In both copper, nickel and brass were used in the higher and lower grades of bows. The bow varnish on top turns varying shades of yellow altering the color of the coins. In , aluminum was used and in a pewter like metal was used; this coin oxidized badly turning the finish black.
Most of this finish chips off leaving a very dull gray metal underneath. By only brass and aluminum in a new stamping was used see photo. They did not always change with a model change, but when used with other features, are still heavily used in bow dating.
I use several other procedures to identify the Bear Grayling bows that I have made into a list. I have rewritten and expanded this list that I have used for many years. Taking 30 years worth of Bear bows would take a book, but for now this list will ID most Bear models almost to the year.
I'm not about to cut all of this into stone, but try this out on your bows and it will work well to identify a very high percentage of them. I am open to any and all new ideas from other collectors. I still continue research of the Kodiak model, both right and left hand serial numbers.
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Writing is best as I'm away so much. Any SASE will receive a reply. Good luck and good "bow hunting" during the Good Old Days! The basic information I use to identify the bows of Bear Archery Co. The early Grayling bows of were static recurves called the Deerslayer, Bush Bow and Hunter, plus three longbows called the Field, Rover and Ranger. These models evolved from the superbly hand-crafted bows of Nels Grumley, Fred's first bowyer.
The bear logo and model names were applied with stick on decals. The first "Bear" named bow was the Grizzly in The Kodiak and Polar appear in The Ranger continues but all previous model names are dropped. The Cub replaces the Ranger in late The Grizzly, Kodiak and Polar longbow all have an aluminum limb lamination from to These bows should not be used!
Dating Bear Recurve
Every model Bear bow made from to mid have the Canadian patent for the working recurve design on the lower limb. This is a patent date only, not the year of the bow! Also all model Bear Bows have leather wrapped grips from the late 's up to The Kodiak Special was the first bow model to drop the leather grip. Then the Kodiak in and the Grizzly lost it in In the 's and early 60's, the serial numbers were started over every month every model.
This makes these years very difficult to identify by serial numbers. From to the first single digit is the year of the bow Example: The sec ond letter was the model designation. The first year for the "coin" medallion flush with bow surface was It was copper metal that year, was aluminum, pewter. These all have a "Flat Bear" logo. In a brass coin with a new stamping of a "Rounded Bear" logo appears. Also in a "Rounded Bear" coin in aluminum begins in the lower class bows like the Polar and Cub. This same aluminum coin reappears in the Grizzly model in to Also in and a few nickel silver coin medallions appear in top model bows.
These are scattered and are identical in appearance to the aluminum. As with "all years" these coins all overlap, so precise dating could be difficult. Late started what was called the "Button Medallion". It was positioned high up in the handle and was raised above the surface of the bow. It came in both gold and chrome covered plastic.
These replaced all coin medallions and continued into Florida production. Only the catalogs ran from January 1st to December 31st.
Bow model changes ran from September to September and many times came about at any time of year. Two different versions of a model were made at the same time until orders for existing models were satisfied. The famous wood handle takedown bow started production in August , but did not appear in the company catalog until Although discontinued in , a few "A" and "B" wood risers were assembled between to Most of these will have white serial numbers in place of gold, and also will have black plastic bear logos on the sockets instead of brown.
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Most of the Bear Bows we have sold have the logo and the Us Patents printed on it along with the date of Canada This date that is printed on all bows made in the middle of and is naturally the date of the patent for a working recurve limb and has nothing to do with the actual model year. In the small Running Bear decal was first and then was substituted by the large Standing Bear decal in mid The large Standing Bear decal was used until when it was substituted with silk-screening the identification on the bows.
By the silk-screening appeared on all bows. All Wood vs Laminate: If your bow is All wood no laminations of any kind then your bow had to be made before the mass productions starting in 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 is stamped "Bear Archery" it would have been made After the early-mid 40's and Before Also wooden bows with a small "Running Bear" decal can be dated to 5. All Bear bows had leather grips until In , the Kodiak special removed the leather grip and in the Kodiak did the same, as well as the Grizzly in Below are the approx date ranges for the type of coin used.
All coins were flush with the wood until In late the coin was raised above the covering of the bow and came in both gold and chrome covered plastic and are still used in Bear bows today. If your bow shows Gainesville on it then it was made after Model Of The Bow: Check the Model of the bow. Below is a each year output chart for the most favorite Bear Bows. With this information you should be able to get really close to dating your Bear Bow if not pin-pointing it to the year.
If you are looking to price your bow I would propose first logging into your eBay catalogue and do a Completed Auction quest on the normal keywords that match your bow, i. Bear Grizzly Recurve and see what has sold in the past 30 days. Within 6 hours of listing our Bear Bow by itself starting at.