Saturday, April 4, 2009

Office Mates

A popular commercial for Capital One credit cards asks "What's in your wallet"? For most of us living through these tough economic times, the answer is "not much..."! A more interesting question might be "What's in your office"? Thankfully, I do still have my job, and an office which I decorate with Steiff favorites. Come take a peek at some of my "office mates".

Most dogs like to rest on a rug and these vintage canines are no different. The rug is my mouse pad, and the three dogs are (right to left) a 10 cm mohair "Arco" German Shepherd (produced from 1957-1961); a 12 cm wool plush Chow (produced from 1951-1959); and a well loved 10 cm mohair "mystery mutt" with Steiff qualities (glass pupil eyes, embroidered nose, evidence of airbrushing, excelsior stuffed). The rug was a trade show give-away, Chow was an auction win, and Arco and Mystery Mutt were purchased together on a delightful day of antiquing with friends.

Also keeping me honest at work are two Jocko monkeys and an unusual Teddy bear handbag who live on my desk to the left of my monitor. The 25 cm mother (produced from 1949-1981) and 10 cm baby (produced from 1949-1964) Jockos are both brown mohair and five ways jointed. I've always felt that most Jockos have a masculine look to them, but this larger Jocko has a distinct softness; I call her "Pretty Jocko" and am certain she is a girl. Both Jockos were purchased at auction. The 23 cm Teddy evening bag is a limited edition from the 2008 "Steiff Sommer" festival and is stuffed with excelsior. More for looks than functional, the zippered opening on her back is large enough for a pack of chewing gum and change for a telephone call (as your cell wouldn't fit in the Teddy's purse-pouch). Perfectly proportioned for a baroness or other royalty.

The top of my filing cabinet is adorned with Steiff collectibles. Right to left, I have a 50 cm woven fur Zotty bear (produced from 1979-1985); a 50 cm mohair Studio Hexie Dachshund (produced in 1960 only) who is giving a ride to a 37 cm "Niki the Rat" (produced in 1997 only) caricatured race car driver in a red logo'ed jumper; and a 50 cm mohair Rudi bear (produced in 2007 only). Rudi has long wired arms and legs, giving him the ability to do yoga or pose in funny ways. Zotty was purchased sight unseen and when he arrived, he had an unadvertised bonus... his foot was signed by Hans Otto Steiff! BINGO! Hexie and Niki were purchased at auction, while Rudi was a generous gift from a dear friend. The background poster is that of a 1930's Dicky Teddy doling out sweets behind the counter of a turn of the century apothecary.

So what is this jelly-bean colored oddity, and why has she taken over my office chair? Excellent questions. This is "Mini Hare", a character from the popular German kid's book, "Laura's Star". In the book, this bunny is the companion of the child heroine, Laura, and fits into her pocket. This particular Mini Hare is unjointed and quite floppy, about 2 feet tall (or 3 feet tall if you count her ears), made from soft multicolored velvet, and has embroidered nose and eye features. What is most remarkable about her is her enormous Steiff button and tag in her ear. Better proportioned for a life sized elephant or giraffe, these IDs lead me to believe that this rabbit could be considered a Studio piece. Mini Hare was purchased at an Steiff collector's event.

Imagine my colleague's surprise when an almost life sized baby donkey was delivered to the office mail room. Really. This 60 cm grey dralon open-mouthed "beast of burden" is hard at work as the unofficial mascot of my department. (Ok, insert off color jokes here.) Produced from 1960-1980, this jumbo unjoined "Grissy" donkey never fails to bring a welcomed chuckle to my stressed-out associates. Grissy was purchased at auction a few months ago.

And that's the tail end of the tour, I promise.

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