Luxury toys expected to fetch more than £1m

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A "once in a lifetime" collection of more than a thousand luxury teddy bears and soft toys could sell for more than £1 million when it goes under the hammer today, experts have said.

The private collection of 1,300 Steiff toys presents a "unique" opportunity for museums and collectors from around the world, according to Christie's.

Announcing the sale at its South Kensington saleroom in London later this year, the auction house said it was the "largest and best quality collection" to remain in private hands.

Set up in Germany in the late 19th century, Steiff is famous for its hand-finished bears, elephants, rabbits and other animals featuring a button in ear to show authenticity.

Teddy bear specialist Daniel Agnew, working as a consultant for the Christie's Steiff sale, said: "It's pretty much unique.

"There is such an amazing array and it's in such fabulous condition.

The collection includes toys dating from 1890 to the 1970s, Christie's said.

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