Sunday, January 10, 2010

Schuco Janus Bear

I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a thematically appropriate toy to begin January's postings. After much thought and poking about in various cupboards and boxes, I found it: this small Schuco bear. But first, a few words about Janus, the Roman god who symbolized transitions, passages, beginnings and endings, and whose image, of a head with two faces looking in opposite directions, was affixed to ancient gates and doorways. Here he is, in a statue currently held by the Vatican.

Our month of January is named after him, as is this little bear, the Schuco Janus bear.

Like his namesake, the 3 1/2 inch Janus bear has two faces on opposite sides of his head. The first is a fairly standard Schuco style teddy bear face:

while the second is quite different, a sort of maniacally gleeful, pop-eyed character (originally he would also have had a protruding red tongue, but my example has lost his):

To change from one face to the other, you just turn a small knob at the bear's base, and a rod within his head swivels accordingly. You can see the mechanism in this last picture, as well as a glimpse of the two faces.

The Schuco Janus bear is highly sought by collectors, and deemed "freaking creepy" by pretty much everyone else.


  1. Definitely not something I want in my bedroom at night!

  2. Ditto. He actually lives in a (securely locked) glass fronted cabinet in the living room...

  3. Hi All - I have one of these bears I would like ot sell, but I am unsure where to start or how to go about it [or even how much my little Janus is worth!]Any help would be gratefully received!

  4. Hi, it would depend on the condition and where it's sold.
    I've seen very worn examples or those at general antiques shows and eBay sell in the $250-350 range, very good ones sell around $450-550, and rarely, MINT pieces priced at $900 in high-end antique bear shops and fine auction houses. Most I see for sale at places like eBay and Ruby Lane are in the $250-400 range, while those priced higher don't seem to be selling now. I think those listed over $500 are really unrealistically priced.
    Good luck!