Dean’s Rag Book

Founded on August 5, 1903 by Henry Samuel Dean. Dean’s was first famous for their printed, cut-out cloths for making your own toys (1908).
Dean’s made his first bear in 1915 in the ‘Elephant and Castle’-factory in London. Around 1922-1923 Dean’s registered the trademark ‘A1 Toys’, a loose triangle shaped piece of cardboard.

From 1937 till 1955, the Dean’s bears were made in a new, specially build factory in Merton in Surrey. Bears without joins, with clothes that made up the body, were made from the 1930’s, but were still popular till after the 2nd Word War. In the 1950’s, Dean’s was known for his velvet toys.

The ’60 and ’70 brought many changes to Dean’s Rag Book Co. Ltd. The factory in Rye in Sussex stayed the main production plant and was extended in 1961. The company used the Childsplay Toys-trademark till 1965, when Childsplay Ltd. became Dean Childsplay Toys Ltd. Dean Childsplay Toys Ltd. is a branch of Dean’s Rag Book. From that time the famous logo with the two fighting dogs is dropped.
Two years after the takeover of Gwentoys, in 1974, a part of the Rye factory moved to Pontypool in South-Wales. The factory in Rye was closed in 1980. After the takeover of Gwentoys in 1972, Dean’s kept making the Gwentoy bears. This part of the Dean’s Gwentoy Group was specialized in cheaper bears, which were sold directly to big stores and mail order companies.

After the takeover in 1986 by Plaintalk, importer of toys and gifts, the Dean’s Company Ltd. was founded. In 1987 the company was forced into bankruptcy, but one of the managers bought the company and started a new Dean company on March 7, 1988. In 1990 Neil Miller bought the trademarks and logo of Dean’s Rag Book Co. Ltd.


[1] – [2] – [3] – [4]

[5] – [6] – [7] – [8]

Around 1922-1923 Dean’s registered the ‘A1 Toys’ trademark (a loose triangle shaped piece of cardboard).

The famous Dean’s label: a bulldog and a terrier, fighting for a piece of cloth [4, 7, 8]. A reference to the durability of the Dean’s toys. The famous trademark of Dean’s refers to the durability of Dean’s famous linen picture books. Which were made ‘for children who wear the food and eat there clothes’ and shows that they can even resist two fighting dogs.

From the early ’20 till 1955 the trademark with the fighting dogs was used [5]. From 1956 the Childsplay Toys-label was used [4], after the move to Rye. On the Dean’s bears from 1972 till 1982 label [3] was used. From 1982 till 1986 Dean’s used the ‘Dean’s Childsplay Toys’-label [1].

The new label [6] was designed for Plaintalk, for the Dean’s Teddy Bears from 1986.

Teddy bear collecting

Dean’s bears (1919-1940) usualy have a triangle shaped, flat head with ears width apart, almost vertical placed. After 1931 Dean’s favoured the rayon plush; in 1935, mohair wasn’t present in the collection, but in 1935 golden, pink and blue mohair plush was used. A trademark for later Dean’s Teddy bears: a nose from casted rubber. Dean’s teddy Bears were made of less quality mohair, which is probably the reason why old ones look so worn. In 1981, Dean’s began to move into the collectors market and made limited edition bears.

See what kind of prices Dean’s Rag Book teddy bears made at international auctions.

Teddy bear examples

left: year: 1980, height: 12″/31cm
middle: year: 1930, height: 25″/26cm
right: year: 1987, height: 19″/48cm