Steiff is a German manufacturer of teddy bears based in Giengen. Its motto is: “Only the best is good enough for children”.
Margarete Steiff created the company in 1880. It originally made toy elephants. The company created its first bear in 1902, the same year that US president Theodore Roosevelt helped make the animal popular.
Hermann Berg, a buyer for New York company Geo Borgfeldt & Co, placed an order with Steiff for 3,000 bears at the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1903. None of these bears survive.
The following year saw 12,000 bears sold, many to the US, and by 1907 the company was making a million bears per annum.
Steiff bears can be identified by the trademark button, embossed with an elephant or the Steiff name, in their left ears.
Main article: List of Steiff Teddy Bears
The Steiff factory in Giengen, Germany, is also home to the Steiff Museum, one of the leading bear museums in the world.
A collection of Steiff bears and other animals was purchased for £1,082,356 at a Christie’s auction in 2010 by an unknown buyer.
The collection had been owned by Paul Greenwood, who in 2010 pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar fraud.
The highlight of the collection was a unique 1925 Steiff Harlequin, which made £46,850.
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