Gumpa Edward – the tale of a Born Again Bear

When I was six years old my sister Louise was born and my mother gave me a teddy bear to  compensate for having to share her affections.  I named him Gumpa Edward Bear, and he was greatly loved.  He didn’t make up for having to play second fiddle to an annoying baby sister however, and apart from sitting regally on the end of my bed with some other toys, or in a doll’s pram he managed to maintain most of his fur and remained in almost new condition.
I need a hug
The hair  around his nose became a bit sparse and he lost his growl eventually, but he was still a splendid figure.  He even retained his original Joy Toy tag. Later when I married and had children my daughter played with him, but I always impressed on her that she should be careful with him and not get him dirty.  He spent many years sitting on small chairs and participating in tea parties with dolls, and eventually was passed over in favour of more modern and technologically advanced toys.

One of my son’s friends whose father had been a boxer and  was encouraged to solve problems with his fists pulled one of his legs in a fit of pique one day, and it hung on by a thread.  I attempted a bit of surgery with some strong thread and he looked nearly as good as new.

After many years and many location changes he ended up sitting on top of a chest of drawers in my bedroom again, gathering dust.  It seemed an ignominious end for such a handsome bear, and no-one seemed interested in improving his status.

One day I decided I would try to sell something on EBay.   I hadn’t done anything like that before, but it intrigued me.  Looking around my eyes alighted on Gumpa Edward.

As he was in such good condition I advertised him at auction with a starting price of  A$50.  Within no time I was swamped with people sending me questions, and one customer who asked if I would cancel the auction and sell him to her immediately.

Being a novice I had no idea what this meant, however a kind EBayer sent me a message stating that  he was worth a lot of money because of his brand (an Australian one, Joy Toys, which stopped making bears in the 1960s apparently) and his condition.

I didn’t know how to put a reserve on him, so just left everything as it was.  I did some research on Joy Toys however, and included relevant information in my description.

At the end of the auction there was a flurry of activity and Gumpa Edward went for the grand sum of A$450,  an extremely high price for an old teddy bear.  It was the combination of his condition, having only one owner,  the tag which proved his authenticity and the fact that the Joy Toy factory was no more.  Being a rare Australian bear certainly helped to work in his favour as well!

I can stand! I can stand!

The new owner lived in the Blue Mountains, so I quickly knitted him a little scarf to keep him warm.  I even wrote out  out a Certificate of Authenticity which I duly signed and witnessed(at the request of the new owner)  stating that he had always been in my possession, and included it in a carefully wrapped parcel containing my bear.

I felt a bit of a pang at his departure after all those years, but the thought that he was going to a new home where he would be obviously greatly appreciated cheered me up and made it more bearable (pardon the pun).  My monetary reward and the effusive feedback (my first) from my grateful buyer helped as well.

Gumpa  Edward’s departure was the start of a new phase in my life, when I would haunt secondhand shops, garage sales  and auctions, looking for something interesting to sell on EBay, and although I had some other great successes I never felt the same sense of excitement I did with my first sale.

Samoyed-and-teddy-bear
Samoyed-and-teddy-bear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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