Saturday, June 27, 2009

All In The Family

Collections are always really interesting, as they usually tell a story about a person and what is, or was, important to them. Steiffgal recently got this note concerning a group of five woodland animals that a reader had inherited from her Grandmother. She was interested in learning more about the pieces.

Julianne writes...

"...One is a little bunny, cream in color with brown airbrushing and a baby blue bow. He is a baby animal and I think about 5-7" in length. He still has his chest badge and the ear tag. (EAN 6325/00?).

Another one is a beautiful squirrel with a big
bushy tail and tuft of hair on top of his head. He still has the prongs in his ear where the tag was, but the tag is missing.

We also have a beaver that is really cute. He has a felt tail that is airbrush striped, a darling open mouth showing his two front teeth. His backside fur is short, br
own, and white tipped. He has a cream belly with dark brown airbrushing. Missing tag and chest badge. I cannot see where a tag even may have been.

A baby chipmunk standing on all fours, kind of cream color underneath w
ith dark brown overall, and darker brown or black stripe going down the length of his back and tail. He is about 5-7" in length. Missing chest badge and ear tag. No prongs or staples that I could see.

Baby owl is about 6" high. Light brown with darker brown highlights and striping on back of head, body and wings. Cream colored belly has black spots. Head has felt "ears" coming out of the top. Felt feet with dark brown talons. Felt beak. Bushy cream colored fur around each eye which are green yellow in color. No tags.

My Grandma bought t
hem in the late 1950s or early 1960s. She used them for a Christmas tree that was decorated in woodland animals. They have not been played with. If you could help me find the value of these darling woodland creatures, I would be most appreciative....

Thank You!'


What a nice period grouping! Let's take a look at each one.

First, the rabbit. The EAN (product ID number) code that you provided indicates that this bunny is what Steiff calls "Changeable Rabbit". This is a neat piece because his back legs are fully jointed and he can be positioned in a running, sitting, or begging position. Changeable rabbit is made from mohair, has a jointed head, and is beautifully detailed with airbrushing around his feet, face, and ears. He has an especially youthful and playful appearance, partially because of his extremely large brown pupil eyes. This piece was produced in two sizes, 17 and 25 cm, from 1957 through 1970.

Now the squirrel. This squirrel is called Perri, and he was made between 1959 and 1983 in three sizes: 12, 17, and 22 cm. The 17 and 22 cm versions came with a little velvet nut, so Steiffgal suspects yours is the 12 cm size. Perri is made from mohair, is unjointed, has monofilament whiskers, and a fabulous tail made from especially long and thick mohair. His little hands and feet are made from tan felt; his black eyes are backed in felt as well. His body is expertly airbrushed in several shades of brown, orange, and even a mustard-y yellow. Perri is based on the squirrel from the Walt Disney movie called "True Life Adventures", Vol. 4, which was produced in 1957.

Onto the beaver (one of Steiffgal's personal favs...). This beaver is called Nagy, and he was manufactured in three sizes: 10, 17, and 25 cm - from 1958 through 1978. Nagy's body is made from brown, tan, and coffee colored mohair, while his tail, hands, and feet are made from felt. (Steiffgal is especially fond of the "spike-y" tipped mohair on his back, which is very similar to the mohair used as the hair on the very famous Steiff Mecki and Macki hedgehog doll family.) One of the things that makes this piece so adorable is the detailing on his open pink felt mouth, including a set of tiny felt buck teeth.

Next is the chipmunk, but not really. This little buddy is actually Murmy Marmot. A marmot is a rodent and closely related to the squirrel family. They are better known in Europe than here in the US; the word "marmot" roughly translates into the word "Alps Mouse". This Steiff Murmy was produced from 1960 through 1964 in 10 and 14 cm. He is made from brown tipped and airbrushed mohair, is unjointed, has tiny felt feet and hands, and a bushy mohair tail (unlike Nagy who has a felt one).

It is good to end on a wise note, so let's talk now about your owl. This popular and well known model is called Uhu Wittie, or Wittie Owl. Wittie as a plaything was produced from 1954 through 1977 in four sizes: 10, 14, 22, and 35 cm. Wittie is made from mohair and is unjointed; he has marvelous airbrushed detailing on his body, huge green glass pupil eyes, and charming tufts of black hair on his forehead. One of the things that is quite remarkable about this piece in any size is his enormous felt feet. Whittie was also produced as a popular hand puppet from 1955 through 1978.

Now onto the question that pains Steiffgal the most... how much are these items worth? As always, Steiffgal is not an appraiser and strongly believes that something is "worth" what someone else will pay for it. Additionally, poor economic times tend to favor buyers over sellers. That all being said, in terms of collectibility, the Changeable Rabbit is probably most attractive to collectors. Steiffgal has seen similar Changeable Rabbits recently sell at auction in the $50 - 75 range. The other items, although adorable and desirable, appear relatively frequently on the secondhand market. They usually auction in the $25 - 40 range each.

Steiffgal's best advice? Hold onto them and keep them together as a group to honor your Grandmother's legacy. Clearly woodland animals were important to her and to her heritage for some reason. Bring them out at Christmas, and toast your Grandmother's very good taste with a hot toddy or two! :-)

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2 comments:

  1. Thanks SteiffGal. I loved the details you were able to give me about each of the animals.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I also want to lear how to make such toys...

    ReplyDelete

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