- Title: Polish collector proves teddy bears aren’t only for kids
- Date: 25th November 2016
- Summary: MUSICAL TEDDY BEAR
- Embargoed: 10th December 2016 11:00
- Keywords: teddy bear collector
- Location: WOLICA, POLAND
- City: WOLICA, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Topics: Human Interest/Brights/Odd News,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00459XZU49
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Like many children, Witold Danielewicz was the proud owner of teddy bears when he was little. But rather than outgrowing the stuffed toys, Danielewicz continued to acquire more as the years went by. Decades later, his first two teddy bears Macius and Tomato have been joined by some 700 more.
Danielewicz's collection is so big he has even build a dedicated house to store his bears, each with its own designated spot on the shelf. They require quite a lot of attention, from washing their fur to wiping their glass eyes. Luckily, Danielewicz has help from his wife Danuta.
"My wife is very accommodating, so she tolerates my hobby and she says: 'It's better that you collect teddy bears than lovers," Danielewicz joked.
Collecting teddy bears is not the couple's only unsual hobby - they are also the founders of an early music ensemble, "Scholares Minores pro Musica Antiqua", which plays music ranging from the medieval period through to baroque.
The Danielewiczs frequently travel with the group to perform across Poland and abroad - but they often take some bears along for the trip.
"My husband is jealous over his teddy bears. I am not jealous about him, but he is very protective of his teddy bears," Danuta Danielewicz told Reuters.
The bears come from all over the world, some of them received as gifts and others purchased for up to several hundred euros - including a bear from the renowned German toy company Steiff.
But for Danielewicz, each and every bear is special.
"Teddy bears are in general amazingly gifted, you just need to learn how to talk to them as they are particularly afraid of strangers and they pretend to be sitting motionless. It's only after the strangers leave that they start to cause a nuisance and run around all the shelves, they climb in all directions and the commotion starts in here," he said playfully.
Every bear in his collection has its own 'passport' showing its name, 'date of birth' and country of origin. But they are not just for show - Danielewicz sometimes opens the house to groups of children so they can come and play with the toys.
The history of the teddy bear dates back over 100 years. In 1902 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was 'Teddy', reportedly refused to shoot a black bear that had been caught for him during a hunt in Mississippi.
When the Washington Post picked up on the story, an enterprising New York shopkeeper started to sell stuffed 'teddy bears', which quickly became one of the most popular toys for children - and for some adults too.
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