Friday, October 24, 2014

What is Mohair Anyway?

Higher-end collectible teddy bears and friends are primarily made of mohair, but what is it exactly?

  • Mohair is shorn from the coats of Angora goats.  These goats were not introduced to the US until 1849.
  • The US is one of the two largest producing nations in the world which total two million pounds.
  • Most Angora goats are raised in Southwest Texas because of its perfect climate and terrain.
  • Mohair is considered an all-season fashion fiber.
  • Mohair fabric is:  wrinkle resistant, has a high affinity to absorb dyes, is moisture resistant, and extremely flame retardant.
  • Mohair can be hand washed and brushed.
  • Angora goats are shorn twice a year and the animals are not harmed when being shorn.

So, the next time you are admiring your mohair teddy bear, please appreciate what an Angora goat has contributed to making your collectible bear amazing!

Quote of the Day - "To unpathed waters, undreamed shores." - William Shakespeare

Friday, October 17, 2014

All About Your Alpaca Teddy Bear

Collectible teddy bears are usually made from either mohair, plush or alpaca.  Alpaca bears are amazingly soft and cuddly and it is usually made clear that they are made from alpaca fleece.

So what exactly is alpaca?

  • Alpaca wool is shorn from an Alpaca (which is a long-haired domesticated South American mammal related to the llama).
  • Alpaca can be light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun (very similar to how wool is spun).
  • Alpaca is warmer and softer than sheep's wool.
  • The Alpaca animal is a docile creature well-suited for a family pet.
  • Alpacas come in 22 natural colors, with more than 300 shades from a true black through brown-black, browns, fawns, white, silver-grey and rose-grey.
  • White is the predominant color.
  • Alpacas are raised in San Angelo, Texas, which has the perfect climate for these animals.
  • San Angelo, Texas, is the largest producer of alpaca in the US.

A teddy bear made from alpaca really stands out because of its incredible softness.  In fact, once an alpaca teddy is picked up, it is hard to put him down because he is so very cuddly.

Quote of the Day - "The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness.  Happiness is the goal of every other goal." - Deepak Chopra

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Some Things You Did Not Know About Hildegard Gunzel

Came across this online article taken from a blog by Dear Little Dollies regarding Hildegard Gunzel.  Some interesting facts were found about Hildegard that we were not aware of.

  • Hildegard was born in Tauberbishoffsheim, Germany
  • She was born in 1945 (right after the end of World War II)
  • Attended to German School for Fashion Design in Munchen
  • After graduation, she worked as a designer in the fashion and jewelry industry
  • In the 1970's she began making dolls as a hobby
  • Her first medium used for dolls was Cernit
  • Hildegard attended her first "International Toy Fair" in NYC in 1986 and her dolls were an instant sellout
  • Her dolls always have wigs made from human hair 

Quote of the Day - "Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration, and inspiration." - Evan Esar

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Have you experienced the magic of Department 56 Villages?

2014 marks the first year that Beacon's Glow Collectibles is "officially" carrying Department 56 Villages and accessories.

We were leery about taking the plunge to carry this line of collectibles as it is quite an investment from a retailer's point of view.  There are so many different Village Collections (to include Halloween) that it requires this company to publish a catalog that is 119 pages!  (And the catalog, for the most part, contains only villages and accessories that come from the current year).

Got our first official taste at how really versatile and amazing Dept 56 is when the owner of Beacon's Glow decided to put together a Halloween vignette using Department 56 Snow Village Halloween pieces.  We thought that the finished product turned out quite well, don't you?

Included in this vignette were:

Autumn Moss 4037201 (not even one bag)
Boneyard Luminaries 4038898 (these LED lights actually change colors!)

So very cool to display for your Halloween decorating!

Quote of the Day - "Storms make oaks take roots." - Proverb

Sunday, September 14, 2014

NEW Lower Prices on Many Collectible Brands

In addition to our already very competitive prices, we have lowered the price on many of the brands that we carry.

To help save our customers more money while shopping for a collectible either for themselves of as a gift, the following brands have been reduced in price even more.

Please also note that we will be reducing the overall pricing on Boyd's Bears as well in the near future.  We expect that this will occur after we are able to take a physical inventory of both prior and new inventory coming in.  (As most of you might already know, Boyd's by Enesco is closing their doors at the end of 2014).

Thanks for your continued support!  After almost being in business for 11 years, it is you, our customer, who is the most important!

Quote of the Day - "If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius." - Joseph Addison

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Huge Disappointment in Boyd's by Enesco

This morning we received an email from Enesco (current distributor of Boyd's Bears) informing us that more than 75% of our backorders were being cancelled.  We were shocked and extremely disappointed, once again, in how unprofessional Enesco has handled this situation.

As hopefully most of you know, Boyd's Bears is closing their doors at the end of 2014.

