Cherished Teddies Value Guide: Discover If Your Teddy Is Worth Hundreds

Cherished Teddies have been capturing the hearts of collectors around the world since 1991, when the Enesco company first introduced these whimsical, heartwarming teddy bear figurines. As an avid collector myself for over two decades, I‘ve watched the Cherished Teddies market grow and evolve tremendously. Today, savvy collectors are always on the lookout for those extra special, valuable pieces to add to their "hug."

Whether you‘re a seasoned collector or new to the world of Cherished Teddies, understanding which factors impact a figurine‘s value is key to making smart purchases and sales. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my expert tips and insider knowledge to help you identify, price, and care for the most sought-after teddies. Plus, we‘ll take a look at some of the highest-value Cherished Teddies on the market today.

Cherished Teddies: A Collecting Phenomenon

First, let‘s put the popularity of Cherished Teddies into perspective. Did you know that in the peak of the Cherished Teddies craze in the late 1990s to early 2000s, Enesco sold over $50 million worth of these figurines annually? From 1991 to 2004, over 47 million Cherished Teddies were sold worldwide, solidifying their status as one of the most popular collectibles of the era.

Today, interest in Cherished Teddies remains strong, especially as millennial and Gen X collectors who grew up with these bears start building their collections again. Online marketplaces have made it easier than ever for buyers and sellers to connect. On eBay alone, there are over 30,000 Cherished Teddies listings at any given time. Rare pieces in pristine condition can sell for hundreds of dollars to discerning collectors.

So what exactly makes one Cherished Teddy more valuable than another? Let‘s break down the key factors and how to spot them.

Key Factors That Determine a Cherished Teddy‘s Value

Age & Rarity

As with many collectibles, older and rarer Cherished Teddies released in the 1990s tend to be more valuable than later editions. However, age alone doesn‘t automatically equal value. Certain years saw higher production numbers than others. For example, 1997 and 1999 had the highest volume of Cherished Teddies released. More recent limited edition pieces can be just as desirable.

Some key rare and valuable Cherished Teddies to look for include:

  • Early designs from 1991-1992 like "Jonathan" and "Jessica"
  • Dealer exclusive issues from major retailers like Hallmark, JC Penney, and Sears
  • Event and convention exclusive pieces like "Angelica" given out in 1997
  • Numbered limited edition releases, often 5000 pieces or less
  • Autographed sculptures by Cherished Teddies original artist Priscilla Hillman
  • Prototype and sample figurines not released to the public

As Cherished Teddies expert and price guide author Tina Skinner notes, "The most valuable Cherished Teddies combine that early 90s nostalgia with genuine scarcity. They‘re the hidden gems every collector dreams of finding tucked away at an estate sale or flea market."

Retired vs. Active Status

Another key factor impacting value is whether a Cherished Teddy figurine has been retired or not. When Enesco discontinues production on a certain model, it‘s officially retired and no additional pieces will be made.

This typically happens when the original resin mold used to create the figurine wears out or breaks. Some Cherished Teddies are also purposely retired after a set production run to maintain collectible value. Currently, about 65% of all Cherished Teddies issues have been retired.

While not all retired pieces are necessarily rare or valuable, this status does impact the teddy‘s market price and collectibility over time. Retired pieces in good condition steadily rise in value, while active issues tend to depreciate or hold steady.

Theme & Popularity

Beyond rarity, the theme and popularity of a particular Cherished Teddies design plays a role in its desirability and value. Holiday and seasonal issues remain some of the most popular and collectible pieces.

Notable examples include the annual holiday "Santa Bear" series, Valentines bears, Easter issues, and the Halloween "Boo Crew" releases. Bears depicting major life events like weddings, birthdays and graduations are also fan favorites that perform well on the secondary market.

Other highly sought-after themes include:

  • Carousel and circus bears
  • Storybook and fairy tale collections
  • Bears representing different countries, cultures, careers and hobbies
  • patriotic and military tributes

Teddies that feature cute "punny" sayings and heartfelt messages also strike a chord with buyers. Some of the most popular include "I love you beary much" and "You‘re one in a melon."

Condition & Packaging

Perhaps the most important factor in determining any collectible‘s value is its condition. For Cherished Teddies, collectors use a standard grading scale:

Grade Description
Mint Perfect condition, no flaws or signs of wear. Looks new.
Near Mint Minimal wear, no chips, cracks or repairs. Minor flaws only visible upon close inspection.
Excellent Light signs of display wear, no major flaws, repairs or paint loss.
Good Noticeable wear or minor damage, small chips or flaking. Repairs acceptable if not obvious.
Fair Obvious damage, repairs and wear. Significant flaws like cracks, chips and repainting.
Poor Excessive damage, poor repairs and repaints. Missing parts. For restoration only.

Most collectors seek out figurines in mint to excellent condition to retain or increase their value over time. Damage significantly lowers price in most cases.

Pro Tip: Invest in a good dust brush and clean your bears regularly to keep them looking their best. UV protective glass in curio cabinets can also prevent fading and sun damage.

Having the figurine‘s original box, Certificate of Authenticity (COA), and any paperwork adds a 10-20% premium in value. Always save these materials and store safely to prove authenticity and issue year.

How to Identify Your Cherished Teddy

While most Cherished Teddies are clearly marked, the key identifying details may be tricky to decipher. To look up the value of your figurine, you‘ll need to find:

  1. The model (sculpt) number
  2. The production year
  3. The retirement status

Check the underside of the teddy‘s base for an imprint that includes a letter/number combo like "CT701" or "4003895." This model number indicates the specific pose, outfit, theme and accessories the teddy features. The number is the quickest way to look up your piece in a collector‘s guide.

