Sunday, December 27, 2009

Steiff's 12 Days of Christmas - Part 2

... And picking right up where we left off last week - without further delay - the second part of "Steiff's 12 Days of Christmas!"

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me... seven swans a-swimming. Take a look at this lovely all black swan, which as far as Steiffgal can tell, is the only one Steiff has ever made! Schwan, or swan, is 20 cm, unjointed, and made from women fur. She has tiny red webbed feet and a red beak. She was produced from 1983 through 1985 and also came in all white. The first Steiff swan appeared in the 1892 debut catalog; according to the 1892 - 1943 Steiff Sortiment book, she was described as "felt, white, lying in a nest of knitted moss, colorful felt pad, painted, also usable as an ink wiper." Boy, how times have changed!

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...eight maids-a-milking. Let's make it "chocolate milking" to add a little holiday fun to our story! Milka Kuh or Milka Cow is one of the best known and loved advertising characters in Germany. This purple cow is the logo of Kraft Food's specialty chocolate brand Jacobs Suchard, which has been in business since 1901. It is thought that her name, Milka, came about from combining Milch and Kakao (the German words for milk and cocoa, the candy's primary ingredients.) Milka is made from purple and white woven fur and wears a leather color and bell. She was produced in 23, 32, and 75 cm (the largest being a special window display piece) and appeared in the Steiff catalog from 1997 through 2003.

On the
ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... nine ladies dancing. And oh so prettily! From 2004, this is the "Vienna Ballerina Teddy Bear", a limited edition of 1,500 pieces produced exclusively for Austria. She is five ways jointed, made from apricot mohair, and stands 32 cm tall. She is elegantly dressed in a silken tutu and wears laced-up ballet shoes. And what is dance without music? This dancing darling comes with a music box that plays the "Wiener Blut" or "Viennese Blood Waltz", a popular piece of classical music composed by Johann Strauss II in 1871.

On the te
nth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... ten lords-a-leaping. Now here Steiffgal must confess.. that this is her FAVORITE day, and favorite gift, in this version of Steiff's 12 days of Christmas. Imagine these "Lords" a-leaping. Here we have Lord, the Great Dane, which Steiff produced from 1932 through 1936. (This picture is from Pfeiffer's 1892 - 1943 Steiff Sortiment book... a "must have" resource for all things Steiff.) Lord is sitting, unjointed, and made from a hearty fabric which has been carefully airbrushed with brown spots. He was produced in 17, 22, and 28 cm. He was also manufactured in a similar standing design, during the same time period. Lord was the first, and as far as Steiffgal can tell, the last Great Dane produced by Steiff.

On the ele
venth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...eleven pipers piping. There's no rule that pipers can't be heavenly, right? That being the case, this Teddy bear angel with a transverse flute ornament from Steiff's 2004 worldwide limited edition holiday collection should fit the bill here just fine. This perfect piper is 11 cm, five ways jointed, made from blonde mohair, and is adorned in a sky-blue gown to match her distinctive eyes. Of course, she has her requisite angel-wings. And just what is a transverse flute? It's a relatively simple, ancient wind instrument, possibly first seen in Chinese art from the 9th century BC.

Drum roll to t
he finale here please... on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... twelve drummers drumming. But why just stick with drums when the whole band is available to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas? Here we have Steiff's wonderful and highly collectible Circus Band Set from 1988 and 1989. The set, which was made in an edition size of 5,000 for the USA, consists of five fabulous musicians, including a Teddy bandmaster (bottom left), a dog trombone player (top center), a cat with a drum (top right), a lion with a tuba (top left) and a crocodile with a trumpet (bottom right.) Each player is 19 cm, fully jointed, dressed to the nines in their marching attire, and made from mohair. These jolly players were part of the larger Steiff "Golden Age of the Circus" series, which included clowns, acrobats, balloon sellers, a fat lady, fire eaters, strong men, and other traditional "big top" entertainers.

Readers, Steiffgal hopes that this Steiff-y take on the twelve days of Christmas has helped to set you up for a very happy New Year's celebration and a healthy, successful, and personally fulfilling 2010.

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

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