Thursday, April 16, 2009

Confessions of a "Jocko-holic"

No monkeyshines!

Today's blog entry has a bonus... video! Take a look here to watch the "unboxing" of my newest and favorite (at least for the moment) Steiff collectible...





This precious primate is none other than Jocko, a wonderful 25 cm fully jointed mohair chimpanzee. He is in pristine condition - perfect dense mohair; unblemished felt face, hands, and feet; and airbrushing as fresh as if he were manufactured today.

King Jocko (we held the coronation in private, that's why you didn't see it on CNN) has his Steiff "ff" button which puts him at a birth year between 1909-1943. I looked closely for an ear flag remnant to give a better approximation of his production decade, but could not find any white (which would date him from 1909-1926), red (from 1926-1934), or yellow (from 1934-1943) fibers under his button to help with this dating.

This Jocko stands out in several ways. First, his mohair is unlike any I have ever seen, a very intense, lush brown - like dark chocolate or roasted coffee beans. My other Jockos are white (or really grey-ish, that happens over time) or milk chocolate in color. Also unusual is his assembly; he has a slightly-to-the-left seam up his back shaped like the letter "J". No other Jocko in my troop has this construction. Finally, his body is rather "V" shaped; broad shoulders tapering down to smallish hips. My other Jockos have "H" shaped trunks from top to bottom.

Chimpanzees are legacy animals for Steiff and appeared in their first catalog of 1892. In 1903, a large, primitive looking string jointed monkey (PB 60) was introduced to the world. A few years later, in 1909, Steiff redesigned their monkey pattern towards a more lifelike appearance. This new chimp design featured detailed felt hands, feet, and facial features, including eye pockets and a white mohair chin in the medium and larger sized versions. The updated pattern was produced in 15 sizes, ranging from 10 to 90 cm, at various times from 1909-1943, and then again from 1949-1990. The chimpanzee received his "official" Steiff name, Jocko, in 1929.

The traditional 80th anniversary gift is that of diamonds and pearls. So appropriate here to top the crown of my new King Jocko!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

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