Introducing Theodore Bear, Esq.

27 Jun
A couple of years ago, when I was getting ready to move into this apartment, I was at the flea market looking for furniture for my new place. I had basically spent that summer furnishing my apartment, which was pretty great because I found a ton of super deals. Anyway, I was just browsing away when this guy caught my eye from across the parking lot.

I had to have him.

The guy at the flea market told me that in Poland, the graphic designers all had to do government work, so there were all of these great posters for government events, like the circus. I think the poster cost me $20, but I was so excited. It felt like something an adult would own, and I couldn’t wait to hang him on my walls.

We moved in together, I named him Theodore, and we’ve been cohabitating happily ever since. I didn’t give him much more thought until the other day, when David was goofing around on his phone and he took a picture of Teddy on Google Goggles, and it recognized him.

I did a little research, and found that maybe my poster was something special! (To people other than me)

This is a great article about Polish Circus posters in general. The author said this about Teddy:

“I’ve got this one – definitely one of my favorite CYRK posters – not long ago. Its a very rare piece, printed in 1974 and I believe I was lucky to stumble upon it, since its a highly coveted print.

The designer, Waldemar Swierzy was born in 1931 in Katowice. He’s a graduate of the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts (Dept. of Graphic Art in Katowice), designed his first poster in 1950 and obtained his diploma in 1952. Specializes in poster and all forms of commercial graphic, with a very prolific career. He had individual shows in Vienna, Moscow, Poznań, Sao Paulo, Caracas, Wrocław. Works as professor at Poznań Academy of Fine Arts. “

I also found one for sale on, and when I inquired about a price, she told me it was $600!

My next step was to determine whether or not it is ‘real’. Just by looking at it, it seems real to me. The print job looks different from anything I’ve seen, and it has some information at the bottom that says:

RSW ,,Prasa-Ksiazka-Ruch ” PZGraf. todz Z. 2427/74, W-74/6025, 9550 egz.

However, this seems a good time to point out that my poster collection comes from stuff I’ve picked up around design school, so what do I know?

I sent my information to an appraiser, who basically confirmed what I already knew, but I’m still not sure how I would confirm that it isn’t a print…of a print. Does anyone else have any ideas?

Regardless, it’s been fun to play art detective and learn more about my little poster that I’ve had for years. It inspires me to head back to the flea market and see what other treasures I could discover.

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