Specialist Daniel Agnew, who collects, deals in and catalogues antique and vintage teddy bears and soft toys, is allergic to the fur and has to take antihistamine tablets when attending a specialist fair or cataloguing an auction.
Agnew, who ran Christie’s teddy bear auctions from 2000-07 and who is the joint organiser of the annual London International Antique Doll, Teddy Bear and Toy Fair, is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Hugglets biannual teddy bear festivals held in London at Kensington Town Hall.
The first of this year’s events is on Sunday, February 23.
“I’ve been exhibiting at this twice-yearly fair since leaving Christie’s in 2007,” said Agnew. “It’s a wonderful fair with a good selection of antique and vintage teddy bears and I always buy some for my collection.”
Talking about the market, he added: “The good pieces are still selling well but the lower end has become very affordable. Especially post-war bears – these can often be bought for £30-40 these days, less in larger lots at auction.
“It’s a buyer’s market so it’s a great time to start collecting. Pre-war Steiff is still where the big money is.
“A knowledgeable collector will still get excited by something unusual or in excellent condition but the market is really pre-1940.”
The Hugglets festivals were launched in 1989 and are now run by WMM Publishing. Sebastian Marquadt of WMM said: “Every event features some 170 exhibitors, of whom a third offer antique or vintage bears including Leanda Harwood, Sue Pearson Bears, Daniel Agnew, Bourton Bears and All You Can Bear.”
These events attract 1500 visitors at each staging which must be heaven for arctophiles, including the many who cuddle up at night with their childhood teddy bear.