Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rock and Roll With Steiff: Auction Highlights 4/20-4/26/09

Thankfully, it's the first really nice spring weekend in these parts. After our unusually bitter and snowy winter, these warm temperatures make everyone feel like dancing! Or in my case, "rock and rolling"... with Steiff, of course! To celebrate this new-found "spring in my step", this week's auction highlights column focuses on finds that "rock" or "roll".

When I saw this first item, Musical Charly, up for auction, I really wanted to bust a move. This brown and white standing King Charles spaniel is 25 cm, has a jointed head with glass pupil eyes, and is made from long curly mohair. But besides her "best in show" looks, what makes her so special is her music box feature which is activated by gently pressing and releasing her torso. It is really unusual to find a Charly, even more so with a still-functional music box. This model was in production from 1928 -1931 and was also available in 17 and 22 cm. According to the description and photos associated with the auction, she is in very good condition and retains her ff Steiff button and some of her red ear tag. She received 14 bids and sold for $565.84.

According to the Cieslik's wonderful "Button In Ear" book, Steiff's "Music - Animals" of 1928 were introduced for "cuddling and snuggling - up - to before falling asleep". About 20 musical items, including a clown, Fluffy the cat, several dogs (including this Charly), a Teddy bear, and a lamb were produced in this series. Some were squeeze activated, others produced music by rotating their tails. All models had a label attached to their bellies with instructions on how to activate the music box. Overall sales of these items were minimal and they were all discontinued in 1930 - 1931; Steiff did not bring back musical items to the line until the 1950's.

This second highlight is a great encore to Musical Charly. She is none other than Musical Molly, one of the "Music -Animals" noted above. What serendipity to have two of these treasures appear at auction at the same week! Musical Molly is 25 cm, made from brown and white long mohair, is head jointed, and has glass pupil eyes. Her ears are lined in light pink velvet. Like her sister Charly, Molly also has a squeeze - release music box; hers is located in her rump while Charly's is in her torso.

Musical Molly was in production from 1928 -1931 and was only available in 22 cm. Only 328 pieces were produced - now that's what I'd call a limited edition! According to the description and photos associated with the auction, she is in good condition but does not have any Steiff IDs. Remarkably, she received only one bid and sold for $149.99.

Now onto the "roll" portion of this "rock and roll" column. This final Steiff auction highlight is Terry, the Airedale Terrier on wheels. Terry is 28 cm, unjointed, made from light brown and black airbrushed mohair, and sports a red leather collar. He is on blue wooden wheels. Terry was produced from 1950 through 1961 in four sizes: 28, 35, 43, and 50 cm. According to the description and photos associated with the auction, he is in very good condition and has his yellow ear tag and Steiff button. Terry received 22 bids and sold for $332.61.

Airedale Terriers are legacy products in the Steiff catalog. The first Airedale appeared in 1927, ironically as a dog on wheels! Today's Steiff catalog features Fellow, an Airedale Terrier who made his debut in 1935. Now that's a long time to be on the best seller list - even in dog years!

I hope this week's highlights make you want to put on your dancing shoes and rock on with Steiff!

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