A vintage Yes/No Nisbet bear made in 1988, complete with footlabel, seam label and swing tag. Nicknamed Nollie, he’s in original minty condition, and measures 31 cms (12″) tall.
Nollie’s tail-turning mechanism makes his head swivel from left to right, and also up and down. He’s fully-jointed and soft-stuffed, and has shiny black lock-in safety eyes. His nose and mouth are hand-embroidered, and he has cream velvet pads, plus black claws.
His red ribbon is attached to him, and he’s a very cute character, with pale yellow-gold distressed mohair.
Nisbet Bears, based in the West Country of England, are world-famous for their authenticity and quality. Their designs are entirely original, and teddies are mostly all made by hand so no two bears are exactly alike.
Yes/No bears were first introduced in 1921 by the creative genius and toymaker, Heinrich Muller, who worked as an apprentice with Gebruder Bing. He started his own company in 1912, and at the end of WW1 acquired a business partner. Together they produced a range of novelty toys under the tradename Schuco.
One of their most successful inventions was the Yes/No Bear – launched at the Leipzig Toy Fair. This teddy’s stumpy tail was actually a lever connected to a metal rod linked to the bear’s head. When the tail was moved from left to right, the bear shook his head. When it was moved up and down, he nodded. The bear was immediately loved by the public, and remained in production until the company closed down in 1976.
However, the Yes/No concept continues to keep bear collectors entertained around the world, thanks to teddy makers such as Nisbet Bears, helping to keep Mullers’ magical invention alive.