There are currently 18 items that we have on backorder (and that are supposed to be delivered in the next several weeks).

This news has greatly disappointed several loyal Boyd's collectors and we can certainly see why.  We had no idea that this cancellation was going to take place and it was handled poorly.

But, on a more positive note, many of our loyal Boyd's customers over the years are switching to either Bearington Bears or Steiff Bears.

We are sorry to say that once our stock of Boyd's is sold, they can never be reordered again.

Quote of the Day - "Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." - Abraham Lincoln

Friday, September 5, 2014

Big Changes at Madame Alexander Dolls

Just received in our Fall 2014 Madame Alexander Doll Catalog and have noticed quite a change since last year's catalog.  The Alexander Doll Company is now predominately gearing their dolls towards children and babies with their 18 inch dolls, baby dolls, and just recently their introduction of hand puppets. (Their baby dolls do not include either collectible Pussycat or Huggums baby dolls either).

There are only a small handful of 8-inch Wendy and 12-inch Cissette dolls in this collection, and even some of those dolls have been brought back from previous years.  Clara, The Nutcracker is one of these dolls. This will be the third year she was brought back as she was a very popular doll.

Very disappointing as it appears that this company is now targeting a different generation.  And it also seems that most baby boomers have become more selective in their collectible doll choices, and therefore, are not ordering as many Madame Alexander dolls as they used to.

Isn't it interesting that most children of baby boomers have no desire to collect dolls or teddy bears? We get several customers hoping that their grandchildren will develop a passion for collecting like their grandparents have.  We can only hope that this will happen.

In conclusion, it is our hope that the Alexander Doll Company will continue to survive with their new mix of products.  But for the meantime, their offerings do not suit our customer base, and therefore, we will discontinue ordering any new dolls at this time.  Of course, this can change in the future and we hope that it will.

Please stay tuned as we introduce new sales on our existing stock of Madame Alexander Dolls.

Quote of the Day - "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." - Babe Ruth

Friday, August 22, 2014

Swarovski Crystal Figurines to Be Arriving in Mid-September

Beacon's Glow Collectibles is absolutely thrilled to become an authorized Swarovski retailer.  We are expecting our first shipment of crystal holiday figurines and ornaments towards the middle to end of September.

Swarovski, an Austrian company, has been creating dazzling precision-cut crystal for fashion, collectibles, jewelry and lighting since 1895.  Its founder, Danial Swarovski,  had the foresight to continually expand his company by exploring new realms and always kept his company run by family members.  Today it is still family-owned and is now run by 5th generation family members.

We are pleased to carry the 2014 Holiday lineup of crystal figurines and Christmas ornaments which is comprised of several pieces limited strictly to production in the year 2014.

Additionally, we hope to continue offering our customers other Swarovski figurines and holiday items in the future  A Swarovski figurine is truly a sight to behold and will certainly be a treasured heirloom for years to come.

Quote of the Day - "There is only one success - to be able to spend you life in your own way." - Christopher Morley

Friday, August 15, 2014

Boyd's Bears Closing Their Doors December 31, 2014

We were saddened to hear that Boyd's Bears announced today that they are closing their doors effective December 31, 2014.  If there are any collectible plush or resin that you might be interested in, please contact us and we will do our best to track them down for you before the deadline approaches.

A copy of their press release dated August 15, 2014 -
Important News - August 15, 2014
Dear Friend of Boyds,
In 2008, Enesco® purchased one of the leading plush and figurine brands in the industry, Boyds® Bears. Its reputation for excellence in the gift market had been well established by you in your support and devotion to Boyds. From the upscale materials used for the hand-cut fur in varying colors on each bear, the design of the muzzle and overall face, the apparel grade fabrics used in outfitting the bears, to the technology in their jointed bodies, Boyds Bears symbolized a recognized look and renowned quality to loyal fans and collectors.
Enesco carried that mission even further by updating the costuming, introducing on-trend themes and launching innovative new formats such as Cuddle-Bums™ to the collection. Along each step of the way, it was your dedication to the well-appointed plush collection, Treasure Boxes, Bearstone figurines, and our Friends of Boyds® Collectors Club, which made our job in bringing Boyds to market so rewarding.
Due to the rising cost of manufacturing and materials, and the labor intensity required to deliver this award winning collection, it has become much more difficult to develop this beloved brand to the standards you deserve. This is true not only in plush, but also in the figurine collection, based on the level of detail required for Treasure Boxes and Bearstone figurines.
Sacrificing quality, detail or workmanship of this beautiful brand is not even a remote consideration, so we’ve made the difficult strategic decision to place Boyds into hibernation effective December 31, 2014.
Will Boyds re-emerge at a later date? It is a possibility, but for now it deserves the respect of a well earned “rest.” In 2015, Snowpinions™ Plush will move to Department 56 to join the Snowpinions brand.
We thank you for your many years of loyalty and devotion to the Boyds brand, whether it has been bringing it into your home, or bestowing it as a gift to someone very special. We encourage you to take advantage of the next few months to search for all of your Boyds favorites in retail stores while they are still available. You may use our retailer locator function on to find those last must-have bears that you simply want to add to your collection.
It’s never easy to say farewell. We can assure you that we are going to miss you as much as you will miss Boyds.

