The Care and Feeding of the Antique Teddybear
| When I
was making a list of categories in my Collection, I probably should have made a separate
listing for vintage/antique bears. There is a valid reason for doing so, in that many of
the older bears require special care and handling.
What is required, instead, is to make a sudsy concoction, dampen a washing cloth with the suds and carefully and SLOWLY --- working on a very small section of Teddy's fur (or skin surface in certain cases) clean that area thoroughly before moving on to another area. It is painstaking work, requiring patience, great care and respect for fragile fur, plus lots of clean, soft towels or cloths. You definitely don't want to use any material that will be abrasive to the fur fibers, as you want to preserve the absolute integrity of whatever fur the old Teddy has left.
Read ALL of the instructions BEFORE you begin. MAKE SURE you completely understand exactly what the instructions are telling you BEFORE you begin. And always heed this advice that my Mother gave me: "Sometimes Less is More." Okay, that may not make much sense to you, but what my Mother and I are saying is: It will serve you well, when cleaning antique teddybears, to not "over do" any action. Start with less water, less suds, less scrubbing than you think necessary. Be gentle, slow, meticulous....this is a process of hours or days and you cannot rush or hurry it to conclusion without risking harm to a darling old Teddy who, you will remember, is a lot OLDER than you!
I had taken Danny Boy to a respected collector/appraiser when I first got him, to have him appraised as to his actual value so I could pay his original owner a fair price. My friend Rosemary, told me that an old gentleman she knew was selling a lot of items from his many collections and that he had an old childhood teddy bear that he wanted to sell and would I possibly be interested? I was so excited about the possibility of adding an antique to my collection and visions of 'beautifully preserved Steiff' danced in my head as I drove to Mr. Shawnessy's house.
Danny Boy was my first antique bear and I really didn't have any idea what he might be worth. Mr. Shawnessy did not have a clue as to how much money he wanted for his old plaything but he did want the money---as he and his wife told me: 'We have too many things and no one to leave them to, when we pass.'
Since I was purchasing him from the Friend of a Friend, I wanted to be sure that I was not paying way too little to this nice old gentleman so I suggested a down payment price and told him about my Teddybear appraiser friend and that whatever Bill said was a fair price I would gladly pay. This was more than okay with the Shawnessy's. So Danny Boy went home with me that day.
He surely got a new lease on life with that careful cleaning and I was so thrilled with the end result that I took him back to Teddy Bear Club several months later to show how nice he had cleaned up. Everyone, Bill included, was amazed. Like I said before, I sure wish I had taken a picture of Danny "before" so I could have actual proof of his transformation. He hardly looked like the same bear.
Here is DannyBoy. Isn't he a cutie?
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