Friday, August 14, 2009

Feline Groovy About Vintage Steiff Kittens

It's always the cat's meow when a reader asks about a favorite Steiff item. Take a look at this note from Dawn, who wants to learn more about her tiny, beloved kitten.

"So here is my little gal~


I bought this little Gussy Steiff cat many years ago when I was a little girl at a yard sale, for $0.25.

She didn’t have her button or tag, so I didn’t know she was a Steiff until last year. She is about 4 inches tall and 4 inches long. I believe she is stuffed with excelsior as she is very firm and makes that little crackling noise when she is squeezed.

She has what looks like clear nylon whiskers and her little head turns left and right. Her fur is plush and her ears are felt. She had a little blue ribbon that she wore around her neck, but it was loved off long ago as I gently played with her.

I used to take her everywhere with me!
What do you think of my little cat? I'd love to know how old she is. Thanks, Steiffgal!"

This fabulous feline is none other than Junges Kaetzchen Gussy or Young Kitty Gussy. Gussy is head jointed and made from mohair. Her four paws, tail, and ears are black, while her body is primarily white with a few black airbrushed spots. She has piercing green pupil eyes and a pink embroidered nose and mouth. One of the features about Gussy that makes her so lovely, and in-demand with collectors, is her very light pink velvet muzzle. Gussy was produced from 1952 through 1969 in two sizes, 12 and 17 cm. Dawn's Gussy is the 12 cm sized version. The 17 cm Gussy features an open mouth, which is extremely unusual for Steiff cats.

Cats are a very important breed for Steiff; they have been
in the catalog since it was first published in 1892. As a matter of fact, at least 6 cat designs were featured in the charter edition! Post WWll, Steiff began including more petite scale mohair animals to their product line. This was done in part because around this time, collecting Steiff in the US - a key target market - really started to become popular and the smaller items were more affordable and easier to display. Cats, of course, played a big role in this expansion. Some of the most popular and well known felines produced during this period, in addition to Gussy, include:

Susi: a sitting, head jointed cat, produced from 1948 through 1978 in 10, 12, 14, 17, and 22 cm (pictured here wearing a little bell).

Kitty: a five ways fully jointed cat, produced from 1949 through 1970 in 10, 17, and 22 cm (pictured here in her original pink ribbon).

Tabby: a standing, head jointed cat, produced from 1949 through 1977 in 7, 10, 14, and 17 cm (pictured here cuddling with the larger curled up Fiffy cat).

Tapsy: a standing, head jointed cat, produced from 1959 through 1966 in 8, 11, 15, and 18 cm.

Snurry: a lying down, sleepy eyed head jointed cat, produced from 1964 through 1966 in 15, 20, and 25 cm.

Fiffy: a curled up, head jointed cat, produced from 1955 through 1962 in 12, 17, and 25 cm (pictured here with her head resting on Tabby cat).

As for the value of your dear friend... as always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and strongly believes that something is "worth" what someone else will pay for it. A perfect example is this very Gussy... Dawn paid $0.25 for it, yet it has brought several decades of love and enjoyment... which can't really be measured in dollars and cents. However, if readers were interested in purchasing or selling a Steiff Gussy cat today, Steiffgal has recently seen them sell at auction in the $30 - 75 range, depending on size and condition.

Dawn, Steiffgal hopes this information is having you "feline groovy" about your darling Steiff cat!

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

5 comments:

  1. Hiya Steiffgal and thank you SO much for featuring my little Gussy!

    Your knowledge about Steiff animals is amazing, and thank you once again for sharing your expertise!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My pleasure, it is so nice to know that there are other folks out there interested in these wonderful vintage items as well!

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  3. Hello SteiffGal,
    I was wondering what you think a 2001 total set would be worth.
    Can you email me back what you think. Thank you so very much.
    my email is lisa_oborn@yahoo.com.

    Thank you,
    Lisa OBorn

    ReplyDelete
  4. I remember having a cat like the one in the lying down position when I was a child, and when you squeezed it, it would meow or growl by way of some device inside. It seems that its nose was purely heavy gauge stitching; rather than something sewn on for a nose. I also remember waking up one night and looking around in the dark and being scared out of my wits because there were two glowing eyes in the pitch black bedroom staring right at me. After yelling for help, my parents came in and turned on the light; that's when I discovered that my cat's eyes glowed in the dark. I don't think anyone in my family was aware of that until that incident.

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  5. that cat looks like a real cat, not really just look it, is a little creepy I don't want to wake in the morning and look that near of my.

    ReplyDelete

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