On Display: “Steiff and Friends: Vintage Teddy Bears”

Steiff and Friends:
Vintage Teddy Bears
Selections from the Collection of Sanford Levy and
the Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection
November 7 – December 20, 2015

The Historic Huguenot Street Curatorial Department has developed a new exhibition in honor of the winter holiday season. Now on display in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center (81 Huguenot Street), “Steiff and Friends: Vintage Teddy Bears” presents a selection of early-20th century stuffed animal toys from the Collection of Sanford Levy  (antiques dealer and HHS Board Vice President) and the Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection.

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The German company Steiff rose to fame in the late-19th century. German seamstress Margarete Steiff laid the foundation for the now-internationally renowned company by founding a felt business in 1880. In 1902, the company created the first bear with jointed arms and legs. In 1904, the company created the world’s first stuffed bear with movable limbs, the “Bear 55 PB”, the original Teddy Bear. By 1907, almost a million Steiff teddy bears had been produced and the company became an important proponent of the “international teddy bear craze.” Other toy companies, such as the Ideal Toy Company, rose simultaneously and fed off of the popularized stuffed bear demand. Today, Steiff continues to produce stuffed toys, but none are as special to collectors as the original early-20th century bears.

Steiff has developed a base of international admirers and collectors over the past century. The Museum Shop now offers a variety of collectible Steiff bears, following the tradition of quality of those featured in this exhibition. There are eleven styles of Steiff bears available, including 3 collectible replicas of styles from 1906, 1909, and 1920, and a holiday bear.

The exhibition will be on display in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center through December 20, open to the public on weekends 10 – 5 pm. The Museum Shop is also open on weekends 10 – 5 pm.

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