Monday, December 21, 2009

Steiff's 12 Days of Christmas - Part 1

Here's a little known fact... the 12 days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas day and last through January 5th! This special time, also known as Christmastide, inspired the universally beloved Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The "cumulative style" carol was first published in England in 1780. All of this got Steiffgal thinking... what would the 12 days of Steiff Christmas look like? Alot of Steiff! So here is part one - days one through six. Check back here early next week for part two - days seven through twelve!

Now, without further adieu, let's strike up the band and get started!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...a partridge in a pear tree. Surprisingly, Steiffgal cannot find any indication that Steiff ever commercially produced a partridge bird in any of her reference books. New product idea, perhaps? Since a partridge is a mostly grey, chubby bird with red feet, this little fellow will have to do the trick for now. Here's a vintage, well loved 12 cm Steiff Fink or finch from 1955 through 1957. He is made from mohair and has tiny red metal legs.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me...two turtle doves. Interestingly, the German word for dove and pigeon is the same... Taube. The first taube appeared in the Steiff line in 1894 - just two years after the debut catalog of 1892 - as a white felt bird on an elastic string. This modern clip-on dove is 10 cm, made from white alpaca, and has lovely airbrushed felt wing and tail feathers. She was produced in 2004 as part of the North American limited edition collection.

On the third
day of Christmas my true love gave to me...three French hens. Steiffgal hopes you enjoy this tourist photo, taken of Woll-Henne or Woolen Hen, on her most recent trip to Paris! Hen is one of Steiff's famous "woolen miniatures", the tiny "pom-pom" style animals Steiff first introduced in the 1930's. This particular 8 cm hen was produced from 1949 through 1982 and has a red felt comb, grey felt tail feathers, yellow felt beak, googly plastic eyes, and red metal legs. She was also manufactured in the identical pattern pre-war from 1938 through 1943.

On the fourt
h day of Christmas my true love gave to me...four calling birds. Steiffgal can't imagine a better bird-buddy to have on the phone than a parrot! This is Papagei Lora, or Lora Parrot. She is 12 cm, is made from brightly colored mohair, has felt feet, a delicately detailed facial mask, a rubber beak, and piercing green pupil eyes. She appeared in the Steiff catalog from 1962 through 1976. She was also produced in 22 cm from 1962 through 1974. The first Steiff parrot was appeared in the catalog in 1892 and was made from felt; she was available with or without a wire swing for display.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...five golden rings. Well, Steiff hasn't entered the fine jewelry business yet, but Steiffgal is saving her pennies for that day if it ever comes! In the meantime, check out this all-season sparkler, the Steiff Swarovski Teddy bear pendant! Teddy is 2.8 cm, has a gold-plated muzzle, eartag, and paws, and is covered head to toe in 120 clear hand-set Swarovski crystals. His eyes and nose are black enamel. That's some blinged-out bear!

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...six geese a' laying. To mark the halfway point in our Steiff twelve days of Christmas review, here we have a darling trio of Steiff geese. The goose on the far right is Gans Tulla or Tulla goose. Tulla was produced from 1952 through 1974 in 12, 17, and 28 cm. Tulla is made from white mohair and has delightfully playful orange felt webbed feet and beak. The goose on the left and in the middle is Kuschi Gans, or Kuschi goose. Kuschi was produced in 12 cm from 1962 through 1970 as a "special order" promotional item for a bedding company. The only difference between Tulla and Kuschi is that Kuschi is detailed with white feathers on her tail or head.

Readers, Steiffgal hopes part one of the Steiff "Twelve Days of Christmas" review has put a happy holiday song in your heart. Check back in a few days for part two!

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

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