Thursday, September 04, 2008

Postcard From The Museum Of Childhood Of "Gatti's Bear" or "The Titanic Teddy Bear".

This is a postcard photo from my Collection, of "Gatti's Bear" or "The Titanic Teddy Bear" from the Museum Of Childhood, Ribchester, Lancashire. This small, gold mohair bear, with a metal body, is believed to have been made in Germany by Gebruder Bing. In 1907, Paris, the little bear was purchased as a gift for Vittorio Gatti by his seafaring uncle. Vittorio loved the little bear, but the gift was considered too valuable for him to play with and it was kept as an ornament for display. In 1912, Vittorio's father, Gaspare Gatti, accepted a job as catering manager on the brand-new ocean liner, Titanic. Vittorio gave the bear to his father to take along on his voyage as a good luck mascot. He tucked it inside his tobacco pouch which he kept in a pocket in his coattails. On the night of April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an ice burg, tearing a gash along the side of the boat below the water line, allowing water to pour in, and in less than three hours, the boat disappeared into the ocean. Because there were not enough life boats for all the passengers and crew of the ship, many people were lost at sea. Gaspare Gatti was last seen standing on the deck, wearing his top hat, a small case in his hand and a traveling blanket over one arm. He did not survive the disaster and his body, along with others, were recovered from the sea and buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The few belongings that were recovered with his body were returned to his widow, Edith. Safely tucked inside his tobacco pouch was found the little bear, remarkably unharmed by his terrible ordeal. Edith kept the little bear with her for the rest of her life. Later, during World War Two, they were living in London when their home was destroyed by German Bombs. Luckily, the little brave bear managed to survive this ordeal also. When Edith died in 1962, the bear was returned to his original owner, her son Vittorio. Upon his death in 1974, the bear passed along to Vittorio's widow, Marjory. Then on April 14, 1990, exactly 78 years to the day after the Titanic went down, the bear was donated to the Museum Of Childhood where he quickly became the star of the museum. There he's been seen by people from all around the world, and they've learned his story. Two years later, the Merrythought soft-toy company in England produced 5,000 replicas of the little bear, each in a special presentation box telling his remarkable story. ~Lovethemsteiff~

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