Your Friends at Boyds 
Quote of the Day - "It is hard to fail, bit it is worse never to have tried to succeed." - Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How to Identify your Teddy Bear

Steiff "Button in Ear" Tags
Not sure whether or not you might have a Steiff Bear?  (Steiff Bears, in my opinion, are currently one of the few collectibles that either holds or increases in value).  Auction sites sell older Steiff teddy bears for values in great excess from their original prices.

To identify whether or not you might have a Steiff, take a look at the following 3 things:

1.  Chest Tag
2.  Button In Ear
3.  Ear Tag

A bit about each of the previously mentioned items:

1.  Chest Tags - Steiff chest tags are made of paper and are always circular in shape.  Unfortunately, this is the first item on a Steiff item that is lost or misplaced.  The chest tags on both these teddy bears and animals have changed often over the years.

2.  Button in Ear - this is considered the most famous of the Steiff animal identifiers, and they have also changed dramatically over the years.  (Your teddy bear or animal might have a visible hole in his right ear which could signify that he is in fact, a Steiff).  Steiff occasionally uses an old-fashioned button in ear on one of their replica pieces.

Taken from an excellent article on here is their listing of various button types over the years.
Years in Use
Button Size
Silver toned button with elephant
Blank button
1908 - 1927
Nickel and Iron button with word Steiff on it
1925 - 1934/35
Iron and nickel plated button with word Steiff
1933/34 - 1943
Brass button with word Steiff
1948 - 1950
Grey-blue Lacquered Blank Button
1948 - 1950
Blank Nickel Button
1950 - 1952
Button with word Steiff
Nickel Button with Steiff in Script
1960 - 1972
Nickel Button with Steiff in Script
1967 - 1977
Nickel Button in Form of Hollow Rivet with word Steiff in Script
1969 - 1977
Nickel Button with Small Steiff Lettering, inset instead of raised
1977 - 1982
Brass Button with Steiff in Script, Recessed Letters
1982 - 1999
Brass Button with Steiff in Script, Slightly Rounded
2000 - Present
Same as above but with more modern rivet fixture on the back
Replica Pieces have a special gold-plated button with original elephant design

3.  Ear Tag - This is the actual tag attached to the button in ear which distinguishes each and every Steiff teddy bear or animal.  An EAN (European Article Number) is contained on each tag.  This numbering system has been used exclusively by Steiff since 1905.  Incidentally, limited edition tags (North American Exclusives, Worldwide Limited Editions, and Replicas) include the edition number the the total size of the limited edition itself.

Quote of the Day - "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." - Napoleon Hill

Friday, August 1, 2014

5 Things You Did Not Know About Charlie Bears

Soo Lee Panda by Charlie Bears
We love learning more about the history of Charlie Bears and interesting facts.  Here is hoping that you will find these 5 tidbits of interest:

1.  Tickly Toes on a Charlie Bear refer to their foot paws when the stitching reveals their pronounced toes as well as a padded foot pad.

2.  Once a Charlie Bear is retired, he (or she) never comes out of retirement.

3.  Each Charlie Bear is handmade and therefore, has his or her individual character.  In other words, no two are alike.  (That is why we here at Beacon's Glow Collectibles have absolutely no problem with emailing collectors photos of bears).

4.  Currently the back-order for these collectable bears is 30 weeks.  (This is greatly improved as at one time it was a 62 week back-order!)

5.  Most Charlie Bears are purposely made with floppy jointing in their head, arms, and legs.  This is to done to give each bear more personality as well as the ability to pose them.

Quote of the Day - "Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness." - George Santayana

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Charlie Bears on QVC UK This Week

Just finished watching the first of four Charlie Bear shows on QVC UK.  We were hoping to see Charlie (Charlotte Morris) join her husband, Will, but unfortunately it never happened.  Keeping our fingers crossed that she will make an appearance on one of their upcoming shows.  We just love watching Will but Charlie brings an additional perspective to the creation of these incredible collectible teddy bears. Do they make a terrific couple or what?

