15-08-20-2204NE02A Olympia London Pillar Hall.jpg
The Pillar Hall at Olympia, shown here on the right, hosts the first London International Antique Doll Teddy Bear and Toy Fair next year.

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To be held for the first time on November 20 next year, the organisers say it "will look back on 200 years of childhood (1750-1950)" and that this "the first time for over 15 years that a show like this has been purely devoted to antique/vintage items".

The Antique Doll Teddy Bear and Toy Fair is the brainchild of teddy bear and dolls specialist Daniel Agnew and Hilary Pauley. Agnew runs his own dealing business and is a consultant with Newbury auctioneers SAS, while Pauley is chief executive of a group of companies including private schools. She also runs the teddybear-museum.co.uk, an online archive.

Agnew says he has wanted to hold such an event for years, but admits that "number-crunching and paperwork is not one of my strong points". He went to do an insurance valuation for Pauley's bear collection and the idea took root - aided by her organisational skills.

With the antique teddy bear, dolls and toys market having struggled in recent years, Agnew hopes this fair will "spark a bit of interest in the old stuff". Agnew, who ran Christie's teddy bear auctions, says: "We are branding it '200 years of childhood from 1750-1950' but we are not being quite that strict - we have a dateline cut-off of 1970, only because you rule out the good '50s and '60s toys.

"But we will be quite strict on the date because we really want to concentrate on the antique. We are are not expecting to make money out of it particularly - we want to help promote the market overall and take it forward to a new generation."

Seminars and Exhibition

This aims to be an annual fair and an 'event' as much as a place to buy, with seminars and a themed exhibition each year - the first is toy rabbits.

Attracting international visitors and exhibitors is also an important factor.

Agnew says: "The UK used to be very much a centre to the market but these days it has gone off to Germany, the US and France. It will help to regenerate the market if we get big international collectors and dealers coming over."

Eyebrows might be raised over the size of the venue for an inaugural event, but it will be held in Olympia's ornate Pillar Hall rather than the larger halls at the west London complex, so it is affordable and compact, with 70-80 stalls envisaged.

Organisers say major dealers and collectors from all over the world are already interested, such as Sue Pearson (bears), David Pressland (tinplate toys), Eric Petit (bears) from France and Rachel Gotch (dolls).