Monday, October 19, 2009

Come On A (Steiff) Safari With Me

Anyone interested in going on a (virtual) vintage Steiff safari with Steiffgal? Well, pack your bags and camera and take a look at the Steiff treasures Steiffgal spotted while out antiquing with her friend Egypto-mama (named so for her love of all things Egyptian) last weekend. They attended the Greater Boston Antiques Festival, which is held at the Shriner's Auditorium in Wilmington, Massachusetts a few times each year.

So let's get started on our adventure...

Check out this blond mohair "mask" Teddy with his little Possy friend. They were just hanging out at one of the first booths that Steiffgal visited. Teddy is from the 1980's and the squirrel is from the 1960's. Both are in great condition and look simply adorable together!

Next, Steiffgal came across this darling seasonal display of 1950- and 1960- era Steiff items. Here we have a large mohair Susi cat, two Cockie Cocker Spaniels (with their precious velvet mouths and muzzles), and a little grey Tessie Schnauzer in absolutely like-new condition.

Steiffgal feels like an ... well, donkey... about this find. This is mohair Esel Donkey in an unusual 22 cm size. He is from the mid 1950's. Check out his sweet expression and original leather brindle and reins. Steiffgal thought about buying him at the time and walked away "to think about it". Needless to say, he was long gone once she returned to claim him.

Moving along, this happy Zotty Teddy got Steiffgal all smiles again. Zotty is the 22 cm size and was "born" in the mid 1960's.

The next fun find was this dolly stroller filled with vintage playthings. Of course, the brown Teddy baby caught Steiffgal's eye from across the show floor! This well-loved model is 28 cm and appeared to be from the early 1950's. "Babysitting" this ensemble is the relatively rare mohair Diggy Dach or Diggy Badger, who is 17 cm and was only made for one year - 1963.

Here's a real show stopper! Steiffgal stumbled upon this very vintage Steiff Teddy on wheels which was nestled in a corner of a remote aisle booth. He even wears what appears to be an original leather collar! This "big boy" is 50 cm and very "stocky." (Steiffgal means this in the most loving way.) His metal wheels date him pre-1920 as wooden wheels were used from 1921 onward. This very popular model appeared in the Steiff catalog from 1901 through 1935 in a large range of sizes.

Is this adventure putting you to sleep? Steiffgal certainly hopes not! Here we have a pair of sleeping Steiff Lamms or Floppy Lambies in the smaller 17 cm size; they were also produced in 28 cm. These very sweet twin girls are made from wool plush and were part of the Steiff line from 1970 through 1977. They bring new meaning to the phrase "counting sheep" at bedtime, no?

The last highlight of the Steiff safari is a goofy basketful of giggles, literally! Steiffgal's heart began to race when she saw this collection of vintage Steiff items just waiting to be explored at a booth at the tail end of the exhibit hall. Here you can see a Teddy baby puppet, a Mecki hedgehog doll, a velvet frog puppet, a Robby seal, and other wonderful surprises. But dear readers, since you have been patient and have come to the end of our Steiff safari, Steiffgal will now reveal what two items she purchased WHICH WERE HIDING AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS TREASURE TROVE...

Now Steiffgal is sure that many of you are about to start scratching your heads and saying... huh?
Yes, what you
are going to see is only half Steiff. But that's ok! Really!

First, take a lo
ok at the tiny 10 cm mohair standing Steiff Arco puppy on the left of the picture. This particular model was produced only from 1959 through 1961. He is in absolutely like new condition; it is as if his handsome black and brown airbrushing were applied yesterday. His yellow ear tag and chest tags are crisp and readable and his red collar is original.

Now check out the mohair Disney Goofy made by Schuco - yes Schuco. Goofy is 14 inches tall and unjointed, although his body is flexible due to his internal wire armature. His face, feet, and arms are mohair; his hands, shirt, and mouth are felt; his ears are velvet; and his overalls and body underneath his clothing are made from cotton fabric. Schuco, a German toy manufacturer who made mohair bears and novelties from the 1920's through the 1970's, partnered with the Walt Disney Company in the 1950s through 1970's to produce a series of characters including Goofy, Pluto, and Lady and the Tramp, among other familiar friends. This Goofy, although not Steiff, is a great example of exceptionally fine German craftsmanship and is a highly sought-after collectible - even without the Steiff pedigree.

After all, you need all sort of friends, right?

Readers, Steiffgal hopes you had as much fun reading about this Steiff safari as Steiffgal had experiencing it for you!

a question about one of your Steiff treasures, found on a safari or elsewhere? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

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