The renowned Steiff Bear is the creation of the German company, Steiff. The Steiff company has been in operation for over 140 years founded by Margarete Steiff in 1880. Steiff is well-known for many stuffed animals such as dogs, cats, horses, and other wildlife, although bears are their most popular. The bears crafted by this company are always made from premium materials and display attention to detail. It is due to the premium materials that are used to create these soft toy creations including but not limited to mohair, alpaca, and wool that they stand out next to a regular stuffed bear toy.
Steiff bears are collector’s items, some are even classed as antiques while others that have been made in more recent times fall into the vintage category. They vary in size and can be as small as the palm of one’s hand to others that stand over two feet tall.
There are a number of features that set a Steiff bear apart from a regular stuffed bear. A Steiff bear will always be:
- Crafted from fine materials such as mohair, alpaca, and wool. The use of these materials ensures that these stuffed bears are durable and last the test of time.
- Hand stitched with carefully crafted noses, eyes, and paw pads.
- Sporting a button in the ear. This is a trademark of the Steiff Bear and proves its authenticity.
While over the years of production of bears by the Steiff company, there have been thousands upon thousands handcrafted, in this article we will take a look at 10 of the most expensive Steiff Bears sold to date that you may have never seen.
Steiff’s Most Expensive Bear Ever Sold
A quick search of the Internet will yield the Guinness Record for the most expensive Steiff bear ever made and in this post, 10 of the Most Expensive Steiff Bears You’ve Probably Never Seen!
That claim to fame of Steiff’s Most Expensive Bear Ever Sold belongs to a Steiff Louis Vuitton Bear – €1,978,000. Decked out in full designer Louis Vuitton with matching luggage allowed this bear to fetch a sale price of nearly 2 million euros at a charity auction in Monaco. She now lives at the teddy bear museum in Jeju, South Korea. Made in 2000 and measuring 45 cm (17 in) the famous, and very expensive bear is pictured below.
10 of the Most Expensive Steiff Bears You’ve Probably Never Seen!
Large Steiff Clown Teddy Bear
DESCRIPTION: Brown-tipped mohair, original nose stitching, glass eyes, trailing F with caps button, original hat, and ruff, extremely rare. The bear includes a baby book showing that it was given on April 1911. Provenance: Bower’s Estate, Mannington, WV, Founders of Standard Plumbing Fixtures. 19″ t.
CONDITION: (Pristine Cond.)
SOLD FOR: $32,500 on Mar 25, 2017
Black Steiff Mourning Bear
DESCRIPTION: Circa 1912. Shoe button eyes lined with red felt, black stitched nose, and claws. It is interesting to note that this bear was made in commemoration of the Titanic victims. No button. This may be one of the best and only examples known. Size 18″ L.
SOLD FOR: $29,500 on Nov 12, 2011
STEIFF Bridal Couple, Dicky, dressed as a man and a woman
DESCRIPTION: Bridal couple, Dicky, dressed as man and woman, 1930 – 1933, complete with red cloth tag label, No. 5315, 1934 – 1936, found in Giengen by a family who were in direct contact with Steiff. Both pieces were standing on a green round box and were presented as wedding gifts, loft find, in unused original condition, silk dress of the bride is caused of old age in worn condition
CONDITION: (not listed)
SOLD FOR: $30,274 on Sept 3, 2016
Steiff Rod Teddy Bear with Elephant Button
DESCRIPTION: First teddy bear that Steiff produced and considered rarest, apricot long mohair, pronounced nose with gutta-percha tip, shoe button eyes, original elephant button, circa 1905, x-ray included. 20″ t.
CONDITION: Some splitting around ankles, small repair on the right paw, (VG-Exc. Cond.)
SOLD FOR: $30,274 on March 25, 2017
Steiff Monkey Doll as a Jockey on a Camel
Not exactly a Teddy “bear”, but still interesting as it sold for nearly $24,000!
