Bobby Bear Club enamel badge issued by the Daily Herald newspaper (London), early 1930s
The Daily Herald newspaper first published the Bobby Bear comic strips in 1919. Other newspapers, notably in Australia, followed on and these were also immensely popular. By the early 1930s newspaper’s children clubs were in full swing and the Daily Herald launched their own Bobby Bear Club as part of a general media war to increase circulation. Later during the 1930s The Star and The Argus (Melbourne), both of Australia, brought out their own versions of the Bobby Bear Club together with similar badges.
Bobby Bear himself was based on the traditional Steiff bear figure, a high-quality, plush toy figure made from 1902 by the German company of Margarete Steiff GmbH. At about the same time the Teddy Bear toy was also invented in the US where the US president, Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt lent his nickname to the toy.
The Bobby Bear club was free to join and only required a number of newspaper coupons. On joining, a certificate, handbook and enamel badge were issued with organised club events for children and other announcements printed in their newspapers. The Bobby Bear club like others, was involved in charity and hospital fund raising. One popular event was the Daily Herald’s ‘Help the Hospitals Contest’ that involved children dressing up as Bobby Bear and other related characters to sell raffle tickets and raise funds for hospitals nationwide. They were big events with big prizes too, for example in 1932 there was a £20,000 prize with raffle tickets costing 6d (6 pence) each. An immense amount of money in those recession days when a nice London suburban house would cost less than £5,000
This badge was produced from die stamped brass with two enamels (red & light yellow). There is a pin fitting on the reverse with an imprint of the manufacturer’s name of ‘Roden, London’. The badge measures just slightly above 1” diameter (26mm approx.).
The Australian newspapers mentioned above also issued their own badges. These were the same design and style, the only difference was they substituted the newspaper name with their own.