Mystery JB Bear
JB bear front
I collected this bear from an out of the way op shop in the tiny town of Withcott, which is at the base of The Range, a northern stretch of the Great Dividing Range of Australia. Ascend The Range and one comes to Toowoomba, Queensland. This is a sizable town but I have seen quite a few antique stores with mohair bears. JB bear is not one of those but he's something of a curiosity to me. I have searched all over the internet for clues to his identity or maker in vain.
This bear is certainly handmade and he has the letters "JB" embroidered in brown perle thread on his right foot. I have provided a photo of this. There are no other tags or marks that could identify him. He was made as an adult collectable, I am sure. He is hard stuffed but I doubt it is wood wool because I can't hear him crackling. He is rather weighty though, although that may have something to do with his large size. He is about 50 cm tall and broadly built with a massive four piece body that has no hump. He is made of a longer pile synthetic plush fabric. The joint disks feel very thick and they are at uneven tension which suggests wooden discs and either cotter pins or lock nut joints.
His head is small compared to his body. He has small glass eyes with translucent amber irises. The left eye is just slightly lower than the right eye. The eyes are undamaged. The fur has been shaved from the nose bridge and the chin. His nose is embroidered with one layer of brown perle thread and his mouth is an inverted "Y" in the same thread as the nose. His ears are small and on the sides of the head. The project sideways rather than vertically.
His limbs don't have anything to weight them like polyester pellets, lead or steel shot. His arms are longer than his legs. All the paw pads are made of what appears to be tan suede or distressed leather. His paw pads are long and narrow, particularly those of his forelimbs. They also have a distinct upturned angle to the front paws which emulates the "hockey stick arms" of antique bears.
I'm hoping that I can summon up "JB" or whoever made him. I really got a lot of bear for my $2! Any leads, people? :-)