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Museum splashes out on Titanic bear

The rare Titanic teddy has been bought by Basel's Puppenhaus museum.

(Christies's)

The Puppenhaus dolls' museum in Basel has paid the second-highest price ever for a teddy bear. The bear, known as the "mourning teddy", was one of just 600 produced to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

Christie's auction house in London said on Thursday the Titanic bear - which fetched $131,937 (SFr223,000) - was a sought-after item and in excellent condition. It had been languishing in a cupboard after its owner had grown out of it, teddy expert Daniel Agnew told swissinfo.

Christie's had put a reserve price of $22,000 on the rare teddy. But the black mohair bear with cream paws, hump back and long snout exceeded all expectations by going for five times that.

Agnew attributed the high price to the fact that there are now more wealthy people trying to acquire quality antique bears for their collections.

Despite its popularity at auction, the Titanic bear was not a success when its German manufacturer, Steiff, introduced it to Britain in 1912. Apparently its unusual black fur made it unappealing to British children.

The RMS Titanic went down on April 14, 1912, claiming the lives of just over 1,500 passengers and crew.

swissinfo

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