Many Cherished Teddies also include a stamped registration number like IV/601. The Roman numeral indicates the production decade (IV=2004, V=2005, etc.) while the 3-4 digit number is the issue sequence for that year. You may also see a month in the date stamp like 0204 for February 2004.

Pro Tip: When buying online, always ask sellers for photos of these identifying markings, as the sculpt name is not enough to confirm exactly which version/year of the teddy you‘re buying.

You can then check your specific teddy‘s status and current market price on a few key resources:

  1. Official Cherished Teddies Collector‘s Guide by Tina Skinner
  2. Cherished Teddies secondary market and auction price guide
  3. Cherished Teddies product archive on Enesco.com
  4. Dedicated Cherished Teddies collector forums and groups

Most Valuable Cherished Teddies

While hundreds of Cherished Teddies command respectable prices on the resale market, a few rare editions consistently bring in top dollar from serious collectors. Let‘s take a look at some of the highest-value Cherished Teddies sold in recent years:

2001 Signed Event Exclusive "William & Lori" – $1200

Gifted exclusively to Cherished Teddies Club members at a collectors event in 2001, this patriotic bear couple is one of the rarest modern issues. Signed versions by artist Priscilla Hillman are especially valuable. A mint condition set recently sold at auction for $1200.

1994 "Arlene and Shannon" – $900

The whimsical "A Little Bird Told Me You‘re Special" design features two pastel teddies with cute bird accents. This particular set from 1994 is both an older issue and a hard to find store exclusive, driving up value. One in excellent condition with original box fetched nearly $900.

1992 "Grenville…The Love Doctor" – $600

From the first year of production, this adorable white bear "love doctor" holding a heart has consistently been one of the most valuable early Cherished Teddies. While prices vary, one mint in box example garnered $600 in a recent private sale.

1998 "Adriana & Amalie" – $500

"Friends Make the World a Carousel of Happiness" depicts two cute bears riding pastel carousel horses. As part of a popular carousel series and an older limited edition set, collectors pay $400-$500 for this retired set in excellent to mint condition.

2009 "Soldier & Wife" – $300

While a more recent release, this touching military tribute titled "The Love That Bonds Our Hearts Keeps You Close When We‘re Apart" proves collector demand for relevant modern themes. Mint pairs have sold for $250-$300.

Pro Tip: "Cherished Teddies" is both singular and plural, not "Cherished Teddy" or "Cherished Teddy‘s" – a key way to spot authorized dealers and experts.

Of course, this is just a small sampling of notable sales. Any Cherished Teddy has potential to be that valuable "hidden gem" depending on its rarity, condition and market demand. Half the fun of collecting is hunting for those extra special pieces!

Where to Buy and Sell Cherished Teddies

The secondary market for Cherished Teddies is robust, with many active online and in-person venues to buy, sell, and trade. Some of the most popular options include:

  1. eBay – Still the most active hub for all things collectible. Check the sold/completed listings feature to gauge fair market value for specific pieces.
  2. Etsy – A go-to for vintage and antique decor and collectibles, with many Cherished Teddies resellers.
  3. CTCC Cherished Teddies Collectors Club – The official club hosts annual conventions with exclusive sales and trades as well as an online marketplace.
  4. Facebook Groups – Many private and public buy/sell/trade groups dedicated to Cherished Teddies. Great for finding local deals.
  5. Collector Forums – Long-running communities like Teddy Talk and Cherished Teddies Cafe have marketplace boards.
  6. Antique and Collectibles Shows – Check listings for toy and decor specific events in your area to shop in person.
  7. Flea Markets and Estate Sales – You never know what treasures might await! Bring a collectors guide to help verify pieces on the spot.

No matter where you‘re shopping, be wary of fakes and reproductions. Cherished Teddies are widely counterfeited, so buy from reputable dealers. Key red flags include missing/incorrect registration marks, noticeable seams or floating limbs, odd coloring, and prices far below market rate. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Pro Tip: For online listings, always pay securely through the platform. Avoid off-site payments. Meet local buyers and sellers in safe public spots.

Whether you‘re buying or selling, having a good sense of your Cherished Teddy‘s true value will help you get the most "bang for your buck." Use the resources in this guide to thoroughly research any pieces in your collection.

Caring For Your Cherished Teddies Collection

To preserve those prized bears for years to come and maximize resale value, follow these care tips:

  • Display away from direct sunlight, heat and moisture in a sealed curio cabinet.
  • Dust regularly with a soft bristle brush. Don‘t use chemical cleaners or water.
  • Store extra bears in plastic tubs with tight lids. Avoid attics/garages with temperature fluctuations.
  • Save original packaging and paperwork in acid-free containers.
  • Consider professional restoration for sentimental pieces with minor damage.
  • Consult a collectibles insurer if your collection is highly valuable. Homeowners/renters policies may not provide full coverage.

Above all, enjoy your Cherished Teddies! These loveable bears are meant to bring smiles and warm hearts. Whether you keep your favorite figurines for sentimental reasons or profit, showcase them proudly as part of your home and life story.

Building a meaningful collection takes time and care, so don‘t get too caught up in the dollar signs. The real value of Cherished Teddies is how they make you feel and the memories you create along the way.

I hope this guide has given you valuable insight into the wonderful world of Cherished Teddies. For even more tips and info, check out my blog and social media for all things collectible!

Do you have a favorite or most valuable Cherished Teddy? Share your collecting stories (and photos!) in the comments below.

Until next time, cheers and happy hunting!

[Your Name] Antiques & Collectibles Expert

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