London, South Kensington
22 May 1997
'Black Jack', a rare black Steiff teddy bear
with short mohair/burplap plush, black shoe button eyes, pronounced snout, black horizontally stitched nose, black stitched mouth and claws, swivel head, long jointed shaped limbs, cream felt pads, growler and hump --12½in. (32cm.) tall, circa 1912 (growler inoperative, small wear to tips of paws and feet); sold with his home-made jacket made by Margaret, his original owner
See Colour Plate 17
Black Jack's original owner, Margaret, spent her childhood in Newcastle and this is where she first met Black Jack.
In 1923, three year old Margaret accompanied her mother to visit an Aunt whose friend was moving house and needed some help disposing of some unwanted items. Black Jack was one of them. Sadly, nobody had any use for him as none of the children showed any desire to play with him. Fortunately Black Jack was offered to Margaret which she gladly accepted. However, as Margaret recalls, Black Jack never quite captured her heart as did her larger teddy bear and eventually he was put away for safe keeping.
As the years past, Margaret's family moved home several times. Luckily Black Jack was never given away as an unwanted item. Instead he moved with the family on every occassion, often spending long periods in storage.
Margaret married and had children of her own, but they too showed little interest in Black Jack. However, he was treated with a home-made jacket. Being fond of making clothes for all her toys, Margaret didn't want Black Jack to feel left out.
After many moves and long hours in darkness, Black Jack found a more permanent home in an attic in Scotland, where he remained for many years, until it was suggested to Margaret that after all these years someone might give him the love and appreciation he deserves. Once again Black Jack saw the light of day, and due to his lack of affection, he emerged from the attic in such fine condition.
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Button In Ear, Jurgen & Marianne Cieslik, page 49
Steiff Teddy Bears, Jurgen & Marianne Cieslik, page 54 & 55
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