Frequently Asked Questions - Teddy Bear Repairs
PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT WORK ON
When you first contact us, we ask you for as much detail as possible and also ask you to send us a picture of the bear. This helps us to see whether indeed it is something we would be able to do, the type of bear he is, what he is made of, what extra materials we would need (if any) and the extent of work involved.
We then either invite you to go on the waiting list, or if we consider it to be a quick job (e.g. detached head or limb, eyes, etc.) we ask you to send the bear.
Within the U.K., Royal Mail Special Delivery is the only recommended service to entrust your bear. It includes tracking, insurance and next-day delivery. However for heavy and/or oversized packages weighing over 2kg (big bear!) it may be necessary to use Parcelforce, for which enhanced compensation is available. But whichever way you send your bear, please use some kind of trackable method.
Alternatively, you are welcome to bring him into the shop but either way, please do contact us first. PLEASE SEE 'CURIOSITY SHOP' PAGE FOR DETAILS.
If you are posting him, please put him in a box - no need to buy one, supermarkets are only too glad to give them away or if the bear is small enough, a shoe box is fine. Stuffing your old friend into a Jiffy bag is not a good way for him to travel and he will probably never speak to you again!
PLEASE NOTE: We use recycled boxes wherever possible, as not only do we feel strongly about unnecessary waste but this also helps keeps costs down, which has to be a good thing for you, the planet and us!
No, quotes are free, regardless of whether or not you decide to go ahead. We only ask for return postage if, for any reason, your bear needs to be returned to you without any work being carried out.
We normally only ask for payment upon completion of the work.
Once your teddy is with us, hopefully up to 4 weeks. Please do 'bear' with us as we don't have an army of Oompah Loompahs to help; there is only one person doing all the actual restoration work and she's in great demand!
Sadly after careful consideration we are unable to accept children's modern toys for restoration, as the type of repairs we offer cannot restore a soft toy back to its original new state, compliant with current toy safety legislation in place for children under the age of 14.
This applies to modern 'child safe' soft toys made in the last 15 years or so. Regarding vintage bears to be given to a child, you would need to consider that we repair all teddies entirely by hand, so they will be unlikely to withstand child's play as well as a bear that had never suffered any damage. Although most vintage bears can be restored very successfully, they are never quite as tough as a new bear and will always need gentle treatment.
Materials we use (and the method of application) are the traditional type used on vintage/collectors' bears and virtually all of these do not meet current EU toy safety regulations. It also needs to be borne in mind that most vintage teddy bears do not, in themselves, meet present-day EU toy safety regulations.
Please feel free to ask us if there's anything you're not sure about.
All labour and in 99% of cases, materials are included. However, very occasionally an expensive fabric (such as a larger quantity of mohair cloth) has to be specially ordered for a particular bear, and in such cases an extra charge for the material would have to be made but we would let you know this in advance. There is never any extra charge for components such as eyes, joints, paw pads, growlers, stuffing, etc. and these tend to be the most frequent repairs. We never suggest any unnecessary repairs and always welcome your input.
Return postage is extra. Please remember that although your bear without his stuffing and possibly a limb missing may well be small thin and lightweight when you send him, chances are that he will go home considerably bigger, fatter and may need to travel in a larger box. This will sometimes mean that his return postage is higher because of the extra weight.
Yes. If any minor work becomes apparent after we have quoted, we will usually absorb it at no extra charge, but should we discover something major (unusual but occasionally something could get overlooked) then we would liaise with you first.
No, unfortunately not, although rarely a day passes without us being asked to do this (please don't...you wouldn't email your doctor to give you a diagnosis - would you?) Even a good photograph of the bear cannot always tell the whole story because it is still impossible to know exactly how damaged a bear may be (or not), how a bear is constructed, exactly what needs doing and how much (or little) work - and thus cost - might be involved. Our price guide will go some way towards giving you an idea.
Payment can be by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or cash if collecting person. Details will be given on request. This website does not take direct payments and we don't have facilities for taking card payments directly.
Sorry but this is outside our scope and in any case is subjective. Please consult a specialist auction house who will usually have a resident teddy bear expert - this is normally a free service. Alternatively, the larger teddy bear fairs will usually have an expert valuer on hand; this is also free. However we can often tell you the bear's age and manufacturer and even a little bit about them (assuming you did not already know.) We are always happy to do this where possible.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide such a service.
You've come to the right place - this is one of Oldenbears' main aims.
We are unable to work on the following:
1) Any bear made from real fur or sheepskin because these natural fur fabrics are impossible to sew. If you are not sure and would like details of how to tell, please email. However, sometimes it is possible to re-attach a jointed head or limb that has come off a real fur bear.
any teddy or toy animal that has a current insect infestation, usually moths.
