Monday, 2 May 2011

Billy the Bear

I have always wanted to see how I got on with restoring an old bear.

Today I saw a lovely old bear at a local flea market.  He sat in his toy high chair watching me as I walked by him.  I slowed down next time I passed and took a look at him.  He was about 18" tall, a pale golden mohair and looked in reasonable condition.
I was careful to check him over as I had heard of newer bears being passed off as old ones by 'aging' them.
He had obviously been in the sun as his back was a richer gold than his front.  I checked between his limbs and body and where his ears joined his head and they were darker too.  This would be difficult to do with a modern copy.
I tipped him over to look for a label.  There was none, but I was delighted to hear him growl.
Putting him back on his chair I went to find my husband, still unsure of the purchase.

We left the site, but a mile down the road we turned round and after haggling a bit I came away with Billy.

Here he is - quite a handsome chap isn't he?


He needs new eyes as his originals are missing and he has higher positioned stitched ones. To replace these I will have to unstuff his head and then I will be able to stuff his muzzle firmer as it has lost it's shape a bit.
His nose is a material square just fastened at the four corners so that needs replacing too.
Although the paw pads are worn they have no holes so I will be leaving those as I think they add to his character.
He has had an operation as his back has been unstitched and stitched back up (not very well).
The ears are coming adrift and I will have to stitch them back properly.

I have done a bit of research on the internet and believe him to be a German bear circa 1920-1930. If anyone out there has any different views on him, or know of a photo of a similar bear I would be interested as I would like to restore him as close to his original look as possible.

Hopefully I can successfully restore him to his former self and find him a nice home with a collector of old bears.

I will update my blog with his progress.


  1. :-) Good to have more pics of Billy bear. :-) Email me again :-) You made have a bear that has mohair intact, from what I see, so that is a very big plus. Other things can be fixed. :-) Maybe not his nose. His nose should only have extra thread over it. Don't change him too much. :-) x x x I still think because of the shape of his paws, he isn't from Germany. You know Britain made great bears too. We also had great mills that used to send their mohair material to Germany :-) xxx beautiful blog and count us in :-)xxx

  2. Love to Harry. ah. dream :-)
    Sidney and well Foggypuss. Too beautiful :-)xxx

  3. Good buy! He's a cutie! Hugs!

  4. He looks almost identical to my old bear. He's also had surgery earlier in his life - a squeakerectomy :) I think my dad performed the surgery so that may be why he's been opened up. If you want me to post a pic online of Big Ted then I can. He still has his original nose and eyes but has had a new mouth added and his head has come off and been sewn back on.