Teddy Bear Companies Premiere What’s New in 2013

(This article first appeared in the June 2013 issue of Teddy Bear & Friends magazine)

With an eye toward heart-tugging gift merchandise and solid, well-crafted collectibles, Aurora is sitting pretty as it enjoys its fourth decade. The Korean company has broadened its creative reach to include headquarters in the United States, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. “We are pleased to broaden the selection of our finest products in time for spring and the Easter season,” said Michael Kessler, senior vice president of Aurora’s sales and marketing.

The Aurora Miyoni line features depictions of the world’s most popular domestic and jungle animals. The realistic bunnies, with muted natural tones, come in 8-inch and 10-inch sizes.

“Mocha” and “Latte” are two brand-new bears that invite collectors to wake up and smell the coffee! The bean-filled critters are available in 12-inch and 15-inch sizes.

Deb Canham
British-born, Florida-based designer Deb Canham is known for her tiny bears, dragons and mice. “I have never been able to quite separate animals from people. I see all animals as individuals and characters,” she said. “I actually love really ‘ugly’ animals like potbellied pigs and warthogs because their supposed ugliness just makes them all the cuter! I try to make most of my monsters seriously ‘ugly.’ In doing so, however, they strike me as all the cuter!”

Limited to 50 pieces, “Zinnia” is one of Deb Canham’s Dappled Dragons. He and his outfit are made from Ultrasuede.

“Monique Mouse” stands 2 ½ inches tall and is made of mohair with an Ultrasuede bunny coat. Part of Canham’s Mini Mices Collection, “Monique” is limited to 75 pieces.

Charlie Bears
The UK-based Charlie Bears has revealed that there are “56 new family members this year for collectors to be chosen by. All of our collectors know that we don’t choose our bears, the bears choose us.” Founders William and Charlotte “Charlie” Morris are enthusiastic about their 2013 offerings: “From our trip to Australia to signing events throughout Great Britain, we have been flooded with name suggestions, design ideas and inspiration. We want to thank all of you for helping us to create our new, wonderful creations and for sharing our passion”

“Kennett” is Charlie Bears’ first koala. William Morris explained that “after a recent trip to Australia, Charlie decided to create her very own koala bear. The result is 16 inches and made of plush material.”

The Charlie Bears’ 2013 mascot is 19 ½ inches tall, the company’s largest annual bear to date. Designed by Isabelle Lee, he’s made from super-long tipped plush with mohair on the inner ears and face, and he’s limited to 4,000 pieces.

Demdaco unleashed its Nat & Jules plush line on the world in 2012. The line features realistic interpretations of animals, including playful pups, kittens and other cute four-legged babies, as well as colorful and vibrant fantasy-inspired originals. The Kansas manufacturer produces both naptime snuggle buddies and award-winning display-case collectibles for the adult enthusiast.

From Nat & Jules’ Animalcraft line, this plush 18-inch golden retriever celebrates one of America’s most popular breeds.

Part of Demdaco’s Forever My Teddy collection, “Gershwin” is a 15-inch plush original wearing a satin ribbon.

Folkmanis Puppets
California-based Folkmanis Puppets has been celebrated for its artistry and ingenuity. It is the Leonardo da Vinci of puppetry, coming up with unexpected motifs, astounding mechanics, and alluring creativity. These puppets are guaranteed to tug at collectors’ heartstrings.

Folkmanis’ Piglet puppet is ideal for sharing barnyard tales with the kids and grandchildren.

This Grizzly Bear is made of thick, soft plush. The puppet has soft claws and a movable mouth.

The Great British Teddy Bear Company
Paul Jessup, managing director of The Great British Teddy Bear Company, said he’s pleased to announce his company’s alliance with the Poppy Factory, an organization that assists ex-military personnel of all ages find employment within the factory and across the whole United Kingdom. For 2013, Jessup has partnered with the factory to create a host of armed-services bears, which reflect “toys that represent the brave men and women who serve our country.”

According to Paul Jessup, “Our GBTBC bears are dressed with love by injured ex–armed forces personnel at the Poppy Factory. These bears are soft enough to cuddle and strong enough to last a lifetime.”




Gund marketing director Sally R. Drewes shared the following scoop about Gund’s plans for 2013: “We are excited to add 10 new bears to our already extensive bear category. Each one has its own unique personality, which makes them perfect for bear lovers of all ages. Also, we have added exquisite, realistic white bunnies to the GUNDimals collection.”

The “Newsy Black Bear” is a 17-inch ultra-soft bear made of poly-blend fabric.

Individually hand airbrushed with black accents, the new GUNDimals bunnies are made from acrylic fabric and come in two appealing sizes: 8 and 12 inches.

Hermann-Spielwaren GmbH
Martin Hermann is as proud as any papa when it comes to showcasing his 2013 new arrivals. This year’s themes from Hermann-Spielwaren GmbH include famous composers, explorers, royalty and novelties. From bears that celebrate flora and fauna to critters that model exceptionally detailed costumes, Hermann has a range of creations destined to appeal to all manner of collectors.

Garbed in traditional attire and limited to 250 pieces each, 12-¼ inch “Dirndl” (left) and 12 ¾-inch “Seppl” are made of mohair plush with excelsior filling.

“German Camomile,” part of Hermann’s Flower Series, is limited to 500 pieces. Measuring 14 ½ inches, the natural beauty is made of mohair plush.

This year, British family-owned bear maker Merrythought honors its nation’s ceremonies and its veneration of tradition with two classic designs. One is a salute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The other is a testament to the longevity of the company’s Traditional Collection. Both are available in dealer shops across the United Kingdom and from the company’s website.

The 15-inch “Queen’s Coronation Teddy Bear” marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, which took place June 2, 1953, and is limited to 120 pieces. Merrythought’s mohair tribute has sky blue eyes and wears a replica of Elizabeth’s coronation robe.

Available in two sizes—10 and 12 inches—“Chester” is the latest addition to Merrythought’s Traditional Collection, made from mohair with wool-felt pads and a satin ribbon.

Steiff USA
“The Steiff name has become identified worldwide with all that is quality regarding the design and craftsmanship of plush animals,” said Steiff USA North America president Jim Pitocco. “The company’s motto, ‘Only the best is good enough for our children,’ assures that our signature items are among the most sought after by discerning customers. We are very proud of the 2013 collection. It is rich with sweetly designed baby products and striking collectibles.”

“Teddy Bear Amethyst” is made of high-quality silk plush adorned with Swarovski crystal elements. Her necklace has a tear-shaped amethyst-colored crystal, and her paw pads are also encrusted with Swarovski crystals. She’s limited to 2,000 pieces.

The original Steiff “Dolly” bear was made in 1913 for the U.S. presidential elections. This centennial replica is made of the finest mohair and is limited to 1,000 pieces. “Dolly” is stuffed with wood shavings and has a squeaker.

R. John Wright
Susan and R. John Wright continue enlarging their beloved Mother Goose series this year. The whimsically attired collectibles honor the enduring illustrations of Kate Greenaway. Limited to 150 pieces each, the nursery-rhyme heroes and heroines are re-imagined as mohair plush mice. These 3-inch wonders boast glass eyes, leather tails and astoundingly accurate period costumes.

“Little Bo-Peep” is made of mohair plush, with resin hands and feet.

The limited-edition “Jack & Jill” pair comes with a hand-carved wooden pail.


Stephanie Finnegan is a writer and editor who specializes in the collectibles field. She is a columnist for several hobby and crafts magazines, as well as the author of books that profile artists and their legacies.

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