By Christina VanGinkel
Loving teddy bears is a non-discriminatory act when it comes to age. Both young and old alike love them. Some people have the same teddy bear their whole life, coddling it and dragging it along with them everywhere they go as a toddler, to finding a place of honor in their room for it when they get a bit older. As they turn into teenagers, their teddy bears may be forgotten as they are tucked away with their other childhood relics, only to be rediscovered when they become an adult and find themselves out in the big wide world all alone, save for their favorite teddy bear.
Collecting teddy bears, often results when a teddy bear fan realizes that if one teddy bear is good, then a dozen could only be better, and if a dozen is decorative then why not go all out! With teddy bears both new and old just waiting for collectors to discover them, the hobby of teddy bear collecting is one that can last a lifetime.
While I am not sure I could be considered a true collector, as my house is not filled with them, not even a room, I do love the teddy bears I have. Over twenty different Beanie styled bears line a shelf in my workroom, joined by a variety of others, including the newest edition, a felted black bear. He is a bit different from the average teddy bear, as he is actually sitting atop a facsimile pine tree crafted from a real branch, but as he does come off by just lifting him up, I consider him a true teddy bear in all aspects. Not to mention the fact that of all my teddy bears big and small, he is my three-year-old grandson's favorite bear, because he looks real grandma is what I am continually told!
What I love about teddy bears is their simplicity really. No batteries are required, no fancy outfits, no special set of rules accompany them. They just are. They are always ready for a hug, or in my case, willing to sit and listen to me read and re-read any manuscript of part there of that, I happen to be working on. They never sass back, they never have a derogatory word to say. They are the perfect friend. They are always willing to have a tea party, even in my case when my young grandson desires their company for such an affair, they never balk at the idea that holding a tea party with a toddler in charge!
Collecting teddy bears can be a casual affair, much the way I collect them, never really searching any out, yet finding one here and there that just has to join my crowd. Other collectors search styles and makers out, researching bears new and old, with great effort put into deciding which will be the next bear to join their exclusive collection. Some people go so far as to collect only a single type of bear for example, with only one brand or size suitable, or maybe only those teddy bears made of a certain material. Whichever type of collector of teddy bears you happen to fall under, the thing about collecting them is that there really is no wrong way. Teddy bears are the sort that they just beg to be brought home. They always seem so forlorn sitting on a store shelf, or tucked into a basket at a craft show, or lying about in some second hand shop. While not alive, they almost seem to have a change of demeanor when someone decided that yes, that bear is the one they need to add to their collection, and home they bring them.
If you would love to collect teddy bears but are not sure where to begin, check out one of the many magazines or books on this most fascinating hobby. Magazine titles include such favorites as Teddy Bear Review, delivered six times a year, Teddy Bear & Friends, also delivered six times a year, or Teddy Bear Club International, which will arrive in your mailbox all twelve months of the year. Book titles are numerous on the subject with one of my favorites for the collector, new and old, being Teddy Bear Treasury a Salute to Teddy, Identification & Values, by Ken Yenke.