DESCRIPTION: An ensemble of a very early Steiff monkey doll as a jockey and a Steiff camel on iron wheels, both around 1898. Both early Steiff rarities were standing already before 1900 as decoration in a shop window of a toy shop with jockey and camel with expertise by the company Margarete Steiff GmbH, Giengen, Steiff monkey doll as a jockey, item No. 590, c. 28 cm.
Due to the fact, it is from the pre-button era around 1898 without button and cloth tag label, shoe button eyes, at this time were head and legs were not jointed, dangling arms, and whip, this riding monkey is in good condition and extremely rare, Steiff camel on iron wheels, item No. 405, c. 32 cm, because it is from the pre-button era around 1898 without button and cloth tag label, felt, lambskin, shoe button eyes, stuffed with straw, design with a bridle, little bell and felt cover/housing, this camel is in very good condition and extremely rare!
CONDITION: not listed
SOLD FOR: €19,000 ($23,008 USD) on June 29, 2019
Early Steiff Center Seam Teddy Bear
DESCRIPTION: Beautiful apricot plush mohair with shoe button eyes, jointed elongated arms, black stitched nose, mouth and five claws, swivel head, hump, and blank button in ear, circa. 1905. | 24″ h.
CONDITION: Pads replaced, wear on the muzzle, otherwise (Pristine Condition)
SOLD FOR: $20,000 on Nov 12, 2020
Steiff Teddy Rose
DESCRIPTION: Teddy Rose, 44 cm, mohair, pink dyed, caused by old age faded, c. 1928.
CONDITION: Felt on one paw was retouched.
SOLD FOR: €15,500 ($18,770 USD) on Jun 30, 2018
Steiff Petsy Teddy Bear
DESCRIPTION: Germany, c. 1930, auburn tipped beige mohair, blue glass eyes, stitched nose, mouth, and claws, felt pads, excelsior stuffed with squeaker and original underscored “f” button, ht. 13 in.
CONDITION: Very good to excellent, very minor mohair loss and play wear.
ESTIMATE: $7,000 – $9,000
SOLD FOR: $14,000 on Oct 10, 2019
Steiff Happy Teddy Bear
DESCRIPTION: Happy, 40 cm, 1926/27, mohair plush, brown pointed (a bit faded), jointed, Kapok and excelsior stuffing, press voice without function, long kinked arms, distinct hump, with button, good condition, very nice expression.
CONDITION: good condition
SOLD FOR: €11,500 ($13,926 USD) on July 01, 2017
DESCRIPTION: Mink-Zotty, exceptional loft find from Giengen, according to the original owner the bear is from a test series from the ’70s, as personal copies were 2 – 3 bears manufactured, material designation: mink/synthetic plush, black/brown, bright chest, glass eyes, felt paws, without button, without damage, 40 cm. The bear was a gift by a designer of the company Steiff who was a friend of the family, but the son didn’t accept the gift. He found the bear eerie because of the dark color and as a result, it was never produced in a series. The same bear can be found at the Steiff archive.
CONDITION: good condition
SOLD FOR: €8,300 ($10,051 USD) on July 01, 2017
Why are Steiff Bears Valuable?
You may be questioning why Steiff Bears hold so much value in contrast to other stuffed bears that see themselves ending up at the junk tip rather than passed from generation to generation or purchased for a small fortune at auction. The brand itself, Steiff is well-known and respected. The Steiff company has been in operation for over 140 years and hence multiple generations of children have grown up loving their little stuffed bears. They hold a sentimental value for decades of now adults, and this sees the auction price of a number of bears skyrocket. Other reasons that Steiff Bears hold their value so well is due to the craftsmanship that goes into making them and the expensive materials. The quality of the hand-made Steiff Bears is noticeable when they are sat beside a machine-made stuffed bear.
While the regular Steiff Bears hold their value well, limited edition Steiff bears that were only produced in small quantities are highly prized by collectors hence making them extremely valuable. Some of the earlier bears produced by the Steiff company are amongst the most valuable, although if you are in the market for a present for someone special, the good news is the Steiff company is still producing stuffed animals and bears today.