About Daniel Agnew
A life-time of Teddy Bears and old Toys - what could be better!
A Passion for Teddy Bears
Daniel Agnew is probably best known for running Christie’s famous teddy bear auctions from 2000 to 2007. But, his passion for teddy bears and all toys goes back much further than that.
Daniel’s mother, Marion Agnew is a well respected antique dealer. As a child, he was fascinated with the pieces that his mum brought home from her buying trips. Daniel started to join her at weekends. As a child, what caught his eye most were the toys. His first collection was a lead farm; this led onto a zoo and garden. Then Golly badges, Felix and Bonzo collectables, novelty egg cups and then teddy bears. Without knowing it, he had contracted one of the worst diseases known, 'The Collecting Bug'.
Armed with his first reference book 'The Teddy Bear Catalogue', written by Peggy and Alan Bialosky, published in 1980 and bought for the great sum of £3.40, Daniel found the amazing array of teddy bears available. Can you imagine, listed in these pages were Steiff clown bears at $175, and the most expensive Steiff was $850!
The collection began to grow, as did the prices of bears. A key influence on Daniel was the late Pam Hebbs. They regularly met at Covent Garden or Bermondsey market where Daniel's mum had a stall. Pam was looking for bears to buy.
The growth in the bear market is well documented, but in the year Daniel joined Christie’s as a saleroom porter, by then the the record price had reached the dizzy heights, when in 1989 Alfonzo, a red Steiff Teddy Bear which was originally the property of Princess Xenia Georgievna, a member of the Russian royal family, sold for £12,100.
Christie's Toy Department
Daniel joined the toy department as a cataloger at Christie’s in 1991 and in 1993 he helped set up the first Teddy Bear auction. The show needed a star and it was Christie’s doll consultant, Olivia Bristol, who came up trumps by discovering a dealer who had a blue Steiff teddy bear! It was a bold move to value him at £20,000, but she was proved right when he sold for the amazing sum of £49,500. At the next sale in 1993, Teddy Girl sold for £110,000, which is still the world record for an antique Teddy Bear.
In 2007 Daniel left Christie's and established this website; holding his first independent auction 'The London Toy Auction' in 2009. In 2010 Daniel returned to Christie's South Kensington in to sell the Paul Greenwood collection 'Steiff: An Important Private Collection' for £1,000,000. Daniel's London Toy Auction returned in 2011 and 2012; in the last auction, a Steiff Petsy Teddy Bear sold for £23,600.
Independent Teddy Bear and Antique Toy Dealer
Throughout the last 20 years, Daniel collection has grown and grown. Constantly adding new items; especially loving anything early with labels, mad comic characters or anything that has not been seen before. Much of the collection can be seen on this site, see My Bear and Toy Collection. For the last couple of years, a large part has been of permanent loan to the Brighton Toy and Model Museum .
Another long term project for Daniel is the task of writing a definitive encyclopedia-type book on the British Teddy Bear. Much research is being done for this and when eventually finished will be a must for any bear collector. Daniel is always interested in hearing from fellow enthusiasts if they have any interesting information that they would like to contribute to this publication.
Daniel is currently self-employed, advising clients, and dealing on this website and at shows. Generally working at promoting the teddy bear and toy hobby for all, he also organises a bi-annual auction, in association with Special Auction Services.
His latest venture is helping to organise the London International Antique Doll, Teddy Bear and Toy Fair, the inaugural fair is to be held at Olympia in November 2016.