The famous toy company Schuco patented their 'yes/no bear'after its first appearance at a toy fair in Leipzig in 1921. The bear's head could be moved from left to right and up and down. This could be done by moving a small lever in the tail. Six sizes were produced, ranging from 25 to 60 cms and in different mohair fabric types. The four smaller sizes contained squeakers, the two larger contained growlers. These bears are sometimes referred to as "Patented Yes/No Bear".
After WWII, about 1950, the yes/no bear was reintroduced as the "Tricky Yes/No Bear". Made in seven sizes, of various mohair colours (blond, gold, red-brown) it contained a growler and some contained Swiss musical mechanisms. Their arms are distinctive as they have downturned paws and seem to be begging.
Schuco teddies from the 1950s/1960s are known for their large ears and big eyes, and it is this cute look that added to their success, and their appeal to collectors today. Another very successful range from the 1960s was the Bigo Bello series.
From 1965, several factors caused the closure of many of the major teddy factories, including Schuco. It had experienced a sharp decline in sales of its tin toy range, due to competition from the budget-priced Japanese toy makers. Whilst the teddy bear arm of the factory continued to do well, it ultimately wasn't able to keep the rest of the company buoyant, and Schuco declared bankruptcy in 1976 and was taken over by the English company DCM.
In 1924 Schuco introduced a series of miniature bears, for which it is renowned. They ranged in size from 9 - 15 cms and came in various colour mohairs for example in green, pink, blue and mauve. This range was known as 'Piccolo'. In 1927 the range was extended and Compact Bears were produced, they were designed to fit into a handbag and contained a mirror, compact, lipstick and powder puff or a perfume bottle or a manicure set.
The "Janus" bear is another favourite with collectors. This tiny bear is just 9cm (3.5") tall. It was made in 1954, has two faces, one ugly with red tongue sticking out and the other smiling. A small brass knob is positioned at the base of the body and is turned to move the head. They were fully jointed, made of golden mohair over an internal metal frame and had black, metal bead eyes.
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