The Enesco Company was founded in 1958 as a division of the N. Shure Company, which was a wholesale merchandising catalog company. Later, the N. Shure Company was sold and as a result Enesco was reorganized and became a separate company. The name Enesco was developed from the sound of saying the parent company’s name. Eugene Freedman became head of the new company and it was located in Chicago. Enesco began importing products from around the world.
Some of their most known products are Calico Kittens, Cherished Teddies, Garfield, Lucy & Me, Mary’s Moo Moos, Mother in the Kitchen and Precious Moments. Of all of those lines, two were designed by the same artist, Patricia Hillman. Both Calico Kittens and Cherished Teddies were created by Patricia’s memories of her childhood playing with her sister.
At a young age Patricia Hillman realized she loved to draw. She would spend many hours in the kitchen drawing while her mother was baking. She was inspired by activities in her life. Many years later, after getting married and starting a family, she began to wonder about using her childhood as an inspiration to start a new business. Her first ideas took the form of drawings of dressed up teddy bears doing various childhood activities. The more she drew, the more the drawings took on personalities. Patricia felt her drawings could be transformed into figurines.
In 1992, Patricia joined forces with Enesco and the Cherished Teddies collection was launched. The small molded resin bears had patches on them to symbolize well worn friends. They were each given a name and an activity they were doing. They had their own adoption certificate so they could now be part of their new family after they were purchased at the store. On the bottom they were marked with their name, registration number, date, Patricia Hillman and the Enesco name. The Cherished Teddies line soon attracted bear lovers who were continually clamoring for new styles. Patricia kept designing many new poses.
A short time later, a comparable line was started, this time for the cat lover. Calico Kittens utilized the same theme as the bears. Darling gray and brown kittens had patches on them just like the bears. Similar themes were used with all the cats. The kittens were all given a theme of their activity that was a cute play on words. They also were marked on the bottom similar to the bears. The kittens had a patch on their tail. Their little pink nose was in the shape of a heart. Many of the times the kittens had on a white dotted hat. The Calico Kitten line has been discontinued, but the Cherished Teddies are still going strong today.
As the New Year begins, maybe this is the time to look for something inexpensive, little and cute to collect. Most of the time each of the Cherished Teddies and Calico Kittens can be found on the secondary market for less than $10. This also could be a great collectible to start with a child. Have fun in your searches.