Boyds Bears teddy bears have been sold since 1984 and are one of the most sought collectibles in the teddy bear market. In collectors' terms, "retired" means a line of products that is no longer sold in stores, making it more valuable to collectors.
History of Teddy Bears
Teddy bears have been manufactured and collected since 1902, when the first bear was made and displayed in Morris and Rose Mitchtoms' shop widow in Brooklyn, New York. Although Germany made a similar bear during the same time period, the bear was named for U.S. President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.
History of Boyds Bears
In 1984, Gary Lowenthal designed a fully jointed, 100 percent merino wool teddy bear for his antique reproduction shop in Boyds, Maryland. That marked the beginning of the Boyds Bear plush bear line. In 1993, Boyds released its first series of resin figurines, which are as collectible as the plush line. In 2002, the 100th anniversary of the teddy bear, Lowenthal and his wife, Tina, opened Boyds Bear Country, a four-story flagship store on 130 acres in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Retired Boyds Bears
The Boyds Bears line that was introduced in 1984 is retired. Retired Boyds Bears each have a name, including the very first plush bear that was designed by Lowenthal, which was named Matthew after Gary and Tina's son. Boyds Bears are available in many places online and off, making them readily available to collectors worldwide.
Value of Retired Boyds Bears
The value of any collectible depends on its condition and rarity. A good place to find price guides for antiques and collectibles are used bookstores and public libraries. Boyds Bears are created with the highest quality standards, making them even more valuable. Lowenthal insisted that each bear was hand cut, hand sewn, hand embroidered and inspected by at least three people before it was packaged and shipped to stores.
Not only do collectors of teddy bears and similar items experience the joy of owning something they cherish, they also can turn the hobby into a business. Many online and offline retailers of collectibles such as Boyds Bears were started by collectors. Many times, collectors amass collections so large that they have no option but to sell items, which eventually can turn into a thriving retail business.
Janel Bragg is an artist and writer living and working in Northwest Washington, and she has been writing and editing since 1999. Her experience includes working for Dorling Kindersley Publishing in New York City and she is credited with editing several DK titles from 1999-2000. She is pursuing a Master of Fine Art in painting and drawing from the Academy of Art University.