November 8, 2012 – The teddy bear – known and loved by all. He’s been THE stuffed animal of choice for more than a hundred years. In a move that commemorates his popularity and will surely enhance his appeal, the Island Nation of Palau has issued a teddy coin. Coin Invest Trust has once again managed to do the extraordinary, creating possibly the world’s plushest silver coin by incorporating a small, furry bear into it.
Palau / 5 dollars / silver .925 / 20 g / 38.61 mm / Mintage: 2,012.
The front of the coin depicts the South Sea Island of Palau’s coat of arms – a sea god with a mermaid and a boat typical of Oceania. The name of the issuing nation ‘REPUBLIC OF PALAU’ appears along the top edge and the face value of ‘5 $’ is indicated in the exergue.
The reverse features a stylized baby carriage decorated with a heart and carrying balloons, but also a teddy bear made with original Swiss embroidery. The name of the coin ‘My Lovely Bear’ sits above it, with the issuing year ‘2012’ appearing in the exergue.
Replica of a 55PB in the Steiff-Museum Giengen. Photo: Steiff-Museum Giengen Germany / Wikipedia.
No other stuffed animal or toy is quite as closely connected with childhood and comfort as the teddy bear. For generations both young and old, the plush companions stir up the happiest of memories. The original teddy, ‘bear 55PB,’ made its breakthrough in 1902 and was the first furry teddy bear with moving arms and legs the world had ever seen. As with all good famous personalities, the teddy bear’s origins are shrouded in legend. What we do know, however, is that it was designed in 1902 in the House of Steiff in Giengen an der Brenz in Baden-Wurtemberg, Germany by Richard Steiff, the favourite nephew of the company’s founder, Margarete. And ‘Teddy’ comes from Theodore Roosevelt, who was President of the United States at the time. But how exactly the sensational triumph of this furry bear and its connection to ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt came about is the stuff of a slew of charming stories.
Cartoon from November 16, 1902 by Clifford Berryman. Source: Wikipedia.
One says that the president’s young daughter named her ‘55PB’ after her father; another says that Roosevelt, a noted hunter, once spared the life of a baby bear. Afterwards, a newspaper cartoonist always depicted him with the cute animal. Whatever the actual case may be, the bear found its way into the rooms of children all over the world and became an in-demand collector’s item for adults.
Naturally, such a high-profile item has also been responsible for some impressive world records: the biggest teddy bear in the world is over 5 metres tall, the smallest is just about a thousandth of that size. Somewhere in between lies the Swiss-embroidered bear that graces Palau’s silver coin, making a striking feature for a truly distinctive collector’s item. This is the second of this series. The first coin, ‘Cuddly Bear,’ is already sold out. Perhaps someday these coins will also be featured in the Steiff Museum, offering visitors an exciting new twist to the traditional world of teddy bears and their friends. Whether this bear finds its way to the Steiff Museum or not, collectors and friends can, for the time being, delight at Palau’s new coin and seek out their own plush teddy.
The coin is minted by B.H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt GmbH. Collectors can purchase the issue through selected dealers.
Further details about this coin are available on the website of Coin Invest Trust.
The traditional firm Steiff, that owns also a museum, still exists.
In a row between Belarus and Sweden teddy bears played a certain role, it was called the ‘teddy affair.’