Have you ever hugged a Boyds plush animal? If you have, you probably wanted to take it home. Boyds Bears and other stuffed animal characters have undeniable personality and cuddle appeal.
Just the mention of Boyds Bears brings up images of the cuddly creatures that are perfect for any occasion. Receiving one is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face. The delight of young children as they hold one for the first time, the beautiful sparkle in your lover's eyes as she lifts one out of the company's famous gift baskets, or the joy as a collector clears off a spot on their shelves to make room for the newest addition.
“Andrew Kenneth”, one of the additions of spring 2007, is a classic teddy bear: ruffled brown fur, a tan face and a black nose. At 15 inches high, he’s a perfectly sized companion and his expression tells you he’ll wait as long as it takes if you leave without him. Similarly, a plush cat, Caterina Purrsley is the softest fluffiest grey kitten you can imagine. Her shiny black eyes peer out at you from her furry face —she is clearly expecting some attention.
The Boyds Collection, Ltd. started in 1979 with the dreams of a couple,
G.M. Lowenthal and Justina Unger, in their small antique shop that they
ran out of their home in Boyds, Maryland. They began by selling "Antique
Reproductions" with their best-seller originally being duck decoys.
Around 1984, G.M. made one of his first Bears, a 100% merino wool teddy bear designed for his newborn son. That bear was an instant friend to its tiny owner and the fur has been
flying ever since.
The characters that followed ultimately evolved into the “Bears and Hares you can Trust”, and a whole line of other animals —cats, chickens, cows, pigs, bunnies and all the menagerie. The menagerie has grown so large that retired plush animals have become a growing sought-after group, as well. In 1993 he introduced resin figurines and collectors around the world just can't get enough of these little treasures, fuzzy or otherwise.
The Collection has increased over the years to incorporate, besides animal
figurines, many friends of fantasy as well, such as fairies and gnomes. So many people loved Boyds plush bears and other product lines from the same company that there was an official collectors’ club: the Loyal Order of Friends of Boyds Collection, or Loyal F.o.B.s. Club members had access to exclusive pieces and they could find out about the newest retired plush animals and seek them out before they become too hard to find. Or they could buy, sell, and trade among themselves. You didn't have to be a member though: non-members could join the other collectors talking and trading on the internet. The secondary market in Boyds Collection Ltd. products is active and growing.
Those who are familiar with the prices of collector’s teddy bears will find Boyds plush bears and other characters surprisingly inexpensive. “Andrew Kenneth”, for example, costs about $32 US, while the slightly smaller Caterina Purrsley, one of the “Bears and Friends,” retails for about $33 US. Larger and rarer bears are more expensive, particularly the limited editions.
Big Jake, a 40 inch limited edition bear from 2005, is now hard to find, and you may pay over $400 US if you just have to have him. For the very tight budget, “Chloe” a 14 inch lovable pastel bunny can be yours for just $21 US.
Though, the company will always be known best for its Bears, the Internet is filled with sites devoted to all aspects of the Boyds Collection. There is, of course, the company's official website that offers pricing info, pictures, histories of certain pieces and where you can find stores that sell these precious collectibles. By typing in the phrase “Boyds Bears” or “Boyds Collection” you will be able to browse through literally dozens of sites that offer the chance to interact with other collectors in forums and bulletin boards, as well as find and purchase the harder to find pieces that you may want to add to your own personal collection.
There is a Boyds character for everyone. All you have to do is search the internet or your favorite gift shop to find one that fits you. Just don't be surprised if you end up finding a couple for yourself and few for everybody else on your list as well.
Boyds plush bears and all their animal friends are still readily available on the internet. But maybe not for long. On August 15, 2014, Enesco, the company that acquired Boyds Collection Ltd. in 2008, announced its strategic decision to place Boyds into hibernation effective December 31, 2014.
Read the story of Boyds Collection Ltd. on their website, browse the stock of various internet retailers, or search for Boyds retired plush animals
to your heart’s content. Join a club, trade on eBay, or order direct
from an official dealer —in most cases you can make a purchase on the
internet and then sit back in happy anticipation while you wait for your
unique furry friend to arrive. Whatever you do, just don't put off any longer purchasing that longed for favorite Boyd you've always wanted to add to your collection, when you find it! It could very well be your last chance. Beloved Boyds are saying goodbye!
And when you do and you are getting it out of its packaging, you can be sure its expression will be saying “Where’s my hug?” now and forever.