William made many comments that we feel are worth sharing to further embrace the Charlie Bears brand:

  1. 2015 will mark Charlie Bears tenth anniversary.
  2. For those of you who are not familiar with the term "Plumo", this is a Charlie Bears-specific phrase when referring to a teddy bear who has mohair on both his ears and face, and the rest of him is plush material.
  3. It was fun to learn some Christmas meal favorites from the UK which are definitely different than those traditional fixings here in the US (i.e., parsnip, mince pie, and brussel sprouts).
  4. The Charlie Bears "Best Friends Club" now boasts more than 4000 members worldwide.
  5. Charlie Bears tends to stay away from creating Christmas themed bears as they feel that these wonderful teddybears should be out on display all year.
  6. All Charlie Bear Bearhouse bears (which are non-jointed bears and animals) are made of plush and are named after famous castles and landmarks. (Drogo (pictured above) was a Bearhouse animal presented on the show).
  7. Mohair bears are intended for the discerning collector 14 years old and above, and are considered adult collectibles.
  8. Mrs. Lovely was named after Will's sister.  (She actually works for Charlie Bears in sales and marketing in Europe).
  9. The term 'tickly toes' refers to a bear paw pad that has stitching for the toes that is quite obvious.
  10. Many times Charlie Bears get their names from Charlie Bear collectors. (On this show, Rowena was presented and she was named after a collector).  An adorable bear by the way!
  11. Charlie Bears never come out of retirement.  Once they are retired, that is it.  (On occasion, Will did mention that they will bring back a smaller version but this is not commonplace).
Absolutely loved the Brussel bear that was presented during this show.  His face was just amazing!

Please watch the QVC schedule to see when Charlie Bears will once again present on QVC UK.  (In Texas, there is a 6 hour difference from the UK.  So for example if the show is on 2-3 pm UK time, it would be 8 am CST).

Quote of the Day - "Everyone has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases." - Jeremy Collier

Monday, July 21, 2014

Charlie of Charlie Bears is Back! :)

We are looking forward to seeing both Charlie and Will  Morris (founders of Charlie Bears) this Thursday, July 24th on QVC UK.  The show will start at 8:00 AM Central Standard Time (CST).

It is our understanding that this will be the first time since her illness that Charlotte Morris has appeared together with her husband on the QVC shopping network. They are always such a joy to watch.  And the UK QVC hosts animate the bears a bit which is a pleasant change from watching QVC here in the US.

We expect that they will both be introducing many of their 2014 Plush Bears but hope that they will also showcase some of their mohair and alpaca bears from 2013 that have not shipped at this writing.  Still patiently waiting for both Aphrodite and Cupid.  There is no doubt in our mind that these two alpaca collectible bears will be absolutely stunning in real life.

We would highly recommend tuning in to see this adorable couple this Thursday on QVC UK!

Quote of the Day - "Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Blast From the Past - How Things Have Changed!

Chloe - Dolls by Pauline
Was in the process of cleaning out some extraneous computer files, and came across a News Release way back from November 2004.  At that time, Beacon's Glow Collectibles carried 12 unique lines of collectible dolls and teddy bears with 800 different products.

So, do any of these lines from the past ring a bell?

  • Jan McLean Dolls
  • Ginny Dolls by Vogue
  • Precious Moments Dolls
  • Linda Rick Dolls
  • Susan Wakeen Dolls (very popular at that time)
  • Doll by Pauline (our best selling line back in 2004)
  • Annette Funicello Bears
  • Ganz Cottage Collectibles
  • Lang Primitive Candles

There is a story to be told as to why we stopped carrying each of these lines.  Many of these manufacturers are non-existent at this time unfortunately.  (We did read the other day that Lang is bringing back their candles which is good news). They discontinued carrying candles many years ago. But the main reason that we stopped carrying them was that it was difficult to successfully ship candles in the summer months.  They melted before they left Texas.

Anyway, we hope that you still have some of these wonderful dolls or teddy bears from the past in your collections.

Currently we carry 19 different lines and have more than 3000 different items to offer consumers.  Times sure have changed in 10 years!

Quote of the Day - "Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible." - Dalai Lama

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2014 Steiff Bears Fall Line

Franz Teddy Bear by Steiff EAN 034060

The official launch date to introduce the up and coming 2014 Steiff Fall line was July 1st.  We have to say that this collection is amazing!  There are so many incredible teddy bears and animals that it makes it so hard to choose a favorite.

And all of the North American Exclusives, Replicas, and Worldwide Limited Editions come with a very special 'Button in Ear' tag.  In 1904 the founder, Margarete Steiff, officially registered the "Button in Ear".  This memorable event is now commemorated with an ear tag that contains the very same elephant motif that was used more than 110 years ago.

 A bit about this fantastic collection directly from Steiff:

"There's a new parade of novelties headed your way for fall and holiday 2014. Leading the procession is Lukas, the drummer boy, with his little tin drum. In his smart white mohair coat, he sets the pace for a cast of characters that's sure to bring joy to collectors everwhere. There are rare treasures, unique replicas, and lovable animals in store for everyone.

