On the afternoon of January 19, the world-renowned teddy bear expert John Paul Port held a free appraisal session at the Susan Quinlan Doll and Teddy Bear Museum for curious teddy bear owners. In addition to his expertise, Port brought with him a selection of notable teddy bears to show to the appraisal attendees. A couple dozen people brought in teddy bears to be evaluated and receive a certificate verifying the value of their bear.
Some people found that their old bears were worth a surprising amount of cash. One of the bears brought in was estimated to be worth somewhere between $1,200 and $1,500 after a couple of inexpensive minor repairs. A German bear from 1925 was brought in and valued at about $900. A Steiff Teddy Bear that Port brought with him has been valued at $10,000.
However, to John Paul Port, teddy bears have more than just financial significance. He has traveled all over the world while appraising bears and has a personal collection of over 5,000 pieces. To Port, the emotional ties to teddy bears are what makes them so special and why he has taken such an interest in collecting them.