A TEDDY bear found at a car boot sale at Monmouth Showground sold for £3,800 at auction in Staffordshire.
Jeanette Davies spotted the antique teddy on a stall at a car boot sale in June while browsing with her son Kyle Johns.
She said: “I just had a feeling – a gut feeling. I thought he looked like a Steiff bear, a make which can be valuable. Sometimes you just take a gamble and I’m glad we did.”
Jeanette, 60, from South Wales, persuaded Kyle to part with the largest amount of cash they’ve ever spent at a car boot – £130 for two teddies, and it proved to be money well spent.
The bear was identified as a rare 1905 cinnamon-coloured, centre-seam Steiff by Hansons Auctioneers’ teddy bear expert Janet Rawnsley.
And It went under the hammer at Hansons’ Staffordshire saleroom, Bishton Hall – watched by Kyle and Jeanette – and sold for nearly £4,000.
The total paid, with buyer’s premium, by a private UK bidder was £4,985.
Kyle, 29, said: “We had a lovely day at the auction. It was great fun seeing it sell. Hansons were really welcoming and made a great day for us!
“We were really happy it sold! We didn’t know what to expect so we’re supper happy it reached its reserve!
“We’ve been going to the Monmouth car boot sale every Saturday for years but we’ve never found anything as valuable as this.
“Mum was convinced the bear might be special but I wasn’t too sure. In fact I was reluctant to spend £130 – she had to persuade me!
“The teddy bears were being sold by a woman in her 70s. She told us she was clearing everything ahead of a move to Australia. The bear belonged to her grandfather for 60 years.
“I shared a photo of it on Facebook and started getting messages from people saying it was special. My nan’s a big fan of Charles Hanson who runs Hansons Auctioneers. She likes watching him on the TV antique shows and suggested we contact him.
“I messaged Charles on Twitter and it all went from there, pretty quickly really. Me and mum were really surprised.
"We had no idea the bear could be worth so much. We would have been pleased if we’d doubled our money to £250. I help mum run a weekly flea market stall but we’re certainly not antiques experts. Mum just had a hunch it was special.”
Janet Rawnsley said: “I’m delighted for Kyle and Jeanette. They had a great time watching the auction drama unfold. They’ve also been stunned by the massive media interest in the bear. I call him Mr Cinnamon because of the colour of his mohair coat.
“This was a teddy bear of exceptional rarity for any serious collector of Steiff toys, a renowned German make. Cinnamon teddies were a rare production and an expensive toy from around 1905-1908. It’s time for him to begin a new life in a new home 118 years after he was manufactured in Germany.”
The bear has a mohair coat, original boot-button eyes, stitched smile and cupped ears, one of which has been sewn back on, slightly in the wrong direction. The limbs are long and slim. The left arm has a satin band over a fur cut as the paw pads were replaced, possibly in the 1920s.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “What a tremendous find, and result, for Kyle and Jeanette. I’m delighted Hansons has found a new home for this historically important toy.
"Chance discoveries like this make people’s day. They remind us there are always treasures to be found at car boot sales, flea markets and charity shops.”