Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shuffling Off to Buffalo

It’s really unusual, and quite lucky, to find an old buffalo nickel. It’s the same with Steiff buffalos, too! Take a look here to add a little something special to your Steiff day….

This handsome fellow is an elegantly designed 17 cm unjointed mohair bison. His pattern, produced as a United States exclusive in 1960, also came in 12 and 30 cm. As far as I can tell, he was the first Steiff buffalo to appear in the company’s catalog. A few years later, in 1962 and 1963, this identical design was produced in the same three sizes for worldwide distribution. (Bison with “90” as the last digits of their ear tag article numbers are from 1960; while those from 1962 and 1963 sport “00” as their last digits.)

One of the things that makes this piece so interesting is his mohair and construction. Mostly made from long, shaggy tipped mohair, he is selectively shorn around his legs and backside; this “tail end” is then airbrushed to give him his characteristic body shape and varying textures. He is also detailed with glass pupil eyes and pert felt horns. Many hours went into this piece to give him the realistic touches that truly bring him to life.

Although the Steiff catalog boasts of practically every land, sea, and air creature you can imagine, one of the least represented are buffalos. It took close to 70 years from the publication of the first catalog in 1892 for buffalos to make it into the product line. Only eight models of the species are documented in the Steiff Sortiment reference books.

Although technically not an “endangered species”, buffalo - both of the live and Steiff ilk- are rare creatures to be cared for, admired, and of course, celebrated!

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

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