I did some research on the amulet and Reddit user u/Zuggible provided the most detailed account of the amber bear’s provenance:
“The history of the figure is rather incredible. It was found in 1887 in a peat bog near Slupsk. When the figure was examined it turned out to be the amulet of a bear hunter, originating from the Neolithic period. It was dated at between 1700 B.C. and 650 B.C. Since the researchers were not precise regarding the age of the find, we can assume this figure is over three thousand years old.
The original did not stay long in Slupsk since special protection was sought for the oldest item ever discovered in the Pomerania. The museum in Szczecin guaranteed safety, and the amber bear was placed there – probably until 1945. However, the people of Slupsk found it difficult to cope with the loss of the amulet of happiness – in 1924 the guild of amber makers decided to make a copy. Arthur Fischer was the author of the faithfully reproduced new bear of happiness, and the figure became the pride of the amber collection presented in the City Museum in Nowa Brama.
The figure delighted the eyes of the inhabitants of Slupsk until March 1945 – when it was stolen, along with all amber and gold jewellery. Thanks to an unknown stroke of fate, the copy encountered the original, after many years, in the Historic Museum in Stralsund. In the summer of 2002, the German press announced that the copy of the bear was presented to public, whereas the original amulet did not leave the museum’s safe. It is a secret how the museum became the owner of these two figures. However one should be happy that both of them survived.
The copy of the famous bear appeared again in the history of Slupsk. Thanks to the president, Maciej Kobylinski, the amber bear attracts tourists tothe town hall, where it is exhibited in a special show case. Once a year, the tiny figure is put on auction, and the funds raised are dedicated to charity. The figure is replaced by a new copy in the show case. The first beneficiaries of the bear were the single mothers of three severely sick children. Thanks to the generosity of entrepreneurs from Slupsk, who participated in the auction, the little figure brought lots of joy to the homes of the sick children.
This winning bear was also given by the inhabitants of Slupsk to the president of the Republic of Poland – Aleksander Kwasniewski. The amber figure arouses sympathy, and therefore its association with Slupsk is enjoyable. Let it always bring well-being to our underprivileged city.” (source: reddit user u/Zuggible)
This source partially verifies Zuggible’s statement:: https://wiki.city/en/poland_pomeranian-voivodeship_slupsk-county_slupsk
The meme that went viral. Has anyone been to the town hall of Slupsk, Poland to see the real thing?