 Fall marks the return of the coveted Margarete Steiff edition. This black-tag series represents the very best of Steiff design and craftsmanship. Each piece is meticulously handmade by our most skilled artisans and produced in strictly low quantities. This special edition pays tribute to Franz Steiff who developed the famous "Button in Ear" trademark exactly 110 years ago. The bear comes with a copy of the original button patent and a sealing wax kit.

 The collection also includes characters designed to help collectors celebrate the upcoming holiday season. There's a musical bear that plays "Last Christmas," a little girl Teddy in a snowflake gown, and a pair of festive ornaments.

 Plus, there are plenty of ideas for gift-giving. Wouldn't Teddy with Matryoshka make a wonderful Christmas surprise? And who wouldn't appreciate the gift of adventure with our Marco and Niccolo Teddy bears?

 Naturally, you'll also find new exclusives for the North American audience. The ever-popular series of bears with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS continues with "Rudy," a fresh, new pink bear. The next "Wizard of Oz" edition is the Scarecrow, officially licensed by Warner Brothers.  

 Replicas also have their place in the festivities. There's a 1908 Teddy that looks amazingly like a vintage bear. And leading the tail end of the parade? A donkey replica on wheels from 1929, complete with squeaker."

Please stay tuned as we expect that these gems will start shipping in late Fall.

Quote of the Day -  "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." - CS Lewis

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Your Mohair Teddy Bear - So What Exactly is Mohair?

An Adorable Pair of Charlie Bear Mohair Kitty Cats
A lot of people do not realize that the mohair that their teddy bear is made from comes from the fleece of the Angora mohair goat.  Angora goats are shorn in the same way that sheep are shorn for their wool.

So where did Angora goats originate from?  Angora goats took their name from the ancient Turkish city of Ankara, which was very close to where they originated. The Turks thought so highly of these special goats that none left the country until the sixteenth century. The first exports landed in Spain and France, but Angoras didn't reach American shores until 1849. The most valuable characteristic of the Angora, as compared to other goats is the value of the mohair that is clipped. The average goat in the U.S. shears approximately 5.3 pounds of mohair per shearing and are usually sheared twice a year – once in the spring and once again in the early fall.
The United States has developed into one of the two largest producing nations of mohair in the world with an annual production in excess of 2.4 million pounds. This was all due to the initial importation of a small flock of seven does and two bucks in 1849.  The other two principal sources of mohair are South Africa and Turkey. Texas, with a herd of 220,000 goats is the primary mohair region of the United States. The main region is on Edwards Plateau in Southwest Texas, where the mild dry climate and hilly, brushy terrain are particularly well suited for raising Angora goats due to their dry mountain origin.  (The town that is well-known for their mohair production is San Angelo, Texas).  In fact, if you would like to read more, the "Mohair Council of America" located in San Angelo has additional information to read.It is a well-known fact that Angora goats produce the best mohair in hot areas with low rainfall, which explains why Texas is well-suited for raising Angora goats. 
Mohair fleece has always been the superior fabric for making teddy bears. There are many reasons for this:  1) mohair has an incredible luster to it, and dyed mohair resists fading caused by time and the elements and is very hard wearing; 2) mohair is almost non-flammable; 3) mohair is considered the most durable animal fiber; 4) the natural fibers from mohair have the ability to absorb and release atmospheric moisture; 5) mohair is characteristically resistant to soiling; and 6) mohair possesses great tensile strength.  Diameter to diameter it is stronger than steel!

All in all, collectible teddy bears made from mohair tend to cost more than bears made from plush and they also tend to hold their value as well.  

Quote of the Day - "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Introducing Silver Tag Bears from the UK

We are now carrying Silver Tag Bears by Suki, a UK company.  Do you recall the teddy bear manufacturer, Russ Berrie?  These were very popular collectible teddy bears in the past but it appears that this company could not survive the Great Recession.

A company named Suki Gifts International, based in Hampshire, United Kingdom, bought out this company and is now producing a new line of collectible bears named Silver Tag Bears.

Already very popular in both Europe and Australia, we were very fortunate to be the first US retailer of these adorable teddy bears.

Each teddie is exclusively designed in the UK and has the classic bear hump on its back.  Each is fully jointed and is given a nice weight by adding beans.

So far there have been two Collections of Silver Tag Bears released and a third is planned to be debuted in September 2014.  Each of these collections consists of 6 teddybears that is limited to 1500 pieces per each bear.

Additionally, each teddy is made from a multi-tonal plush fabric and comes with their own carrying box and logo tissue paper.  And each is reasonably priced.

Please check out these new bears if you get the opportunity.  We expect that they will gain in popularity just as Charlie Bears from the UK did.

Quote of the Day - "Play for more than you can afford to lose and you will learn the game". - Winston Churchill

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Department 56 Village Replacement Parts

A key determining factor when deciding whether or not to carry Department 56 Villages and accessories was the plethora of calls we had received requesting information on how to acquire a replacement cord or adapter for a retired D56 village or accessory.

