Antiques Roadshow in Beverley Minster

I’ve just got back from my second Antiques Roadshow of the season, at Beverley Minster in the East Riding of Yorkshire. I’ve never attended a Roadshow in a church before, and what a stunning first time it was – the Minster is truly breathtaking. Only if I had time to enjoy it properly though, as the day was as busy and fun-filled as I’ve come to expect. Thousands of people attended, forming an orderly queue from 6am onwards, meaning that pieces were still being looked at at gone 7pm!
I didn’t film anything this time, but one thing I did see stuck firmly in my mind.
This diminutive teddy bear (above) has quite a story behind him. Miniature bears are usually associated with Schuco or Steiff, but this bear was made in England, most probably by Farnell. Known as ‘soldier bears’, they were produced during World War One in this traditional mohair colour, as well as patriotic red, white or blue mohairs. They were given to young soldiers by their sweethearts or families, to wish them luck and remind them of home. Look closely, and you’ll see that his snout is upturned and his eyes are looking upwards – this was so they could peek out of the breast pocket of a soldier’s tunic.
These touch something inside of me when I handle them. Just think about what this little fellow may have seen, from the filth and squalor of the trenches to the soul-crunching, sheer terror of going ‘over the top’. Sadly, the lovely lady who brought him in had no idea who had owned him but, as he’s survived in such good condition, I’d hope that his original owner bought him back to Blighty himself. Not terribly common, and increasingly popular with collectors, they usually fetch up to £150 – coloured examples often more. But that hardly matters, the story behind them is much greater and more powerful than their value. For a superb series of photographs of the event, click here to visit

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