6 Valuable Steiff Bears No Child’s Allowance Could Ever Afford

These valuable Steiff teddy bears aren't only worth the cash. They're worth a cuddle, too!

Updated January 9, 2024
Steiff teddy bear

As a kid, I was fortunate enough to be emotionally wrecked by The Velveteen Rabbit and have my little wounds healed by a live-action performance — puppets included — at a local children’s theater. Just one look into an antique Steiff bear’s piercing eyes, and you’ll believe in the book's message: that a child’s love for their favorite stuffed animals really can transcend anything. And the most valuable Steiff bears show that you can take a child’s love all the way to the bank.

6 Most Valuable Steiff Teddy Bears

If Winnie-the-Pooh is your friendly neighborhood talking teddy, then a Steiff bear is the distant Lord who lives in an inherited mini mansion at the edge of town. These valuable Steiff bears are the gold star of the esteemed plush toy company’s catalog. And while they only made a few of these top-notch money-makers, there are still some waiting to be discovered.

Valuable Steiff Bears Record Sales Prices (adjusted for inflation) 
Teddy Girl  $343,685.80
Louis Vuitton Bear $335,727.05
Titanic Mourning Bear $250,505
Blue "Elliot" Steiff Bear $158,392.03
Harlequin Steiff Bear $94,360.36
Steiff Bear With Hot Water Bottle $70,912.86

Teddy Girl: $343,685.80

Out of all the expensive Steiff bears that wormed their way out of obscurity, Colonel Bob Henderson’s 1905 “Teddy Girl” tops the list. Whether it’s a blankie or a teddy, you never really outgrow that special childhood toy. Colonel Henderson took his Steiff bear along with him into combat during World War II, through D-Day, and back home again.

Christie’s later sold the veteran bear in 1994 for just over $100,000 — a price that comes to $343,685.50 today.

Louis Vuitton Bear: $335,727.05

Louis Vuitton Bear

Very few companies can be reduced to two letters and people still recognize who they are. But LV, or Louis Vuitton, is one of the rare mainstays from the industrial revolution that’s managed to stay on top for over a century.

Fashion houses are well-known for being collaborative, and Louis Vuitton has had several fascinating partnerships, one of which was with the Steiff Company. Any bear decked out in the iconic LV logo is bound to turn heads at auction. In 2000, this Louis Vuitton Steiff bear charmed Monaco in an international Christie’s auction and sold for what amounts today as $335,727.05.

Titanic Mourning Bear: $250,505

Titatnic Mourning Bear

In 1997, the Titanic got a new lease on life thanks to James Cameron, one catchy Celine Dion tune, and a “they both could have fit” floating door debate. But long before the 90s juggernaut was a twinkle in Cameron’s eye — or even before the ship’s remains were discovered — news of the disaster swept the Western world.

In a solemn show of solidarity, Steiff released 665 all-black commemorative bears. These Titanic Mourning Bears are the stuff of teddy bear legend today, with one selling as recently as summer of 2023. This red-eyed stuffed bear didn’t quite beat out the more recent LV bear for the #2 slot, but it got pretty close at $250,505.

Blue Steiff Bear Named Elliot: $158,392.03

Early aughts bears are some of the most collectible in the world, and Steiff teddy bears in particular. In 1993, a rare blue Steiff bear from 1908 charmingly named Elliot was put up for auction. Little Elliot was manufactured as a sample for Harrods — a famous London retailer — but was rejected and left by his lonesome at the Steiff Company headquarters for decades. Accounting for inflation, this disheveled bear sold for $158,392.03.

Harlequin Steiff Bear: $94,360.36

Harlequin Teddy Bear of 1925 Replica

If you know anything about expensive Steiff bears, you’re probably familiar with the iconic Harlequin design. Split down the middle in alternating blue and red dyed mohair, this early Steiff bear is one of the most collectible in the bunch.

One former Steiff employee put her super well-kept Harlequin from 1925 in a Christie’s auction. Naturally, it garnered some attention and ended up selling for what comes out to $94,360.36 in today’s money.

Steiff Bear With Hot Water Bottle: $70,912.86

One of the early Steiff bear designs that just breaks our sentimental hearts is the one outfitted with a hot water bottle inside. This bear was made to hold a primitive hot water bottle inside its chest to soothe its kiddy owner’s aches and pains.

Many of these have sold at auction, and each one performs quite well. The most expensive sold in a Christie’s auction in 2006 for what amounts to $70,912.86 today.

Don’t Miss Out on Steiff Bears’ Auction Magic

Out of all the dust-covered teddy bears shoved under beds and tossed into crawlspaces, you want to find a Steiff bear. Stop praying for Beanie Babies and look to these luxury bears instead. Steiff bears are pretty pricey on their own, but rare and antique ones outdo all the other stuffed animals at the auction block.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the magic Steiff bear money by knowing what key things to look for:

  • Look for Steiff buttons on the ears. Steiff bears are typically pinned with identifying buttons through one of their ears.
  • Feel around for a metal skeleton underneath the fur. Antique Steiff bears rely on the metal skeleton to keep their stiff shape, and they can be a tell for a bear that’s lost its tags.  
  • Run your fingers over the fur to check for mohair and the paws for felt. Steiff spares no expense with their bears, and you should be able to feel the high-quality mohair fur and felt on the paws.

Steiff Doesn’t Make Your Average Teddy Bear

Unlike so many companies that have rebranded themselves enough times that they’re practically unrecognizable, Steiff has leaned into their old-world tastes. Live out your best Saltburn aesthetic dreams with one of these expensive antique playthings.

6 Valuable Steiff Bears No Child’s Allowance Could Ever Afford