We were frustrated in that we could not assist the customer.  So we decided to try becoming more knowledgeable about Dept 56 replacement parts.

In order to track down a required adapter, replacement cord, or light bulb we are now able to directly contact a Dept 56 representative who handles this specific subject.  She has nicknamed herself "Ms Lit Town" and has a massive database to refer to when trying to track down a retired piece. She told us that there are over 200 power cords alone and her database consists of more than 5000 pieces to include both Villages and accessories.  (I had inquired about a replacement cord for a 2001 piece and she quickly came up with the name and SKU number for it).

Some of these replacement parts can be ordered by us through Enesco (which distributes Department 56 products) or through Ms Lit Town for older pieces.

So, if you are in need of any type of replacement part for your Department 56 Villages, please do not hesitate to contact us at  We will try our best to track down and order that part for you.

By the way, there are some amazing Department 56 collectible figurines and villages that have been introduced for 2014.  Please take a look!

Quote of the Day - "Life isn't about getting and having, it's about giving and being." - Kevin Kruse

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Snowbabies by Department 56 and A Resurgence in Fisher Price Toys

As is the case with many things, history repeats itself. That can be said with the resurgence of popularity with Fisher Price Toys for babies.  For most Americans, either they have fond memories of owning a Fisher Price toy when they were a baby; or buying one for their children; and even of buying of one these nostalgic play toys for their grandchildren.  Whatever the case might be, Fisher Price toys have remained popular for many years.

Fisher Price has been in business for more than 75 years, which is quite an accomplishment in itself.  This company has become one of the world's largest and most trusted name in preschool toys.  It has been said that the three entrepreneurs that founded this company (Herm Fisher, Irving Price, and Helen Schelle) were definitely in touch with their "inner child".

Kristi Jensen Pierro, creator of Snowbabies by Department 56, realized the monumental staying power of Fisher Price Toys and has introduced a Guest line of Snowbabies that incorporate several of these cherished toys along with her Snowbabies.

Included in this year's collection are:
1.  Chatter Baby which showcases the Fisher Price telephone
2.  Rock-A-Stack Baby which features the colorful FP stacking toy

3.  Pull-A-Tune which includes the Fisher Price xylophone
Please trust us in that the real thing is even cuter than the stock images.

Quote of the Day - "I had always imagine paradise as a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Made in Germany - Heart and Soul Dolls by Sonja Hartmann

Aletta Heart and Soul Doll (Dark Brown with Blue eyes)
Sonja Hartmann, German doll artist, has created quite a following in the US with her Heart and Soul Dolls (aka Kidz n Cat Dolls).  At the current time, her most popular doll is Aletta.  This very special limited edition doll follows the same format as last year's doll, Henriette.  There were only 300 Aletta dolls created worldwide and both her hair and eye color is customized.  In other words, there are 9 possible combination with eye color choices of blue, brown, and grey-green.  And hair color choices of either blonde, brown, or dark brown.  In addition to purchasing Aletta, a very pretty limited edition white party dress can also be purchased with this doll.

Each Heart and Soul doll stands 18 inches tall and is articulated (which means that they can be posed in numerous ways).  Sonja Hartmann, the amazing German doll artist who creates these dolls, has been creating Kidz n Cats dolls since 2009.  In the beginning there were issues in getting the dolls distributed in the US so Madame Alexander Dolls carried Sonja's dolls.  At this time, the Heart and Soul Dolls were made in China which was very disappointing.  Anyway, this lasted only a couple of years as the Alexander Doll Company was fairly recently bought out by a PA company named Kahn-Lucas.

We were so pleased to discover that Sonja had decided to continue with her collectible dolls and that they are now made in Germany (and it is proudly displayed on each and every doll box).  Definitely great news for any doll collector. . .

Each Heart and Soul doll has a German look to her with delicate facial features and unique outfits and accessories.  A stuffed plush kitty cat pretty much comes standard with each Kidz n Cat doll.

A must have doll to add to any doll collection.

Quote of the Day - "All true love is founded on esteem." - George Buckingham

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Boo, The World's Cutest Dog by GUND

GUND's version of Boo, the World's Cutest Dog, has finally arrived and he is awful cute. He stands 8 inches tall and he is a spitting image of the real thing. This cute plush animal has already won a TOBY (Teddy Bear of the Year) Award.  He is very reasonably priced as well.

So what are some specifics on Boo?  He is a Pomeranian and is 8 years old as of this writing.  His birthday is March 16th, 2006.  Needless to say, this little Pom is very photogenic and has the sweetest facial expressions.

Currently this Internet sensation has a very popular Facebook page (with over 12 million Likes) and he is also the subject of two books.

