Friday, November 13, 2009

Steiff's Very Own First Lady

She made her debut on the world's stage in 1953 and is known for her iconic sense of style and distinct femininity. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, perhaps? Or Steiff's very own Jackie Teddy? You wouldn't be wrong either way. Take a look at this note from a reader who asks about a Steiff Teddy from the early 50's. Carolyn writes...

"Dear Steif
fgal: I came across your blog in searching Google to identify this little Steiff bear I bought at a recent estate sale.

  • She has a silver color metal tag with raised letter Steiff in cursive, no underlining of the ff.
  • She is jointed and approximately 6 1/2" tall.
  • She has felt pads on her hands and feet and has four stitched claws.
  • She has glass eyes and I think there is a dried out squeaker.
  • She is mohair and I think I see the faint remains of airbrushing around her ankles. She is dirty and faded but adorable nonetheless.
  • She is straw stuffed and I think there is some stitching missing across the nose.
Do you think this could possibly be a Jackie? I appreciate your help and enjoyed reading your blog. It encourages me to tend to mine.

Best, Carolyn"

Oh, Jackie... Steiffgal is quite certain that this little lady is an original Steiff Jackie Teddy bear. Jackie is light blond mohair, five ways jointed, and has a distinctly round and chubby appearance. Jackie was produced in 17, 25, 35, and 75 cm from 1953 through 1955 only. Carolyn's Jackie corresponds to the smallest 17 cm version. Jackie was produced in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Teddy bear - specifically the 50th anniversary of the registration of 55PB at the Heidenheim district court in 1903.

This particular Jackie is well loved and is missing several of the design details that she had when she left the factory in Giengen almost 60 years ago. These include a light pink stitch across the nose, an airbrushed belly button, and lots of facial airbrushing. New, all Jackies also had a raised script ear button and a white fabric "US Zone" tag sewn in their arm seam, and came with a small full color celebration booklet.

Jackie also has a
few very distinctive body details that don't wear away with love over time. First, her hand are proportionally large for her chubby arms and don't have the break at the wrist as many Steiff bears do. Second, she is shorter and plumper, especially in the middle, than other Steiff bears made in, and before, her era. And third, her mouth is a very wide "V" shape, sort of pouty and "girly" while other Steiff bears of her time have/had a very sharp pointed "V" mouth. The picture on the left, which was taken from Gunther Pfeiffer's 1947 -2003 Sortiment Book, shows the original Jackie so readers can compare her now and then.

Steiffgal advises cleaning this mohair treasure as carefully as possible
. Here's how:

  • First, remove as much surface dirt and dust as possible by shaking her vigorously and then vacuuming her very gently and at a distance.
  • Clean her surface mohair with a very weak solution of water and gentle dish detergent - just very sparingly moisten a washcloth and rub her down with the damp cloth. You'll be surprised what comes off!
  • Let her naturally air dry away from the sun and heat sources.
  • Gently fluff her up with a brush or comb.
Carolyn, Steiffgal hopes that this information is helpful to you... congrats on this wonderful find and please enjoy this special "first lady" of a Teddy bear!

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

4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for your wonderful friendly responses and help. You are a treasure...I cannot say it enough. So many times internet communication becomes sharp, critical and disappointing. Never here...Anyone, please, please contact Steiff Gal with your treasured collection questions..

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  2. What a fun site. I recently went to a Steiff event and the man running it was the most genuine, nicest man. At least I think he was running it. Everyone treated him like the boss.

    Then there was another tall dark haired man who was just awful. Treated me, well, anyway. Guess you can't have everything.

    But it was great. It was cold, and wet in October, but I can't wait for next year.

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  3. hi, i have a very early steiff peter rabbit up for auction with Bonhams at there sale rooms in knowle on the 21st of december...please contact mrs gotch at bonhams for further information....many thanks.

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  4. tell me something, you made all this teddy bears? I mean if you manufactured by yourself? because if this is the case I must to congratulate you for that incredible talent.

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