The Big Sleuth, presented by Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and creative producers Wild in Art, has won the hearts and minds of everyone in Bear-mingham and beyond this summer, after bringing the streets alive with colour and activity as colleagues, friends and families took to the streets to discover the bears. Following their final goodbyes at the Farewell Weekend, Eastside City Park this weekend (6-8 October), the bear-utifully designed sculptures are heading to Thinktank, Birmingham on Thursday 12 October to be auctioned off to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

In 2015, the project’s predecessor The Big Hoot, raised over £500,000 for the hospital’s charity and The Big Sleuth is aiming to exceed this target. With over 90 bears heading to auction, the organisers have high hopes for them all, but the hot contenders are expected to attract multiple bidders.

1) Window Shopping

Window Shopping artist Temper, aka Arron Bird, is widely recognised as one of the most successful and talented graffiti artists of his generation. In 2015, his owl, Re-Tail owl, sponsored by Retail BID, produced the highest bid at The Big Hoot auction, selling for an incredible £18,000! 

As Birmingham is the only city centre outside of London to have all five main department stores within a five minutes’ walk of each other, Temper created Window Shopping – who he has nicknamed Bearnadette – a South East Asian sun bear with a great personality who enjoys being out and about shopping in the city. This bear has been modified from top to paw, featuring ingenious solar panels on the top of her head that power the lights in each of the inlayed shop windows. On closer inspection the windows become galleries for a collection of unique original miniature canvases, featuring iconic scenes of Birmingham.

2) Peabody

The beautiful Peabody has been a key face of The Big Sleuth, featuring on the souvenir guide’s front cover. In 2015, his predecsor Bejewelled Owl was sold for £9,200 at auction. This year, Peabody is also expected to attract bidders. The inspiration came from the peacock itself, after the artist, Tory Allen, realised the peacock shares its territory with the sun bear, as Asia’s national bird. The many ‘eyed’ pattern on the peacock’s tail can symbolise the vault of heaven, dotted by the sun, moon and stars. With over 40,000 rhinestones on its body, the sculpture always shines bright.

3) Sweet William

The public’s choice, according to The Big Sleuth app, is the paw-tastic Sweet William. After receiving the highest amount of votes on the app and finishing the trail named ‘favourite’, the bear-utiful mosaic sculpture is also thought to be a hot contender. In 2015, Starlight, the mosaic owl created by the same artist Caroline Jariwala, was sold for over £10,000. Sweet William was created using ceramic tiles, vintage crockery and glass. The design is inspired by the flora quoted in Shakespeare’s works, which were planted in the walled garden at Lightwoods House. Sweet William refers to the flower, which some say was named after the Bard himself!

4) Peaky Blinders Bear

Drawing inspiration from Peaky Blinders, the epic BBC gangster-drama set in the lawless streets of 1920’s Birmingham, Peaky Blinders Bear features real-life portraits of many of the cast’s iconic characters including Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby, the gang’s leader. Located in the Mailbox over the summer, the design was also endorsed by Birmingham-born Steven Knight, the series’ creator and writer. With a huge interest in the drama, and the next series just around the corner, this bear is certainly one to watch.

5) Spock

The Spock bear, who lived in Victoria Square throughout the 10-week trail, is another one of the public’s top 10. With over 400 followers, Spock has become a firm favourite on social media with many sleuthers and trail-goers posting their selfies with the Live Long And Prosper greeting. Spock has grown very fond of Birmingham and is intrigued to explore more and report back to USS Enterprise and Star-fleet, but not before he’s auctioned off to help the sick kids at BCHC.

6) Xt

During his 20-year career, award-winning artist Reuben Colley has become a well-respected artist in the Birmingham area. After growing up in the region, he is known for his gritty Birmingham landscapes and the Xt bear is no different, it’s based on an oil painting which depicts the Aston Expressway. The Big Sleuth bear bought the landscape to life, as though the bear was standing there, viewing its surroundings. Areas of scrubland in the city gave the sleuthers a sense of freedom, like parts of the city remain untamed; a brief return to nature. Yet, at the same time, the Aston Expressway forms a continuous, inescapable loop around the bear.

Following the Farewell Weekend at Eastside City Park this weekend , the bears will be transferred to Thinktank for The Big Sleuth Auction which takes place on Thursday 12 October. Have you seen a bear you’re interested in giving a permanent home? Get your tickets and register for a paddle here: Don’t worry if you can’t make the auction, as the online salesroom is already LIVE and accepting pre-bids now:

Want a bear but not sure which is your favourite? Tickets are still available for our Farewell Weekend: