Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas

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Hanna Kampourogianni


Welcome to the enchanting world of teddy bear collectors, where cuddly companions become portals to heartwarming stories. In the heart of this realm stands Richard Backschas, a distinguished collector boasting an extraordinary 1700 bears.

Born in the Netherlands, Richard’s journey into the world of bears began in the 1990s, fueled by a passion that would shape his life in unexpected ways.

In those early years, his love for bears was temporarily set aside, influenced by the decisions of his stepfather.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
The part of the red bear collection.

“I always had a love for bears, but my stepfather decided at the age of around 7 that I was too old for bears and stuffed toys,” Richard recalls with a hint of humor.

However, fate had different plans, and in a long-term relationship, the bears found their way back into Richard’s life.

The Genesis of Richard Backschas’s Collection

The tale of Richard Backschas’s remarkable bear collection finds its roots in a narrative of rediscovery during his first long-term relationship.

Venturing into bear shops and shows became a delightful revelation during their shopping escapades. Richard, initially collecting miniature perfume bottles, stumbled upon the enchanting world of bears through magazines.

Reflecting on his inaugural bear show experience in early January, hosted in Amsterdam, Richard vividly recalls setting a modest budget of 150,00 GLD. The grandeur of the event, with its high ceilings and a multitude of captivating bears, captured his imagination.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Teddy bear by Anne-Marie van Gelder

Among the myriad of bears, a particular blue one stood out, but its price tag of 180,- initially deterred Richard. The allure proved too strong to resist, leading him to revisit the table, only to discover the blue bear had been sold.

Enter Anne-Marie van Gelder, a pivotal figure in Richard’s journey. Seeing his disappointment, she offered to craft another bear.

The prospect of recreating the same bear proved challenging, but Richard eagerly agreed. “It was the start of my collection,” he recounts with excitement. Anne-Marie’s craftsmanship not only birthed Richard’s first artist bear but marked the beginning of an enduring friendship.

As the blue bear found its place in Richard’s heart, it also signaled the start of an exhilarating collecting journey. More shows followed, connecting Richard with artists globally, from Germany and the UK to eventual ventures reaching Japan.

This Amsterdam show marked not only the genesis of Richard’s extensive bear collection but also the commencement of a lifelong odyssey into the heartwarming world of teddy bears.

Navigating the Diverse Landscape of 1700 Bears

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Another part of the huge Richard Backschas’s bear collection.

Richard says that it was unfair to single out any one artist, each of them is good in their own way, and the creations of each of them are loved by Richard.

Dive into the sea of red bears that have become a distinctive focus of Richard’s passion. In 2022, he noticed the prevalence of red bears in his collection and decided to make it a central theme.

He even created a Facebook group dedicated to Steiff Alfonzo Bear and other red bears.

“There are many that mean the world to me in my red collection.”

From the rich hues of Anne-Marie van Gelder’s creations to the special red bear made by Gregory Gyllemship in 2023, the red bears hold a special place in Richard’s heart.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Some of the red bears from Richard’s collection.

Take a stroll through this plush menagerie, and you’ll encounter bears that span decades, each with its own significance.

The collection boasts over 50 bears from Jane Humme, special creations from Gregory Gyllemship, and the enchanting work of Jennifer Laing.

This isn’t just a collection; it’s a living testament to the artistry of bear-making, a diverse landscape of miniatures and larger-than-life companions.

“My goal is to get the biggest red bear collection in the world”

From the early works of Anne-Marie van Gelder to the more recent discoveries of Julia Babich, Richard’s collection, with its vibrant focus on red bears, paints a vivid picture of the ever-evolving narrative of teddy bear artistry. Each bear is a chapter, and together they tell the tale of a collector’s boundless love for the craft.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Bears made by Jane Humme

Q&A with Richard:
Q: What makes a bear special enough to join your extensive collection?
A: “Each bear has a story, a connection. Whether it’s a bear from Anne-Marie van Gelder or a special red bear from Julia, it’s about the personal touch and the happiness it brings.”

Richard Backschas: A Collector, Connector, and Teddy Bear Maker

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Teddy bears made by Richard.

Beyond being a collector, Richard Backschas wears multiple hats in the global teddy bear community. This teddy bear enthusiast is not only renowned for his 1700-strong collection but also for his craftsmanship as a teddy bear maker.

Richard’s influence reaches far beyond his personal collection. As a teddy bear maker since 1994, he has crafted over 2000 bears under his own label, Richland Bears.

His creative journey extends to the realm of literature, where he authored two bear-making books. “I also wrote two bear-making books. One sold out in a short time, and the second one I still have some left,” he mentions, highlighting his contribution to sharing the art and joy of teddy bear creation.

His impact extends beyond the crafting table to shaping trends and fostering connections worldwide. Richard Backschas is not just a collector; he is a passionate advocate, bringing people together through the shared love of teddy bears.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Richard Backschas’s book.

Whether it’s through his books, his meticulously crafted bears, or the connections he forges with fellow artists, Richard’s influence is a testament to the enduring power of the teddy bear community.

The Influence of Richard Backschas on Teddy Bear Collecting Trends

As a maestro in the symphony of teddy bear collecting, Richard Backschas has not only amassed an astounding 1700 bears but has also played a pivotal role in shaping trends within the global teddy bear community.

Reflecting on the changes in dynamics from the peak years of 1985 to 2000, Richard acknowledges the shifts but remains a steadfast advocate for keeping the art alive.

“From 1985 till 2000, it was the top years, and it all went down. Collectors grow and leave from collecting, and it’s an ending story if we don’t keep it alive”

Richard’s perspective extends beyond mere observation; it’s a call to action. Through his collection and active involvement in the community, he encourages fellow collectors and artists to adapt to the evolving landscape.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Richard Backschas’s teddy bear collection.

