Alfonzo – The World Famous Steiff Teddy Bear
Alfonzo may be only 12 inches tall but he’s a Steiff bear with a big reputation.
As one of the most valuable vintage teddies in the world, Alfonzo is thought to be worth thousands of pounds.
But after almost three decades in Witney, the 110-year-old bear is packing his bags to become the star attraction at a new museum in Denmark.
Alfonzo’s owner and collector Ian Pout, who runs shop and museum Teddy Bears of Witney said: “He’s been a very big part of us all here, so it’s going to be a huge loss.
“There is a big emotional pull but it is nice to know he is going somewhere he will be enjoyed by many more people.”
Alfonzo, the museum’s flagship bear since 1989, has Royal connections.
He was made in 1906 by German firm Steiff for Russian princess Xenia, cousin of Tsar Nicholas II and traveled with his royal mistress when she visited Buckingham Palace in 1914.
Xenia’s mother was Princess Marie of Denmark and Greece.
Mr Pout added: “It’s a big wrench but as far as I’m concerned he’s going home, which is comforting to know.”
Despite Alfonzo’s distinctive red fur being a little threadbare in places, he has become more valuable over time.
He hit the headlines in 1989, when Mr Pout bought him at a Christie’s auction in London for a record £12,100, the most ever paid for a teddy bear.
Although he would not reveal what Alfonzo’s price tag was this time around, Mr Pout said it was “several times his original cost”.
He said: “His value is largely in his provenance.
“Although a lot more loved and smaller than some others out there, he has this extraordinary heritage.”
Mr Pout wrote to 200 customers this week to tell them about Alfonzo’s move to The Teddy Bear Art Museum in Billund, where he will go on display once it opens next autumn.
Mr Pout wrote: ‘It has been a great honour to be Alfonzo’s guardian and one of the greatest pleasures of my life but following a serious health scare three years ago and with my 70th birthday well behind me, I decided that the time was now right for him to be enjoyed elsewhere’.
Teddy Bears of Witney stocks 340 types of new and vintage bears.
Its museum is home to another of Britain’s best-known teddies – Aloysius, who starred with Anthony Andrews in Brideshead Revisited.