According to Wikipedia - "Boo belongs to a San Francisco based Facebook employee who created a Facebook page for the dog with a statement "My name is Boo.  I am a dog.  Life is good." Followers include singer Ke$ha and Khloe Kardashian.

Penned "the cutest dog on the planet" this charismatic little pooch, is now the "spokesdog" for Virgin Airlines.  He provides travelers with advice for people travelling with pets.

He can oftentimes be spotted hanging out with his best friend, Buddy, who is also a Pomeranian.

Quote of the Day - "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." - Milton Berle

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Here at Last - Grumpy Cat by GUND

GUND version of Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat has finally entered the building!  After several months of waiting, we are pleased to announce that the GUND rendition of Grumpy Cat is now in stock and available to order.

She was featured in a recent Teddy Bear and Friends magazine, and since 2012 this sulky feline has been quite popular with both online and offline followers.

Even Woman's Day magazine has featured a story on her.  Taken from their article here are some interesting facts about Grumpy Cat.  She was initially named Tarder Sauce but quickly became known as Grumpy Cat.  She is 2 years old and resides in Arizona with her owner, Tabatha Bundeson.

Today her face is everywhere - from clothing to the cover of New York magazine.  This sourpuss even has a movie in the works!  (Now that will be interesting to see. . . )  But in real life, Tardar Sauce is far from grumpy.  She is very loving and the complete opposite of what her face says.

Grumpy Cat was born with a condition called feline dwarfism.  This is the reason for her grumpy look.  She has already raised awareness for special needs animals and part of all of her merchandise profits goes to no kill shelters in both Arizona and across the country.

Quote of the Day - "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." - Thomas A. Edison

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Bit About Tatty Teddy from the UK

Had heard about Tatty Teddy from the UK quite some time ago as a very sweet UK customer of ours does Tatty Teddy cross-stitch kits.  So I decided to research the background behind this cute little character from England.

Created initially in 1987 by English cartoonist and illustrator Michael Payne, these adorable little teddy bears with the classic blue noses went into production by the Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd Company.  (These Tatty Teddy bears are also known to some as Me to You Bears).

Mr. Payne recently left  his position as Tatty Teddy illustrator at Carte Blanche Greetings.  He is know drawn by a team of three very talented artists:  Steve Mort-Hill, Ceri Lewis, and Tom Barnfield.

In 2001 the US company, Douglas Company, received the rights and license to sell the brand in the US and Canada.

Currently the Tatty Teddy line includes plush toys, figurines, cards, coffee mugs, wedding accessories, and cross stitch kits as mentioned previously.

Tatty Teddys have quite a worldwide following and there exists annual Tatty Teddy national collectors events.  On occasion there have been produced several special and limited edition bears which in turn enhances the collectible nature of these teddybears.

In 2008, Carte Blanche Greetings introduced an additional line called "My Blue Nose Friends" which consisted of other animals created in the same style of Tatty Teddy.  Their plush is a different color than the traditional grey of Tatty Teddy but each one has the dark eyes in close proximity to each other, and the classic light blue nose.

It is very understandable why these adorable little teddy bears are popular in the UK.  So now whenever you see a little grey bear with blue nose you can identify him as a "Tatty Teddy" who originated in England!

Quote of the Day - "The palest ink is better than the best memory." - Chinese Proverb

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Madame Alexander Dolls Classification and Identification

The Alexander Doll Company has quite a history.  Founded way back in 1923 by the illustrious Madame Beatrice Alexander, this is one of the few doll companies that has withstood the test of time since its inception over 90 years ago.

So, how is your Madame Alexander doll classified and identified?  We will provide you with a high level overview in hopes that it will prove informative and useful.

Take from the "Madame Alexander Dolls Buying Guide", it is important to first and foremost classify your collectible Madame Alexander Doll.  The determinant here is her age.



Antique Madame Alexander dolls
Generally, Madame Alexander dolls made before the 1930s are considered to be antiques.
Collectible Madame Alexander dolls
The word collectible can refer to many different things, but collectible Madame Alexander dolls are those that were made more than 25 but less than 75 years ago.
Modern Madame Alexander dolls
Dolls made within the last 25 years are considered to be modern Madame Alexander dolls.
Contemporary Madame Alexander dolls
Any dolls in current production are considered to be contemporary dolls.
After determining which category your collectible doll falls into, it is then best to identify the doll. Throughout the Alexander Doll Company's history, there have been many distinctive face sculpts to create a myriad of dolls.

