Since we have the opportunity to sell many different items through our eBay delivery store, certain things start to stand out that seem to be selling extremely well. One element that stands out is the classic BEAR Recurve bows.
Recently on a trip out of town we stopped by an antique store like we usually do and saw this recurve bow on the corner. Since we were already somewhat familiar with how well bows sold by selling them to a customer, we naturally gravitated towards them. It appeared to be in excellent condition and came with a quiver and 3 different sets of arrows. The asking price was $ 100.00 and we finally got it all for $ 75.00.
Based on the dating procedures listed below, we determined that this was a 1965 Fred Bear Kodiak Recurve bow in excellent condition. It was a 60 “bow with a 44 # pull.
After we brought the bow to our store, we noticed that inside the big quiver there was only one smaller quiver. Based on a slight embossed marking on this smaller leather quiver that we put out, we were able to date it to the late 1940s.
We decided to split this into 3 different auctions and started all three at $ 9.99. Auction results are listed at the end of this article.
DATE WITH YOUR FRED BEAR BOW
There are several features and changes that were made to bear bows over the years that will help reduce the age of your bow or its potential reversal.
1. The Serial Number: These bows usually have what appears to be a handwritten inscription on one of the blades that gives a serial number along with the length and weight of the bow. This serial number works great for dating Bear Bows from 1965-1969 when the first digit of the serial number is the year of manufacture.
For example, a serial number of 5L212 would be a 1965 arc.
Prior to 1965, the serial numbers on all Bear bows were re-started every month, making these bows nearly impossible to date by serial number alone. The “K” series of serial numbers (for example, KZ9672) started in 1970.
2. Patent Mark: Most of the BEAR ties we have sold have the US logo and patents imprinted along with the CANADA 1953 date. This date is imprinted on all ties manufactured between 1953 and 1972 it is simply the patent date for a working recurve member and has nothing to do with the actual model year.
3. Decals and silkscreen: In 1948, the small Running Bear decal was first and then superseded by the large Standing Bear decal in mid-1953. The large Standing Bear decal also has the words “Glass Bow” underneath the Standing Bear.
The large Standing Bear decal was used until 1955 when it was replaced by silkscreen in identifying the bows. In 1956, silkscreen appeared on all bows.
4. All Wood vs. Laminate – If your bow is ALL Wood (no laminations of any kind), then your bow had to be manufactured before the mass productions beginning in 1949.
- If the ALL wood bow has a stamp that reads “Bear Products” in some form, it would have been made before the early to mid 40’s.
- If it has the “Bear Archery” label, it would have been made AFTER the early 1940s and BEFORE 1949.
- Also the wooden bows with a small “Running Bear” sticker can be dated from 1948
5. The leather grip: ALL Bear bows had leather grips until 1959. In 1959, the Kodiak Special removed the leather grip and in 1961 the Kodiak did the same, as did the Grizzly in 1964.
6. The coin locket: Starting in 1959, all Bear bows had a coin locket of one type of metal or another. Below are approximate date ranges for the type of currency used.
Copper coin – 1959
Aluminum – 1960-1961
Pewter – 1962
Brass – 1963-1970
Nickel-Silver – 1971-1972
ALL coins were flush with the wood until 1972. In late 1972, the coin rose above the surface of the bow and came in gold and chrome coated plastic and is still used on Bear bows today.
7. Manufacturer Location: In 1978 Bear relocated all manufacturing and offices to Gainesville, Florida. If your bow shows Gainesville, then it was made after 1978.
8. Arch model: Check the arch model. Below is an annual production chart for the most popular Bear Bows.
Detachable with wooden handle 1969-1972
Wood C-Riser Victor Custom 1973-1975
Detachable magnesium handle ABC 1971-1978
Kodiak Static Recurve 1950-1953
Kodiak recurve 1954-1966
Super Kodiak 1967-1976
Grizzly Static Recurve 1949-1957
Grizzly Recurve 1958-1978
Super Magnum 48 1966-1976
Kodiak Magnum 52 “1961-1977
Kodiak Hunter 58 “and 60” 1967-1977
Tamerlane HC-30 1965-1967
Tamerlane HC-300 1968-1972
Kodiak Special 1955-1967
Victor Patriota 1973-1977
Polar (recurve) 1957-1970
Alaskan (semi-recurve leather grip) 1959-1961
Alaska (recurve) 1966-1970
Black Bear 1972-1978
Teddy Bear 1965-1978
With this information, you should be able to get very close to your Bear Bow date if you don’t pinpoint the year.
If you are looking to price your bow, I suggest that you first log into your eBay account and do a full auction search with the general keywords that match your bow i.e Bear Grizzly Recurve and see what has been sold in the last 30 days.
Our eBay Results: Within 6 hours of listing our 1965 Bear Bow alone, starting at $ 9.99, it had already hit $ 152.50, which was exciting, but based on our research it is not surprising. What was surprising was that it stayed at $ 152.50 for the next 6 days. On the final day, with 8 minutes to go, it went up to $ 182.50 with over 40 viewers. Usually in these types of auctions we tend to update and update and update the auction to the end to see the bids, but we get busy writing more listings and forget about it. When we remembered to go back and check the auction, it had ended and ended at $ 282.55.
The other 2 quiver and arrow auctions sold for a total of $ 80.00. So our initial investment of $ 75.00 in an antique store ended in $ 362.55 in sales. That was almost a $ 300.00 profit (minus the gas and eBay fees, of course).