Moths have become more commonplace recently, as people increasingly opt
for clothes and carpets made from natural materials, rather than the
man-made ones of recent years, thus giving the moths a greater source
of food and attracting them into homes - and teddy bears!
Infestation does not usually happen to toys made of cotton or acrylic fur.
Moths are harmless to humans, apart from the fact that they eat our clothes and teddy bears!
We have some further info that we would be pleased to email on request.
3) any teddy or toy animal that has been vomited over, or has suffered any other mishap involving body waste! Yes, we know you wouldn't dream of it, but unbelievably, a small minority of people really do expect us to work on these, saying they 'tried to wash it.' Sorry, but we won't even go there! ' (Ordinary 'dirt' through age is no problem, however - we can cope with that.)
4) any teddy or toy animal that has been eaten by rodents because unlike dogs, mice and rats (the little blighters!) get right inside the toy and leave their *calling cards* all over the stuffing. Not very nice to work on - not to mention very unhygienic - and the answer would have to be no!
5) Children's toys (please see above)
6) Replace disintegrated foam rubber chip stuffing (widely used in the 1970's) because it has usually turned into a sticky orange mess, like treacle, and is also a severe irritant which creates fine dust when disturbed. Even when it has not broken down, it tends to either stick to everything or fly out of any available gap in the bear and we are still finding bits of it in odd corners, six months later. And as if all that were not enough, it is also highly flammable! Fortunately, this type of stuffing is no longer produced.
However, it may still be possible to just give the bear a top-up with a safe, modern equivalent such as polyester, as long as we don't have to disturb the foam too much. You may not even be aware that your bear is stuffed with this but we would let you know the state of play.
7) Bears/animals made of real sheepskin and some other real furs like kangaroo skin (popular in the 1940s-50's) pose real problems as these skins are either too hard and brittle to sew at all, or as fragile as tissue paper, so that the skin shreds and disintegrates on contact with a needle and is therefore impossible to work on. But sometimes it is possible to replace a damaged limb with a lookalike material, as long as it doesn't involve sewing the sheepskin. Failing that, the only remedy is to dress a bear made of sheepskin, as clothing offers a degree of protection. Please email us if you are not sure and we will advise.
8) Repair rod-jointing on bears (to test whether this applies to your bear, move one of his arms or legs - if both move together, the bear is rod-jointed.) However, we can often replace damaged rod-joints with traditional disc joints. The only difference would be that the limbs would move separately instead of together.
9) Repair original musical boxes, growlers or squeakers, although these can usually be replaced with new ones - many of the original tunes are still available in the musical boxes. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT TODAY'S GROWLERS DO NOT HAVE AS DEEP A TONE AS THE OLD TYPE AND THEREFORE DO NOT SOUND THE SAME! Unfortunately this is a 'fact of life' and nothing can be done about it.
Borderline - decided on an individual basis!
Removing/replacing plastic safety components such as lock-in eyes, jointing and noses, as by their very nature, these were intended to be difficult and often impossible to remove, to prevent them being swallowed by children. Even when it is possible, please be aware that it will most likely be a time-consuming and therefore expensive process, causing extra damage which may need more work and the bear will almost always have to be dismantled in order to access safety components. Additionally, bears that have these components tend to be the more recent mass-produced ones, so you may wish to weigh up whether you really feel the cost is worthwhile. But please feel free to ask.
Also decided on an individual basis
(sorry, no offence intended, but....) poor quality mass produced toys of Far East manufacture from around the 1970s/80s as people's expectations cannot normally be met, since these toys were almost universally made of inferior materials and are simply not restorable; neither is it usually a viable proposition costwise.
Not a problem. All that would be asked is the bear's return postage (whatever you paid) and he would be sent back to you immediately, no questions asked.
No, unfortunately not. Restoration costing cannot be based on a bear's value. Regardless of an individual bear's age, monetary value & collectability, restoration still involves the same amount of work and often even more on bears with modern 'safety' components that are difficult to repair. It's a very personal thing and only you can determine whether restoration is viable for you.
Yes, almost certainly - even when it looks hopeless! To see what can be done, take a look at Gallery One and Gallery Two. (Many of these bears were victims of dog attacks and arguments with washing machines!)
Yes - here's a link but please note that it is a guide only; not a definitive price list. A firm price can only be given on sight of the bear.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A MINIMUM CHARGE OF £25 which covers materials, time taken doing the actual work, packaging, posting, etc.
© Oldenbears 1994 - 2013