A friend was relating to me how his granddaughter’s primary school had invited each new starter to bring in a small ‘friend’ to sit on their desk- a doll, figurine, teddy or action figure.
What a nice idea, we agreed, as she trotted off with one of her ‘Cherished Teddies’.
This isn’t a family term, but the brand name of a range of small resin bear figures in a variety of poses and scenarios, introduced by the American giftware company Enesco in 1992.
Clearly taking lessons from Beanie Babies and Cabbage Patch Dolls, all Cherished Teddies came with personalised identification including a certificate of adoption, which enhanced the personality of each bear and ultimately strengthened the bond with the owner- and the desire for the collector.
Based on characters created by American artist Priscilla Hillman when convalescing from an injury, the Enesco Corporation produced a debut collection featuring 16 different bears. Made from resin hand painted with a matt oil based lacquer paint enables exquisite attention to detail, like individual expressions, and they can be a joy to collect.
By 1995 figures were being swapped and traded across the globe, and the Cherished Teddies Collectors Club was born. ‘Membears’ received newsletters, invites to special events, sneak previews of new lines, and news of bears that were being ‘retired’, often creating scambles to grab original figures before they disappeared, or surged in price.
Nearly 30 years after their inception, some of the earlier figures command high prices. The most sought after bears include early versions of Daisy, Chelsea, Priscilla Ann, Tasha, and Alice, a lovely Christmas skating figurine with red coat, trimmed bonnet, and flying scarf. A certified early Daisy, for example, can fetch up to £200. This cute pair of Cherished Teddies cupids were made in 1994 and are on sale at GB Antiques Centre for £12.
Be aware the date stamped on the base is just the copyright date- your teddy may still have been manufactured years later. Look instead for the registration number, the one separated by a slash; thanks to the systematic way they were produced, dating and valuing from this is relatively easy, with a little online research and cross-referencing.
So while it’s considered rude to look at someone’s bottom, if you have any Cherished Teddies, it may be worth a cheeky peek!