Cast Iron Cub Bears on Ebay?

Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:36 pm

What is the deal with the little bears for sale on ebay. Did they come with a cub or something. Why did they make different ones, some chrome looking, brass, etc. Just wanting some info on these little guys. Thanks Brandon.

Tue Dec 13, 2005 3:25 pm

Brandon, I believe they were given to those that purchased an IH tractor during that time period. I have one that was my Grandfathers, though I don't think he ever did own a cub, I know he had a few IH tractors in his time... Dewight

Tue Dec 13, 2005 3:52 pm

No, they weren't given out when you bought a tractor. Go here to read a bit of the history of the Bears and Cadets

Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:35 pm

So the aluminum bears that are listed on ebay right now are fake? What about that gold colored one that says 1943. Nice article. Looks like you the man when it comes to the bears. Thanks Brandon.

Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:54 pm

Since you didn't post the eBay numbers, and I can't see them up close, I don't know if they are fakes or not. IH did make some aluminum bears, but very, very few and I am told they were made by the pattern shop to test the patterns. That "1943 is probably Jan 1949, the date on some of them are hard to read. The "bear" was used by IH to advertise the Farmall Cub - "A Cub in size, but a bear for work", and since the Cub didn't come out until 1947, I doubt if there were any IH bears dated 1943. The new foundry at Louisville works opened in Jan 1949, and the bears were supposedly the first thing cast and at about 10:30 at night according to some reports.

There are a lot of the reproduction bears that were cast in the Louisville area in recent years, both in aluminum and brass, a lot more than IH ever made in those materials. Think about it, probably the last thing you want in a grey iron foundry is molten brass or aluminum..........

Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:48 pm

All that I know about the bears is contained in the article Paul posted the link to. I have had a cast iron one for some time now. Here is a link to the auction for the aluminum bear:

Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:10 pm

I collect the Bears and the Cadets, and have several, but the bear in the link that Cub-Bud posted is not one I would bid on. Nuff said.

Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:19 pm

Yep, neither would I. I just posted it for reference. :wink:

Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:58 am

Can you tell us how much of a difference in size we can expect to see if the casting was a reproduction as you mentioned in your article? ( which was very good info.) I have been looking for a Bear and a pin back (like the one Bud got earlier this year) I'm sure it will be a long search, but worth the wait!

Thanks Ron

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:27 am

The reproductions are up to an 1/8" or 3/16" smaller in height, and in the size of the base (both side to side and front to back). I have one of the brass and one of the aluminum bears and the aluminum is even smaller than the brass. The ears are also thicker at the top on the repro's

The bear should be 4" tall as measured from the top of the base to the top of the head, not including the ears. The base should be 2-7/16" front to back, 2-3/16" side to side at the widest point (center), and 2" at the narrowest point (extreme front or rear). These measurements can vary a bit (1/32"-1/16") depending on how much if any clean up was done to the casting. The chrome bears normally have more buffing/grinding/polishing on the edges, base, and mold line, than do the run of the mill bears. The only dates I am aware of on the bears are Jan 1949, and a very few dated 11-20-73.

The Cadets are dated Nov 1960, 11-20-73, and 9-14-74. I also have a Cadet without a date. They should be 4-29/32"+- 1/32" from the top of the base to the top of the back of his hat, the base is 2-1/8" front to back, side to side is 2-9/16" at the narrow point, 2-5/8" at the widest point.

Anything less (1/16" or more) than these measurements I would not spend my money on if I wanted only original castings. Some people don't care if it is original or a repop, they just want a bear, and if they are happy with that, and know it is a reproduction, that is fine with me. The originals can be quite pricey, specially the one holding a tractor. I have one holding a tractor that came off eBay for very little money because all the lettering and the date had been sanded off. The bear is painted black and the tractor was red. I assume the PO maybe just collected bears and did not want the IH connection (lettering) and removed it. Had they only known......

Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:09 am

What kind of money are we talking here for a bear holding the tractor, an original I mean? What is a fair market value and then a ebay factor value. Thanks Brandon.

Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:12 am

Would you post some pics of your bears. I mean kind of to give all us an education. They are pretty interesting. I live in Ky, and in all my antique store travels I have never ran across one. Thanks Brandon.

Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:26 pm

I'll try to post the pictures
This is some of them, center ones are chrome, reproductions are on the right.
This shows the 1949 and 1973 dates. notice how hard the 49 is to read on this one
Thr brass copy is on the left, an original in the center, and aluminum on the right, and gives you some idea of the size difference.

Original bears with tractor are selling for $150 and UP in the antique stores around here, when they can be found. An average price is probably closer to $200. Bears without the tractor are less, and as people learn the difference's the price has come down quite a bit on eBay.
They were only made at the Louisville Works.

Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:02 pm

Paul B
I tried to put this on a web site. If its ok to leave it there I will. Until maybe Rudi can put it on his site.

Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:23 pm

It's OK by me.