Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jan on collectability of snuffles

Jan from Jan's Bear Essentials, one of the most popular snuffles authorized dealers in the US, wrote this interesting contribution about collectability of snuffles which I found on Ebay:

I found this picture today on the web and wanted to share it with you while delivering this contribution below:

(picture source)

This guide was put together to give you the history and collectability of the Gund Snuffles Bear.
Snuffles is the best-known bear Gund ever created..  It was designed in 1980 by Rita Raiffe who, at the time, led the Gund Company with her husband Herbert. She was inspired by the shape of a beautiful crescent moon in the sky, and designed a happy bear looking up at the moon.   Snuffles is known worldwide for that shape and ability to look up and gaze at you when being held.   Snuffles debuted in the Teddy Bear World in 1981 and is now the oldest bear in Gund's product line.  I am told that there is a sign on the side of the Gund Headquarters Building in Edison, New Jersey that says the The House that Snuffles Built.  I am not sure this is true, but I read that somewhere.  The initial bears were 12-inch tall models available in brown or white.

Over the years, Snuffles was produced in a many different sizes and colors.  Most were between four inches and three feet tall.  For buyers and sellers, the size of these bears is difficult to measure.   The colors included dark and light brown, blue, pink, as well as rare green and yellow versions.  In addition to the traditional teddy bear, Gund made Snuffles into rattles, puppets, slippers, clip-ons, ice-packs, pillows, pajama bags and seasonal releases.  Gund also introduced a line of soft dolls that hold a small 4" Snuff in their hands.  Most of the colored bears had a white snout, ears, and a white patch on their belly.  There has been a variety of fur types made over the years including fur, velour, and terry cloth, mohair and ceramic.  I even found a record album with a variety of Snuffles gracing the cover.

Most Snuffles styles had a limited production run and are hard to locate now that they are discontinued.  Limited edition bears were made including ones with mohair fur.  FAO Schwartz had many exclusive Snuffles Bears like a 24" blush Snuffles 25th anniversary edition.  They had been the exclusive retailer of a number of other Snuffles including 2 silver millenium edition Snuffles and two-foot Snuffles versions.  The standard size blush colored 12" Snuffles was produced for Gund's 25th anniversary but was sold by most retailers. Other editions have been made for Macy's, Pottery Barn, and Barnes & Noble.

The name "Snuff" was originally used to refer to the small baby safe bear.  These were produced in pink, white and blue and measured about 6".  They have embroidered eyes, not plastic.  The name "Snuff" is currently used by most for any of the smaller bears.

In recent years, Gund decided to stop production on all colored Snuffles, producing just the white bear in 3 sizes.

For collectors, paper hang-tags are very important.  Although many sellers think the tush tag is enough, I personally wouldn't buy one with just that.   The condition of the bear is also top on collector's requirements.   The noses on some show wear with the felt rubbing off.   A few older models had plastic noses which survived longer.

Snuffles has won many awards over the years including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award in 1996 and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award (for toddlers) in 2004.   According to reviewers, "with his round tummy, this short, loveable armful of a bear is likely to become a constant companion".    The huggability of this bear is probably the reason it is difficult to find older, rarer Snuffles in good condition.   They have been hugged for many years and unfortunately for us collectors, many have not survived.
In 2010 Gund released a series of "30th Anniversary Snuffles".   There was a 10" and 15" in caramel and chocolate.   There was also a 13.5" limited edition (ed. of 1,000).   I have sold out of the 15" caramel and the limited white bear but still have a small quantity of the others.

In 2011, Gund released a new  "34" Snuffles bear which was huge.   I sold over one hundred of these big guys and shipped them all over the world.   I have a few in stock.

 (Click on picture to get to the exclusive snuffles shop of Jan)

In 2012, Gund released a new "Exclusive Snuffles" which is only available through Jan's Bear Essentials.   The bear is beautiful and highly collectible since it is a limited edition (limited to 1500 manufactured).  He is black and measures about 13.5".   You can order it in my store or from my website.
(This information was pulled together from many sources including Gund's book - Images of America , Gund catalogs, Wikipedia, collectors from all over the globe and my Gund knowledge base)

Last but not least, I have bought many snuffleses from Jan and can only recommend her as a trusted source to find current and past snuffles.