VISITORS to this year's Furniture and Housing Fair that opened in Nitra on March 20 can admire one of the most expensive toys in the world. A teddy bear, sold for €29,750, is one of a limited-edition series brought to the market by the Steiff company for its 125th anniversary. The world-famous company is producing only 125 of such ‘toy’ teddy bears, each of which has sapphire eyes lined with 125 diamond fragments, the TASR newswire wrote.
The teddy bear exhibited in Nitra did not wait long for a buyer. On the very first day of the exhibition it was purchased by a Slovak collector who did not want to comment further on his new trophy.
“Our company has been producing teddy bears for this limited series since this January,” Miroslav Lezo, the representative of the company exhibiting the toy, told TASR. “So far, 107 teddy bears, including the one today, have been sold. They are owned mainly by collectors in Germany, Saudi Arabia, America, and beginning today, also in Slovakia.”
Margarete Steiff was involved in the birth of the famous teddy bears. As a child she contracted polio and was confined to a wheelchair her whole life. She trained to be a seamstress and later she opened a small handicraft shop. Because of her love for children, she started producing plush stuffed toys.
Her nephew Richard invented the first plush bear, calling it a teddy bear, in 1902. That teddy, which stood on two feet and was about 55 centimetres tall, was a market flop. It was accepted neither in the US nor in Germany – it seemed too big to the potential toy sellers and too heavy for children.
The whole cargo of teddies heading to shops in New York was returned to the German town of Giengen. The Steiff family then sent the teddy bears to a toy fair in Leipzig. There, the teddies were noticed by trader Herman Berg who immediately placed an order for 3,000, starting the victorious march of the teddy bear throughout the globe.
23. Mar 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Michaela Stanková from press reports