiff bears in London.

Find a reseller to sell your bear on a consignment basis. For a fee, local antique or collectable shop-owners may be willing to sell your Steiff bear for you. The company Bear Attack, which has shops in Kiel, Germany, and Livermore, California, specialises in consignment sales of Steiff products.

Most recent