Results: Steiff at Christie's London

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On October 13th Christie's London had a sale of Steiff stuffed toy collection which totaled $1.7 million.  Steiff is credited with inventing the Teddy Bear in 1902. The sale offered 655 lots of stuffed animals and toys, with 585 selling, for a very respectable 89% buy through rate.  The top lot was a Harlequin teddy bear, circa 1925 which sold for just over $74,000.00 including buyers premium (see image).  The bear was estimate to sell between 50,000 and 80,000 GPB, but sold for just under the low estimate including buyers premium.

According to Bloomberg, the collection was owned by former hedge fund manager Paul Greenwood who is under indictment for defrauding investors of $554 million. Greenwood has turned over assets to be disposed of and the collection is part of the asset seizure.

In any event, the sale is a good reference point for comps on Steiff toys for appraisers to be familiar with. The article states many prices were good and above estimates and that demand was strong. It is stated the market for collectible stuffed toys has not been strong, just like so many other sectors.

Bloomberg states

Christie’s sale included a Steiff “Harlequin” bear, dating from about 1925, featuring alternating halves of red and blue plush. Acquired in June 1999 at the German company’s annual auction of toys, it was “possibly unique.” It was estimated to fetch between 50,000 pounds and 80,000 pounds at hammer prices, said Christie’s. It sold to a bidder in the room for 46,850 pounds including the buyer’s premium.

A lace-up teddy bear with a hot-water bottle carried a high estimate of 30,000 pounds at the auction. Just 90 examples of the Hot-Water Bottle Bear were made by Steiff between 1907 and 1914, said Christie’s. It sold for 18,750 pounds including fees.

A 1953 black original teddy was another of the other successful bears, reaching 30,000 pounds against a high estimate of 20,000 pounds.

Bonzo, Mickey

The collection was amassed over the last 15 years. More than 80 percent of the sale’s 641 lots were Steiff animals. One of a small number of samples of a never-manufactured Bonzo the Dog toy fetched 16,250 pounds, while a perfectly preserved Mickey and Minnie Mouse was among the 11 percent of failures. They had been expected to fetch as much as 20,000 pounds and 15,000 pounds respectively.

To read the full Bloomberg article, click HERE.

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