This original Gabrielle Paddington was made in the late 1970's and is in good condition. It is quite a large bear and stands very well unaided. The bear body is in good condition, firmly stuffed and with all seams and foot pads intact. He has feet with a slight toe (the early 1970's bears were toeless).
The plastic eyes are in good condition with just slight rubbing to surface. He comes with his original brown felt coat, and has a new red hat and matching PB boots, stitched in label and Paddington luggage tag.
The coat shows some signs of wear commensurate with its age and use and has had some repairs and a toggle replacement. The coat could easily be replaced if you wanted to but keeping the original outfit is preferable for most collectors. See information below.
This is an amazing and very collectable teddy bear. A good future investment.
Height: 44-45 cm bare feet to top of ears. Hat and boots add extra height.
About Gabrielle Paddington Bears
Michael Bond’s creation of the Paddington Bear Story with illustrations by Peggy Fortnum was first given physical form in 1971 by Shirley and Eddie Clarkson of Gabrielle Designs, UK. The first bear made was given to their children Jeremy (Top Gear Presenter) and his sister Joanna as a Christmas present.
In 1972, the Clarkson’s registered their design. All the Gabrielle bears were handmade in a small factory in Doncaster, UK. Paddington Bear was given his first wellington boots to help him stand on his rounded feet (nicknamed ‘stumpies’). The early bears had Dunlop boots. By the 1980s, the bears were given more of a toe shape to the feet and as Dunlop could not keep up with the demand for the boots, Gabrielle Designs crafted their own boots with a moulded -paw print and PB on the bottom. This is a helpful way of dating the year of the bear.
Up until 1976, Gabrielle Designs held the world exclusive rights to Paddington Bear teddy bear. The previous year, due to the popularity of the toy character, many other toy makers began producing imitations of the Clarkson’s design. This led to a great deal of copyright uproar.
As a result of the copyright and patent controversy, another indicator of the date of a Gabrielle Paddington are the details on its silk label sewn into the back seam. If it shows a list of different countries of registration it indicates that the bear was made from 1974 onwards. The Gabrielle Design Copyright was Registered 1972 N.B. that is not the year the bear was made. The following series of bears have ‘design registration applied for 1981’ that indicates the bears were made from 1981 onwards.
Thick felt fabrics in a variety of different colours were used to make the Paddington outfits consisting of a duffle coat with four wooden toggles and a big floppy Peruvian style hat. Each bear also had a luggage label with the company name and “Darkest Peru To London England” on one side and “Please Look After This Bear – Thank You” on the other. Only the very first bears (1972) had a label with the “thank you” missing. That was added after 1972 on the suggestion of Michael Bond.
In 1994 Eddie Clarkson passed away and the following year his wife sold Gabrielle Designs to Stephen Beaumont. Beaumont later acquired a license to produce Enesco Cherished Teddies and launched a Collectors Club. By 1998 Gabrielle Designs had ceased trading.
As the original Gabrielle Paddington’s are no longer made they have become highly sought after by bear collectors and Paddington enthusiasts. The bears themselves were superbly made and very durable. The felt attire unfortunately is prone to loss, wear and moth attacks. In response, a company known as Rainbow Designs produces and sells replacement clothing, boots and accessories that can be ordered online at http://www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk/paddington/