Collectible teddy bears come in many different forms, from the antique teddy bears that are over a hundred years old to limited edition bears.
Collecting bears has become much easier over the past decade since the arrival of the internet. Now bears can be sold to anywhere in the world, collectors now have a much wider choice of bears to choose from.
So you collect bears, so where are the best places to find them. Well of course this very much depends on your area of expertise. In general you can buy teddy bears in all sorts of places on the high street and for collectors of modern bears say from TY you can find many of them for sale second hand in thrift shops. Indeed I have found a few limited edition TY beanie bears in charity shops near to where I live in London.
However for the collector of vintage and antique teddy bears, you will need to look a little harder. Here are a few suggestions as to where to find your vintage bears.
As already mentioned, online is probably your first port of call. Every dealer in antique bears will have a presence online and you will be able to choose from bears from all over the world.
EBay will also be a place to check out as this is the easiest place for an individual to sell from. You may even be lucky enough to find a very good bear at a much better price here too.
Of course many of us prefer to actually be able to hold a teddy bear before we decide to buy it. There's nothing like actually being able to check the bear out for yourself for any damage or signs of repair.
Buying direct from a shop may also give you more assurances that the bear you are buying is indeed what they say it is. If you are a serious collector you will want to build a relationship with the shop owner. You are far more likely to get a better price and also find the bear you are looking from if the owner knows you and you have bought from them before.
Visit any antique shop and you will undoubtedly find hidden in corners a bear or three. Personally I like to shop this way as I enjoy the thrill of the find and the anticipation of finding something unexpected.
Of course if you collect artist bears then the best places to visit are special teddy bears shows and fairs. These are held all over the world but especially in the USA, UK, Europe, Australia and Japan.
There will also be some antique dealers at these shows too as well specialist teddy bear repairers.
These fairs are great places to visit anyway just to see the many different designs of collectible teddy bears available. It may even spark you off in a new direction of collectible teddy bears.
If you really want something special and you have the cash then perhaps attending one of the few specialist teddy bear auctions is the best option.
Considering that the auction house has to take a fee on anything they sell, in most cases the bears available at these auctions will not be cheap and are likely to be much rarer than those than can be found online. But you never know you may just pick up a real gem.
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