Teddy Bear Mathematician Has 3,458 Bears in Collection – So Far!


California bear collector, Marcy Cook, is pictured holding her very first bear she purchased some 30 years ago.

Balboa Island, Calif.-- Marcy Cook can remember how she first got started collecting bears. A friend invited her to touch and feel their newly purchased “Teddy” and when she held it, she thought it was nice. Having no particular connection or interest in collecting things till that point, she began buying stuffed bears that appealed to her and some 30 years later, the math teacher who instructs other math teachers, now has 3,458 stuffed bears in her collection.

Known for the Bayfront house with huge stuffed bears always looking out the windows of the 2-story home, tourists from around the globe are enamored when they get a glimpse of but a few bears in her collection. Just yesterday she received a singing Christmas Koala from “down under” from tourists who saw her bears in the windows and were so delighted that they had to send her an Aussie bear.

“I try to discourage people from giving me bears,” said Cook, who just finished the touches on her Christmas Bear and Lights Display, a Ring of Lights Winner in the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade home lighting tour. “People will come by and knock on our door with the saddest faces and stories, holding some special bear in hand and begging me to take it since they are old can no longer keep it. In special cases I will.”


  • 855 Bears were added to the regularly displayed 1, 142 bears for Christmas 2011.
  • There are no expensive bears in the collection–just ordinary, fun stuffed animals.
  • There are some duplicates. As Cook travels, she occasionally forgets which bears she has and accidentally buys the same kind again.
  • One of the teacher’s most expensive trips was Germany where she fell in love with the sad little bear faces she saw and ended up shipping back a handful of bears. The shipping cost more than the critters.
  • Cook’s husband and family all treat the bears as part of the family. The bears surround perimeter spaces of the house such as windows looking out on the bay, or shelves where they are neatly displayed and often changed for others.
  • You can always see bears in the windows of the Bayfront home approx. two blocks south of Balboa Island Ferry. Often there’s a sign wishing you a Beary Merry Day or some similar message.
  • Bay boat tour guides usually point out Cook’s house located several blocks from the former home of Buddy Ebsen (Beverly Hillbillies – Jedd Clampett.)

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