The Great Teddy Bear Shipwreck Mystery

In 1880, German seamstress Margarete Steiff began making stuffed animals for children. The first stuffed bear she made is called model 55 PB, and may be the earliest teddy bear in existence. Her nephew Richard Steiff registered the design in 1903. A New York toy vendor ordered 3,000 of the bears, and the Steiffs built a factory to fulfill the order, but the bears disappeared! Toy bear expert Leyla Maniera explains:
"The order was definitely made," says Maniera, "We have samples of the boxes so we know they were boxed up and shipped.

"The archives have copies of orders right from the beginning. We do know the orders were made, they were packed and shipped, but sadly to this day we don't know what happened to the 3,000 bears."

So how about that theory about the bears being lost at sea? Gunther Pfieffer, author of four books about Steiff bears, does not believe it.

"The mystery first appeared in 1953 with the 50th anniversary of the teddy bear. A clever employee of the marketing department was writing a little festival book and that's the first time this story came up.

"So I guess it was just a good marketing idea, nothing else."

But if they were shipped, why have none ever appeared in attics or auction houses?

Read the whole story at BBC News, then look in your attic to see if you might have a 55 PB. They are worth a ton of money! Link -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: The Steiff Museum)

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