In the era of online shows, Richard shares his nuanced perspective.

“The online shows are okay, but if you have too many at one time, it’s no good.”

His wisdom echoes through the virtual halls of teddy bear exhibitions, reminding the community that quality, not quantity, fosters a sustainable collecting experience.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Bears by Julia Babich are in Richard’s collection.

Richard Backschas, with his extensive collection and keen observations, stands as a beacon in the ever-evolving landscape of teddy bear collecting.

His influence ripples through time, reflecting not only on the past glory of bear collecting but also illuminating a path forward, ensuring that the joy and wonder of teddy bear artistry continue to captivate hearts around the world.

The Ever-Growing Saga: Richard’s Ongoing Teddy Bear Chronicles

As the pages of Richard Backschas’s teddy bear chronicles unfold, the narrative continues to evolve with each new addition to his ever-growing collection. With over 1700 bears, the saga is a testament to his enduring passion.

Richard shares updates on the latest additions, weaving tales of red bears, artist collaborations, and cherished finds.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
New arrivals

In this ongoing tale, Richard invites fellow collectors and enthusiasts to join him on a journey where each bear is a cherished character, contributing to a narrative that transcends time.

“I have a few wish bears on my list, but they will be staying a dream as they are very expensive.”

Richard’s dreams and aspirations add a layer of anticipation to this ongoing saga, a testament to the limitless joy and desire that teddy bears bring to his life.

Q&A with Richard:

Q: What drives your goal to have the biggest red bear collection in the world?

A: Red bears have always held a special place in my heart. In 2022, I noticed I had many red bears and decided to focus on them. Each red bear is unique, and I aim to make my collection a vibrant tapestry of these special bears. It’s a personal quest, a way to bring joy to the bear world.

Q: Can you share a memorable story about acquiring a red bear for your collection?

A: Absolutely! During a big show in Germany, I couldn’t attend, but fellow enthusiasts sent me pictures. Late on a Saturday, I spotted a bear that captured my heart. I posted the picture on Facebook, asking for help to find the artist. Within hours, I identified the creator, contacted her, and secured the bear. It’s a testament to the incredible community and connections within the teddy bear world.

Conclusion: Embarking on a Timeless Journey with Teddy Bears

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Red bears from different artists.

As we conclude this enchanting expedition into the world of teddy bears through the eyes of Richard Backschas and his remarkable collection, the tale resonates as a testament to the enduring joy these fluffy companions bring to our lives.

From the early days in the Netherlands to the bustling teddy bear shows in Germany, the narrative unfolds like a cherished storybook, each bear representing a chapter of passion, connection, and boundless love.

Richard’s goal to have the biggest red bear collection in the world adds a vibrant hue to this ongoing saga. It’s not just about possession; it’s about weaving a tapestry of joy within the bear world.

His memorable encounter during a German show, shared through the lens of a captivating red bear, reflects the power of community and connections within the tight-knit teddy bear enthusiasts.

If you’re captivated by the world of teddy bears and wish to follow Richard’s ever-growing chronicles, join him on this journey of fluffy wonder and delight. Connect with Richard on his Facebook account for real-time updates, bear stories, and a vibrant community of fellow bear enthusiasts.

Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas
Bears from Jane Humme

Because in this world, where bears become companions, every story is worth sharing, and every bear is a cherished character in the ongoing tale of joy, love, and the timeless magic of teddy bears.

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4 thoughts on “Inside the World of Teddy Bear Collectors: 1700 Bears of Richard Backschas”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed delving into the world of teddy bear collecting through your article about Richard Backschas and his impressive collection of 1,700 bears! The passion and dedication he exhibits for these cherished toys is truly inspiring. Have you found a specific aspect or feature of teddy bears that draws collectors like Richard to them? Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by the history behind different bear designs and the emotional connection people form with these cuddly companions.

    The way Richard describes each bear having its own personality and story resonates deeply. It’s amazing how these bears can hold sentimental value and bring joy to collectors. Do you have a favorite teddy bear in your collection or one that holds a special memory for you? I have a childhood bear that’s weathered and worn but carries a wealth of sentimental value. Thank you for shedding light on this endearing world of teddy bear collecting!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the article about Richard Backschas and his incredible collection of 1,700 bears! It’s truly heartwarming to see the passion and dedication that collectors like him bring to the world of teddy bears.

      The special aspect that often draws collectors to teddy bears is the unique combination of nostalgia, craftsmanship, and the emotional connection people form with these cuddly companions. Each bear, as Richard describes, seems to have its own personality and story, making them more than just toys.

      As for my favorite teddy bear, I have a soft spot for one that I created early in my teddy bear artist journey. It holds sentimental value as it represents the beginning of my craft and the joy it has brought me over the years. It’s amazing how these bears can carry such emotional weight and bring joy to collectors of all ages.

  2. What a heartwarming journey into the world of teddy bear collecting! Hanna, your storytelling beautifully captures the passion of Richard Backschas, turning each bear into a cherished character. I’m really curious about the challenges in maintaining such an extensive collection. What does it take to keep all of them in good and pristine condition?

    • Thank you very much for your nice words! Keeping a collection of teddy bears can truly be a form of art. 😊 Regular cleaning is the key to keeping them in great shape. To get rid of dust, you usually use a soft brush or a gentle vacuum cleaner. A good solution is cabinets with glass doors. Additionally, keeping them away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures helps prevent fading or damage.

      But you know, the real secret is the love and care you put into it. Each bear has their own little story, and it’s this personal connection that helps them look cute and pristine. Do you have a favorite teddy bear in your collection? 🐻💖


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