Archive for the ‘German Bears’ Category


Bing Bears – Gebruder Bing Teddy Bear, History, Information

Gebruder Bing was founded in Nuremberg in 1865 by Ignaz and Adolf Bing to make tin and kitchenware and later enameled and tin toys around 1890. They made their first bears in 1907 at the height of the teddy bear boom. The first Bing bears had a metal arrow in the ear with the initials G.B.N. set in a diamond. Steiff started litigation against Bing for using the tag in the ear, so Bing put a metal button underneath the arm instead. Steiff still objected to the word “button”, so Bing instead used “G.B.N. label under the arm.” Around 1920, Bing stopped using the tag and replaced it with a metal label attached to the right arm.

Bing is best known for it’s mechanical bears introduced around 1910, very hard to find nowadays. Early Bing teddy bears resembled Steiff bears but changed it’s design around 1920, using a longer snout with distinctive stitching on the muzzle and a very wide smile. Bing stopped producing bears in 1932 but still remain a favorite among collectors.

Popular Bing Bears:
1908 mechanical bears with a wide head, small ears, long arms and body, large oval feet, claw stitching, felt paw pads

1915 16 inch bears had long, white, silky, mohair coat, light colored nose, claw stitching

Bing tumbling bears, bears on skis, bears on roller skates

Typical Features Of Bing Bears
Round head
Small ears set on the side of the head
Boot button eyes
Long arms, curved paws
High quality mohair
Vertical stitching on bears over 16 inches, horizontal stitching on smaller bears
Short unshaven muzzle
Small facial features
G.B.N. engraved metal button under the arm until 1910

Wide head
Slightly larger ears set on side of head
Glass eyes
Long arms, curved paws
Quality mohair
Vertical stitching on bears over 16 inches, horizontal stitching on smaller bears
Longer muzzle
Metal tag under the arm, metal label on the body or a limb

Very large head
Very large ears set on top of head
Orange glass eyes
Shorter arms, curved paws
Very long silky mohair
Distinctive nose stitching on bears over 16 inches with a double stitch that runs under the middle stitches and frames the nose
Very long shaved muzzle
Very long smile extending the width of the muzzle
Orange metal button with B.W. painted in black attached to right arm


Strunz Bears – Teddy Bear, History, Information

Wilhelm Strunz made mohair bears out of Allersberg and Nuremberg, Germany as early as 1914, under the name Wilhelm Strunz Felt Toy Co. in direct competition to Steiff. As early as 1905 he began to copy Steiff teddy bears. One of the first teddy bears Strunz copied was Steiff’s rod jointed Bar 28 PB. They had a bitter legal dispute particularly about the Button-In-Ear trademark and on October 28, 1908, Strunz finally agreed to withdraw the button and instead used a paper tag in the left ear secured with a staple. From 1910 on, the bears were marked with the word “Prasident” (President) in reference to Teddy Roosevelt.

Well known Strunz bears include the German Strunz Tumbling Teddy, 13 inches, 1908, which was an exact copy of Steiff’s arm wound tumbler.


Gebruder Sussenguth Bears – Teddy Bear, History, Information

Gebruder Sussenguth was an East German toy manufacturer founded in Neustadt, Bavaria near Coburg, Thuringia, in 1894, by the Sussenguth brothers, Wilhelm and Franz. They produced toys and dolls from 1925 – 1928. They are best known for their series of Peter bears. A hundred of these bears were discovered in 1974 in a closed down store/warehouse and were brought to England to be sold. Each Peter bear came in its original box, fully labeled, with a round tag on its chest with the words “Peter” Ges Gesch (legally protected),” and a serial number Nr 895257. These are very rare and the only ones known to exist.

They came in several colors and sizes. Brown was the most common color with pink, gray and apricot being more rare. They had “googly” glass or wooden eyes, a black composite nose, ferocious open mouth filled with wooden teeth and molded composition tongue that moved from side to side along with the eyes when the head was turned.


Steiff Bears – Teddy Bear, History, Information

Steiff, one of the most famous makers of bears, was started in Germany in 1877 by Margarete Steiff. Crippled with polio and confined to a wheelchair, she made stuffed toys with her nephew Richard, using felt left over from her uncle’s fabric factory. The first bears were based on sketches he had drawn from his visits to Stuttgart Zoo. The very first bear, made in 1902, was a 55 PB with very primitive joints attached by a string. It was presented at the Spring Fair in Leipzig in 1903 and a buyer from George Borgfeldt and Co., a major New York importer, placed a sizable order. In 1904, an improved bear, registered as Bar 35 PB, was introduced. It was smaller in size with improved joints and light mohair plush. It was very successful with 12,000 being sold that year. Later in 1904, the 28 PB, a smaller version of the 35 PB was introduced with newly patented metal rod joints and then in 1905 the very successful 35 PAB was introduced.

In the early years, every seventh bear made by Steiff had a seam down the middle of it’s head to make economical use of the fabric they had.

Two of the most rare and desirable colors of mohair for Steiff bears are white and cinnamon.

Characteristics Of Steiff Bears
Early Bears
Long arms
Hand sewn seam down the stomach

Steiff Teddy Bears
PB Rod Bear – Held together by metal rods with tightly packed wood wool and kapok stuffing.
PAB Bear – Made with cardboard joints and stuffed with kapok and excelsior.
Muzzled Bear – Very rare bear based on performing bears that toured circuses in Europe and the United States.


Eduard Cramer Bears – Teddy Bear, History, Information

Eduard Cramer was a German manufacturer of soft toys and went under the name of Eduard Cramer, Schalkau, Thuringia. They were established in 1896 with plush bears some of the earliest creations. These teddy bears don’t have labels but can be identified by their heart shaped faces and open mouths. They have long pronounced muzzles of clipped plush mohair with some having light brown nose stitching. Many Cramer bears also have button hole mouths. Eduard Cramer also made musical bears and mechanical bears.

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