Tuxedo raffle celebrates Titanic

Historical Society to raffle ‘Polar, the Titanic Bear’ collectible toy and book

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  • Photos provided by the Tuxedo Historical Society The Spedden Family, who survived the Titanic disaster, seated at their Tuxedo Park home.

  • This image shows the cover of ìPolar, the Titanic Bearî book, the story of the recovery of a young boy's stuffed animal among the chaos of the sinking of the Titantic.

  • This Steiff Limited Edition ìPolarî bear will be among the Titanic-related items that the Tuxedo Historical Society will raffle to commemoriate the centennial of the sinking.

TUXEDO PARK — In recognition of the centennial of the sinking of HMS Titanic, the Tuxedo Historical Society will raffle a collectible “Polar, The Titanic Bear” produced by the Steiff company in Germany.

“Polar” has special significance for the Tuxedo community. Tuxedo Park residents Daisy and Frederic Spedden and their young son Douglas were aboard Titanic. On the night the ship sank, “Polar,” a beloved Steiff bear purchased at FAO Schwarz, was tucked under little Douglas’s arm as the Speddens were lowered down the side of Titanic into a life boat.

After the survivors were swung up the side of the rescue ship “Polar” was forgotten in the empty lifeboat until a sailor found him and returned him to Douglas.

In a 1913 manuscript intended as a Christmas gift for Douglas, Daisy Spedden told the story through the eyes of “Polar.” The original manuscript was found decades later by Leighton Coleman, a Spedden relative, in a trunk of family memorabilia about to be discarded.

In 1994, Coleman published the manuscript as a book, “Polar, The Titanic Bear,” which went on to win several awards for outstanding children’s literature.

The winner of the raffle will also receive a signed copy of the book which contains 64 full-color pages of watercolor illustrations, Spedden family photographs and postcards.

The Steiff bear is 12 inches tall (9 inches seated) and is an interpretation of the original bear. “Polar” is made of snow-white genuine mohair and wears a detailed sailor suit. He’s five-way jointed and every bit as charming as the original, which survived the tragedy 100 years ago.

To be raffled is one of the North American white tag limited edition; only 1,500 were produced. The bear comes in a Steiff gift box with a certificate of authenticity. It should be noted that the Steiff “Polar ” was produced as a collectible for adults not as a child’s toy.

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