They are as follows: (taken from the 2004 Madame Alexander Catalog)

Name Timeframe
Cissy 1955-present
Elise 1957-present
Cissette 1957-present
Maggie 1960-1961 (reintroduced 1997)
Huggums 1963-present
Pussycat 1965-present
Victoria 1966-present
Rusty 1967-present
Alexandra Fairchild Ford 2000-present
Paris Williams 2001-present
Petite Wendy 2001-present
Hannah Pepper 2002-present
Jadde Lee 2002-present
Isabelle 2002-present
Wendy Woodkin 2003-present
Sofia Cruz 2004
Olivia 2001-present
One of the first set of collectible dolls based on real people were the famous Dionne Quintuplets (pictured above) way back in 1936.  This introduction was the ultimate in setting a trend in duplicating famous people.

If you have any questions about your Madame Alexander Doll, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Quote of the Day - "Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it." - J. Petit Senn

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Beacon's Glow Collectibles Now Supports Hats 4 Hope for Preemie Babies

We are pleased to announce that Brenda, Owner of Beacon's Glow Collectibles, is supporting the Hats 4 Hope organization located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This non-profit organization was founded by Suzy Luff back in 2008 when she was only 14 years old.  Currently 5,200 hats have been created and donated to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Colorado Springs Memorial Hospital.  These preemie hats benefit both the premature babies as well as the parents.

Suzy was recently featured on a "Making a Difference" episode on MSNBC Nightly News.  She has continued her passion to help preemie babies and currently has over 125 volunteers donating their time and effort in making hats for these little babies.  As Suzy has stated "The goal of this organization is to bring a little happiness, joy, and color to a hard time in a family's life."

Preemies, categorized as being born before 37 weeks, can only wear a diaper and hat while they reside in a hospital's intensive care unit.  Covering the baby's head helps keep them warm and warm hats are not supplied by hospitals.  Premature babies cannot keep themselves warm when born before 37 weeks because they do not have any stores of body fat. Their little heads lose so much heat and a hat really helps eliminate this problem.

We are asking friends, family, and customers to donate any surplus yarn** they might have sitting around their homes.  Yarn donations can be sent to:  
Beacon's Glow Collectibles
ATTN:  Brenda
217 Settlers Valley Drive
Pflugerville, TX 78660

* Please do not send any yarn that has a high content of wool as we sure would not want to irritate these tiny babies in any way.

And Brenda will be including an optional donation of $1.00 upon checkout that will be put towards the cost of yarn.  She has already sent one shipment of preemie hats to Suzy of Hats 4 Hope and plans to send many more in the future. This will ultimately spread Suzy's love and generosity.

Quote of the Day - "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." - Napoleon Hill

Friday, March 28, 2014

How Do I Find Out What My Collectible Teddy Bear or Doll is Worth?

This question is asked of us on at least a weekly basis.  So, where would one begin to find the value of a collectible doll or teddy bear?

There are lots of books written out there that will tell you the approximate value of an item, but keep in mind that these are not updated on a regular basis.  And also please keep in mind that these are estimates and the collectible market is constantly changing in regards to what is popular at the time.  One truly cannot value their collection at X amount of dollars as that is an estimate and sometimes the value will change dramatically when you actually go to sell your collection.

Some books that we recommend checking are:

Boyd's Bears - 

Boyd's Tracker, 2nd edition, 2004
The Boyds Collection Collector's Value Guide 2001

(Unfortunately, no recent Boyd's value books have been published.)

Madame Alexander Dolls - 

There are several Madame Alexander Doll price guides available for purchase.  The latest guide we found was published in 2009.

Steiff Bears - 

Many Steiff price guides can also be found but the latest guide we found in publication was from 2003.

Department 56 Villages and Snowbabies by Department 56 - 

Several guides were available for both Department 56 Villages as well as Snowbabies by Dept 56. We were very pleased to find that a recent guide from 2010 was available.

Charlie Bears - 

Since Charlie Bears is a relatively new company (founded in 2005) there is no value guide available at this time but the founders of Charlie Bears, Charlotte and William Morris, have written a book.  Titled "Love, Dreams and Bears", this book chronicles the first 5 years of the company and contains all teddy bears created in the first five years.

In addition, once in a while, you can find some beneficial information written by sellers on eBay who are avid collectors themselves.

Another excellent way to determine what your collectible is worth is to write in to either "Teddy Bear and Friends" magazine or "DOLLS" magazine.

In the past, Ken Yenke, teddy bear historian, museum curater, and appraiser asked collectors to send him photos and descriptions to him in care of Teddy Bear and Friends magazine.  Unfortunately, we were saddened to find that Ken recently passed away so we would assume that teddy bear appraisals will be unavailable for quite some time.  That is, until a replacement is found to try and fill his shoes.

For DOLLS magazine, collectors can send in their questions regarding doll identification and a current appraisal to:  Curious Collector, c/o DOLLS, PO Box 5000, Iola, WI 54945.  Photos should be included for each vintage and modern doll query.

Hope that you find this information helpful, and good luck with finding the information you desire!

Quote of the Day - "Imagination is more important than knowledge". - Albert Einstein