Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Eyes Have It

Eye yey yey. Steiffgal finds herself a lady of leisure after falling victim to hard economic times at work. She is sure than many readers too can relate to this common recessionary situation! To keep things looking up, she did a quick survey of her collection to discover the top five eyes - for better or worse - featured on her Steiff items. Jeepers creepers, just take a look at these peepers!

Fifth "eyes on the prize" place: Blingy eyes...
Diamonds, and really anything sparkly, are truly a girl's best friend, a
nd Steiffgal is no different here. Take a look at these lovely jewel-hued eyes on a truly blinged-out bruin! The hand blown pink glass pupil eyes belong to Steiff's truly unique Haute Couture Teddy. 500 of these fashion-forward bears were produced as a worldwide limited edition for Steiff Club members in 2005. Paris Hilton, oops, I mean Haute Couture, is 33 cm, five ways jointed, and is covered in a hand woven tweed fabric covered in silver holographic sequins. Her paw pads are made from nubby pink silk. Pink eyes are really unusual on Steiff animals; Steiffgal recalls only seeing them on a vintage white rabbits!

Forth "eyes on the prize" place: Sleepy eyes...
These heavy-lidded lovelies belong to Treff the b
loodhound. The Treff pictured here on the left is 28 cm, made from blonde mohair, and is head-jointed; he was produced from 1928 - 1938 in 9 sizes ranging from 7 to 50 cm. Treff made his debut in 1928 and appeared in many forms: sitting; standing; as a ride on animal, music box, a pin cushion, and as a puppet. His eyes are brown hand blown glass with a black pupil. Treff has deeply embedded eyes in prominent eye pockets; this is one of the details about his design that makes Treff so appealing 70 years on. Collectors might also recognize this "distinctively" Steiff eye treatment on vintage Jocko monkeys and llamas.

Third "eyes on the prize" place: Crow's feet eyes...
Someone please pass the Oil of Olay
to this otherwise perfect parrot! This studio sweetheart is none other than Lora Papagei, or Lora the Parrot. Lora is 30 cm, made from primarily red and yellow knitted fur, has fabulous wired felt feet, and a very lifelike rubber face and beak. Lora's best friend is Yuku the Parrot, an almost identical Steiff studio parrot, except in blue, yellow, and green. Lora has wonderful gold colored plastic eyes with black pupils; they are seamlessly integrated into her wrinkled facial mask. It is very interesting to note that these birds have been an important part of the Steiff menagerie since the very beginning; 14, 18, 22, and 26 cm versions of a standing felt parrot were featured in the debut catalog of 1892.

Secon
d "eyes on the prize" place: "Ol' blue eyes" eyes...
You can't help but want to break into song when you look into these dreamy azure colored
eyes. These peepers belong to Mungo, the Multicolored Monkey. Steiffgal guesses that Mungo is probably a Mandrill, a primate with dramatic facial features and coloring. A mohair, beautifully airbrushed, head jointed Mungo was produced from 1957 through 1971 in 17, 25, and 35 cm. He was also manufactured as an 18 cm puppet from 1957 - 1971. This design is so loved by collectors that Steiff reintroduced a 22 cm Mungo replica in 1995 through 1998. Like the pink eyes noted above on the Haute Couture Teddy, blue eyes are relatively unusual on Steiff products as well. Looking around her collection, Steiffgal only notes them on a few special Teddy bears, some advertising characters, and a handful of cloth childlike dolls from the 1970's.

Grand "eyes on the prize" prize: Devil eyes (were you expecting angel eyes here?)...
Ok, well Steiffgal can't help but be attracted to the "dark side" given her new set of life circumstances! These pert white and black plastic peepers belong to Steiff's Hand-Teufel, or Hand Devil puppet. This Halloween favorite is 27 cm and was manufactured from 1980 through 1983. His body and face are red trevira velvet; his hands are red felt; and his hair, ruff, and tail tip are made from black woven fur. They say the devil is in the details; Steiff has a "harrowing history" of producing scary Satans, starting with a series of felt Devil dolls manufactured from 1913 through 1918.

Steiffgal hopes this countdown helps readers keep their eyes on the Steiff prize!
Always look upwards... when one door closes, another one opens. Just gotta be on the watch for it!

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

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