What Are Robert Raikes Wooden Bears?
Robert Raikes wooden bears are distinguished from other collectible bears by their carved wooden faces. Raikes hand carves samples of the bears and sends them to China. There craftsmen hand carve replicas from maple and other small-grained woods, stain and paint the bear faces, and attach them to mohair bodies. Raikes bears are available online, through QVC, and in gift shops and specialty stores.
Robert Raikes began carving wooden dolls with sawdust-filled cloth bodies in the mid-1970s and developed a series of carved bears in the early 1980s. The bears were licensed through the Applause company from 1985 to the early 1990s, after which the company returned to family ownership.
The Star bear, the first poseable Raikes bear with a full body, is 30 inches tall and available only in limited quantities. Another limited edition is the fanciful 14-Karat bear, a bear adorned with 14 beaded carrots and featuring a glittery nose and golden mohair body. In the Bedazzled Birthstone line, 9-inch bears are made of hand-beaded fabric and mohair, and each is named after one of the 12 birthstones and features a birthstone on its head.
Another series of Raikes bears is the Itty Bitty Bugs collection with Bumble the bee, Dottie the ladybug and Flicker the butterfly. In the Home-Sweet-Home collection, Jennie the bear is named after one of Raikes' daughters, while the Occupational series features Doug the doctor, Brent the baker and Angie the aerobics performer.