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eBay Bear coming to Bainbridge!

January 21st, 2004 · 1 Comment

Yesterday I described the Seattle FAO Schwarz bear which, according to the Seattle Times, had just been sold on eBay for nearly $12K. Opening up today’s Bainbridge Review, I discovered that this very bear was bought by islanders Doug and Kathy Hartley and will be moving to our area of the island where it will decorate their day care center.

What interested me most about this story was how this family financed their purchase of this huge bear. I would have imagined that people who buy $12,000 FAO Schwarz bears wouldn’t think twice about spending that kind of money; it’s a pittance to them. But that was not the case with this purchase…I’ve always wondered how these big eBay stories happen…

Since the Review doesn’t have this on-line, I will type some of the story below…

The family first saw the bear last Saturday evening while shopping in Seattle, and saw a piece of paper on it saying it was being auctioned on eBay.

“When I saw it, I thought, ‘Oh, we don’t want that bear,” Kathy said, “But my husband really wanted it.”

Returning home, Doug checked eBay and saw that the current bid was only $150 and the auction would close at 1 p.m. Monday. He put in a bid limit of $1,000.

“When it got past $3,000, I got nervous, ” Doug said, because he had told his wife he would not go any higher.

Sunday afternoon, he and his daughter went to Seattle to see the bear again, to see how it was put together and to consider the technicalities of moving it.

The bear is 12 feet 3 inches tall, about 6 feet wide, cast in bronze; although hollow inside, it weighs 6,000 pounds. The winning bidder would be required to fix the sidewalk after moving the bear.

When Hartley got home, bidding was still climbing.

“When it got past $10,000, I got really nervous and pulled out all my credit cards and called Visa to make sure I could max it out,” Doug said.

But the Hartleys outlasted other suitors.

“I thought he had gotten it for $3,000. I think he was afraid to tell me, “Kathy said. “But now I’m happy. …”

“My wife thinks I’m crazy. I’ve been giggling ever since I bought the thing, ” Doug said. “(Its) maybe the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”…

The bear will be moved to Bainbridge Island this Saturday.

Hartley called sculptor Shure in Massachusetts, who told him, “You got a deal. It costs $70,000 to make.”

I wonder if it will still be a deal by the time they pay for transportation and sidewalk fixes. I wonder if it will take the boat – that’d be a scene, bear on the ferry. More likely that they might drive it around the Sound and across the bridge instead. That’s how moving vans often come.

This family, Doug and Kathy Hartley own a day care center, and apparently were looking for something “unique” for the front of their new building, which will be as the crow flies, not too far from our house. I’m sure we’ll be seeing it often as we drive down the road….the big bronze eBay bear on Bainbridge.

Ted and I were just joking the other night about how people give driving directions on the island – without using road names, street signs or north/south etc. – but with a rural familiar formula: “turn left at this gravel driveway…after this dirt road but before that one..” Kind of like Rhode Islanders I said, except there aren’t any giant chickens to use as landmarks. Well now we’ve got a giant bear instead….

Tags: island

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 wink // Jan 21, 2004 at 11:29 pm

    It won’t be like RI until the bear gets moved and everyone still uses it for directions…”turn left where the giant bear *used* to be…”