Thursday, 17 November 2005

Auction chance to give Smuggers a new home

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Steiff bear

Rare Steiff Teddy bear is star of Christmas collectors' sale

The little boys looked forward to family trips from their home in Vienna to visit their three aunts in Düsseldorf, but not necessarily to see the matronly trio with their smothering hugs and embarrassing kisses.

Instead, the visits meant the three nephews got the chance to play with Smuggers, a magnificent and expensive Teddy bear - christened so because of the smug look on his face - which was purchased specially to amuse the boys when they grew bored.

But the visits were few and far between and so in the intervening years Smuggers sat in a cupboard which explains his as-new condition - all the more remarkable considering he was born in 1903.

Now Smuggers is about to start a new life. Passed though the family to the present Canterbury owner, he is one of the stars among a gleeful group of toys and dolls in the annual Christmas auction of antiques and collectors' items at The Canterbury Auction Galleries. The sale is on Tuesday December 6.

A product of the German soft toy company founded in 1847 by Margete Steiff, Smuggers stands just short of 12 inches and has a plush mohair coat, eyes made from black shoe buttons and the characteristic brass ear tag Steiff trademark. He's yours for £1,500-2,000.

More information from The Canterbury Auction Galleries on 01227 763337.

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