A Pinterest Post: The Steiff Titantic Bear

Once again I’m reporting on the story behind a photo I’ve found on Pinterest, this time the subject is a Steiff Titanic Bear. On April 14th 1912 the passenger liner Titanic was sailing towards New York on her maiden transatlantic voyage when she struck an iceberg off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada, and sank with the loss of 1,513 lives. The whole of England was plunged into mourning and Steiff responded by producing black mohair bears to mourn the disaster. Within weeks they were displayed in shop windows throughout London and sold out very quickly. The bears’ eyes were backed with red felt so that they looked as though they’d been crying. Only 1,214 black mourning bears of this type were made.

The bear above sold in 2001 at Christie’s, London, for £12,925, the description read as follows: A rare Steiff black teddy bear with pronounced clipped muzzle, large black boot button eyes with red felt backing, black stitched nose, mouth and claws, swivel head, jointed elongated limbs with cream felt pads and hump –16in. (40.5cm.) high, circa 1912

On the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy last year, Steiff produced three commemorative bears to mark the event.

Othello Teddy Bear Titanic Replica wears a slightly curly black mohair coat with red discs behind his eyes.  This Steiff replica is an exact copy of an original “Mourning Bear” from 1912.  Only 494 of these bears were produced in 1912, and therefore, they are greatly prized today.  Othello Teddy Bear Titanic Replica was produced as a Steiff Limited Edition of 1912 pieces.
Polar the Titanic Bear is made of snow white alpaca and wears a whimsical sailor suit.  The original bear was almost lost at sea during his owner’s rescue from the Titanic, but was rescued by a sailor and returned to the little boy who owned him.  Polar the Titanic Bear was a Steiff Limited Edition of 1500 pieces. Further background on this particular bear was found on the Bearly A Memory website:  Daisy Spedden and her husband Frederick were a wealthy couple with a passion for travel. In early 1912, the Spedden family sailed from New York to Algiers and then on to the French Riviera. Returning through Paris, the family boarded the train for Cherbourg; there they took a small boat out to the huge Titanic. On the night of the disaster, Polar, a beloved Steiff bear purchased at FAO Schwarz, was tucked under his master’s arm as the Speddens were lowered down the side of the Titanic into a lifeboat. After the sinking, the survivors were swung up the side of the rescue ship. But Polar found himself forgotten in the empty lifeboat… until a sailor rescued him and returned him to his joyous master, Douglas. Steiff brings this true story to life with “Polar, The Titanic Bear”, a magnificent interpretation of the original bear. Polar is made of snow white genuine mohair and wears a detailed sailor suit. He’s every bit as charming as the original, which survived the tragedy 100 years ago, based on the popular book.
The story is continued on a website called Enchanted Titanic:There was also a young boy travelling with his family on the Titanic. His name was Douglas Spedden. He had been given a Steiff Polar Bear a year earlier and had carried it with him throughout his travels with his parents. When the Titanic went down, he and his family went into lifeboat #3 and were picked up by the Carpathia and were returned to New York where they lived. In 1913, his mother wrote a book about the bears travels and adventures. It was called “My Story” and was told through the eyes of his beloved Polar Bear. On August 6th, 1915, Douglas Spedden was struck and killed by a car at his summer home in Maine. This was one of the first recorded car fatalities in the state. The book was put away in a trunk and was not discovered until 1982. In November of 1994, the book entitled Polar, the Titanic Be
was published and released.

Centenary Titanic Ted is a replica of the original “Mourning Bear” reintroduced exclusively for both the US and UK markets by Steiff.  This incredible teddy bear has red discs behind his show button eyes (just like the original)  to represent tear-stained eyes.  This Titanic Commemorative bear is from a limited edition of 1912 pieces.

1 thought on “A Pinterest Post: The Steiff Titantic Bear”

  1. I just mistakenly deleted two comments about this post – sorry, sorry! Both of them said that this post brought tears to their eyes. And the reason I hit "delete" instead of "publish" on the comments is because I had tears in my own eyes – was just looking at pics of London bomb damage during WWII. Please forgive me and feel free to re-post!

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