A savvy mom and son bought two battered teddy bears for £130 ($165) at a car trunk sale and discovered one was a rare Steiff toy worth up to £6,000 ($7,639).
Jeanette Davies saw the antique teddies on a stall at Monmouth Show Ground, South Wales, in June while browsing with her son Kyle Johns.
They forked out £130 ($165) for both toys and were stunned when one turned out to be a rare Steiff teddy bear dating back to 1905.
It is being auctioned with a guide price of between £4,000 and £6,000 ($5,092 -$7,639), but could fetch far more when it goes under the hammer next week.
The other teddy is a pre-Second World War Chad Valley bear worth between £80 and £120 ($101- $152).
“I just had a feeling – a gut feeling. I thought he looked like a Steiff bear, a make which can be valuable,” said Jeanette, 60. “I persuaded Kyle to part with the largest amount of cash we’ve ever spent at a car boot – £130 for two teddies. Sometimes you just take a gamble, and I’m glad we did.”
Jeanette and Kyle, from South Wales, tweeted Bargain’s Hunt Charles Hanson to ask him if the bears were valuable, and they were stunned with his response.
“We’ve been going to the Monmouth car boot sale every Saturday for years, but we’ve never found anything as valuable as this,” said Kyle, 29.
“Mum was convinced the bear might be special, but I wasn’t too sure. In fact, I was reluctant to spend £130 – she had to persuade me.
“The teddy bears were being sold by a woman in her 70s. She told us she was clearing everything ahead of a move to Australia.
“The bear my mum thought might be valuable belonged to her grandfather for 60 years.
“I shared a photo of it on Facebook and started getting messages from people saying it was special.
“My nan’s a big fan of Charles Hanson. She likes watching him on the TV antique shows and suggested we contact him.
“I messaged Charles on Twitter, and it all went from there, pretty quickly really.
“Me and mum were really surprised when we received the valuation. We had no idea the bear could be worth so much.
“We would have been pleased if we’d doubled our money with a valuation of around £250.
“We hope the bear will be bought by someone who will love it, perhaps a keen collector. Maybe it will join a family of bears.
“It is a brilliant find for us. I help mum run a weekly flea market stall, but we’re certainly not antiques experts. Mum just had a hunch it was special.”
Janet Rawnsley, of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “It’s an amazing chance discovery.
“This Steiff bear, a renowned German make, is a rare and hard to find 1905 cinnamon-colored, centre-seam teddy bear.
“He has a remarkably handsome face and shaven muzzle. I call him Mr. Cinnamon.”
The bear has a mohair coat, original boot-button eyes, stitched smile and cupped ears, one of which has been sewn back slightly askew.
Experts say the left arm has a satin band over a fur cut as the paw pads were replaced, possibly in the 1920s.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Finds like this make people’s day – and give them hope.
“They remind us there are always treasures to be found at car boot sales, flea markets and charity shops.
“I’m looking forward to helping Mr Cinnamon find a new home. He’s a wonderful collector’s item.
“My thanks must go to Kyle’s nan for encouraging her family to contact me.”
Both bears will go under the hammer at the Staffordshire Country House Auction at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, on August 16.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker