Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Location, Location, Location

In real estate, location is everything. And maybe with Steiff items, too? Take a look at this note from a reader who poses a very interesting question about the varying placements of Steiff's namesake "button in ear" trademark.

"Hi SteiffGal,

I have a general question about the attachment of the Steiff button. I've noticed on some online auctions that the Steiff button, specifically the text 'Steiff' appears on the back of the ear; whereas all of my Steiff animals old/new have the 'Steiff' text on t
he front of the ear (that is, the 'Steiff' text is facing the front of the animal/toy).

Are the buttons where the text '
Steiff' is on the back of the ear rarer and a factory mistake (or certain period of time when Steiff did this?) or is this likely someone tempering with the button and put it on backwards?

Thanks in advance for any help in clarifying this, Holly"

What an intriguing question! The button is clearly the Steiff mark of excellence, and has been for over a century. According to the Cieslik's marvelous book, Button in Ear: The History of The Teddy Bear and His Friends, Margarete Steiff, in a newsletter to customers in early 1904, writes: "Trademark - (Elephant with "S" shaped trunk). As of November 1, 1904, I shall identify each article without exception, with a small nickel-plated button in the left ear. Our logo is stamped on these buttons and is legally protected." Steiff actually owns the patent on the words "Button - in Ear", not the actual button itself.

This question inspired Steiffgal to do a little research on her own Steiff collection. Clearly, Steiff has made thousands of items and Steiffgal's limited collection only represents the "tip of the tip" of the Steiff "iceberg of products" ever made. But the goal here was to uncover some trends in button placement location over time. To that end, Steiffgal surveyed several hundred items in nine basic categories from 1910 - present to see:

  • Which in her collection had the button facing inward (i.e., if you looked at the item face on, the button would be facing you and located on the "inside" of the ear, as shown on the Teddy above), and...
  • Which in her collection had the button facing outward (i.e., if you looked at the item face on, the button would be located face out on the "outside" of the ear, as shown on the Jocko above), and...
  • Which in her collection had buttons in places other than the left ear in any orientation.

Here's what she found. First, the easy stuff:

  • Cats: all of Steiffgal's cats have inward buttons in their left ears.
  • Bears: all of Steiffgal's Teddys have inward buttons in their left ears.
  • Rabbits: all of Steiffgal's rabbits have inward buttons in their left ears.
  • "Jungle/Circus" (lions, camels, tigers, etc.) animals: all of Steiffgal's wild animals have inward buttons in their left ears.
  • Farm animals (pigs, goats, cows, etc.): all of Steiffgal's farm friends have inward buttons in their left ears.

Now the more complicated stuff:


Birds: Placement varies considerably. Smaller vintage pom-pom and mohair birds, as seen here on the left, generally have their yellow flag wrapped around their left leg; this flag is then held in place with a Steiff button. Some larger birds like penguins and owls have inward buttons attached to their wings while others like the kiwi have a yellow tag with a button sewn into a hind seam. Interestingly, a small mohair chick and a plush rooster have outward buttons on their wings. Very hard to see any pattern here!


Monkeys: Jockos produced before 1952 all seem to have outward facing buttons. Jockos with the raised script style buttons, which appeared from 1952 - 1969, can either have their buttons inward or outward, it was about a 50 - 50 split. All Jockos with the lentil button, (as shown on the monkey on the left) which appeared from 1969 - 1978, have inward facing buttons. Moving forward, all Jockos from 1978 onward have inward facing buttons. These findings are for Jocko puppets as well as toys ranging from pocket sized to 50 cm.


Dogs: The vast majority have inward facing buttons (as demonstrated on the Revue Susi on the left), even in cases where it would have been much easier to have them outward facing, as in the case of the Fox terrier with tiny, inward folded ears. However, there are a few exceptions of outward buttons, like the Dangling Dog with the gardening vest from 1981 - 1985; the 1983 Collector's edition Boxer (shown on the left), and both the beautiful and lifelike Hassan and Lumpi mohair Labradors from a handful of years back.


Studio and licensed items: Lifesized studio animals generally have their buttons in a place that does not detract from their looking "real", even if the item has ears. For example, on the studio gorilla pictured on the left, the button and yellow flag is located discretely on his fur collar, and on a studio biermonk (beer monk), the button is placed at the bottom of his long flowing robe. The same button "discretion" appears to be true for newer specialty "logo" characters, like the Danone Banana (pictured above) and the Pinga and Pingu Penguin set from 2000, perhaps for trademark and licensing reasons.

So what are the take home lessons here from this limited survey?

First, location does matter. Every product has the button in the left ear - or left-ish - hemisphere of their body. Be very suspect if you come across an item claiming to be a Steiff with a "right sided" button.

Second, button orientation matters less than location. Most items have inward facing buttons, but legitimate outward facing buttons do make an appearance every now and again. It's not a factory "mistake".

Finally, appearance ultimately counts alot. In studio, special orders, or licensed products, the button may be placed in a prominent location, albeit away from the face. This may be to keep the design as lifelike or true to brand as possible. If you come across one of these treasures and don't find an ear button, look a little harder on the left hand side of the item; the button may be "hiding" on a seam tag, design detail, item of clothing, or accessory.

Holly, Steiffgal is not certain she answered your question, but she had an awful lot of fun trying to map this all out for you!

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

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Mane Event

Steiffgal's not lyin' when she says she roared with excitement over this inquiry from a northern neighbor. Take a look at this note from Sarah, who writes about a century-old family heirloom.

“Hi!

I'm writing from Canada's far east: Newfoundland. I have a Steiff lion that belonged to my dad in 1908. It's not in great condition: it's old.... he’s about 9 3/4 inches high, and between 12-13 inches stem to stern (excluding his tail). He has a little Steiff button in his left ear, which is so small I can barely see the writing even with a magnifying glass. His front paws have become disjointed from the wheels. Still, it's a dear piece.

I have to sell many of my things and was wondering if you could give me some guidance. Our family originated in the Niagara peninsula, and in that area is where the lion was likely purchased.

Thanks, Sarah"

This is a lovely Steiff Loewe, or Lion on wheels from the early part of last century. Lion is unjointed; his body is constructed from light brown short mohair while his mane and the tip of his tail are made from longer wavy tipped mohair. He rides on metal wheels. This design has (or had, when new…) many details that make him “king of the jungle”: a pink vertically stitched nose, brown glass pupil eyes, black embroidered claws, and precise airbrushing around his eyes and nose. This particular model was produced from about 1909 through 1921 in eight sizes, ranging from 22 through 120 cm. The smaller sizes were pull toys while the larger sizes (50 cm plus) were ride-on animals that came with sturdier carriages and a steering option.

Lions, both on and off wheels, are legacy products for Steiff. The first Steiff lions, both with and without wheels, made their debut in the 1894 Steiff catalog. These had bodies made from felt but are remarkably similar otherwise in appearance to Sarah’s mohair lion. Felt lions were produced through 1907. In terms of product evolution timelines, Steiff began using mohair in addition to felt as a standard material in 1903 so it makes perfect sense that this item transitioned from felt to mohair in the early 1900’s.

The reader mentions a “little Steiff button in his left ear which is so small I can barely see the writing even with a magnifying glass.” Based on the dating of the item, this would be the 1909 though 1936 version of the Steiff button, which has the word “Steiff” in capital letters with the last “F” extended into a long arc. Here on the left is a close up of what this button most likely looks like from another Steiff item of the same generation. The button is really tiny… about 3 or 4 millimeters and is pewter-colored.

As for the value of this lovely lion... as always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and strongly believes that something is "worth" what someone else will pay for it. Poor economic times tend to favor buyers over sellers; so don’t sell unless you really have to! On the other hand, legacy wheeled items like this lion that have their pre-war button are always in demand by collectors. That all being said, Steiffgal has recently seen an almost identical item in similar condition sell on an online auction for close to $600.

Sarah, it gives Steiffgal great pride to provide you with the mane background concerning your family’s lion!

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

Friday, July 24, 2009

Look What I Found!

Coming across vintage Steiff collectibles in the most unexpected places is certainly a thrill. And to Steiffgal, hearing the story behind exciting finds is like... music to her ears! Speaking of memorable finds, here is an article that Steiffgal wrote for the wonderful magazine Teddy Bear and Friends that was published a few years back. Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Look What I Found!

Here is the story about how one of Steiffgal's most unusual Steiff items, a 1928 - 1931 Musical Molly, came a
bout.

Steiffgal was on a business trip in a small town in North Carolina. She was traveling with some colleagues and stopped for lunch before her next series of appointments in the afternoon. The team
went to a charming outdoor cafe and had their meal. Steiffgal then looked across the street from the restaurant and noticed an antique store. Since the team had an hour before their next meeting, Steiffgal asked if they would be interested in taking a look in the store. Everyone agreed, and they headed in.

The store was chock full of vintage household items, but Steiffgal did not really see anything of interest to add to her antique toy collection. Then she noticed a tan mohair item on a shelf in a corner vitrene. She couldn't really make out what it was, and it looked like it had been there for awhile. She asked the shopkeeper if she could take a look at the item in the case.

Steiffgal pulled it out of the vitrene and immediately knew it was a Steiff Molly of some sort... but there was something odd about it. The eyes, nose-stitching, knot behind the head, sitting position, and tipped mohair were giveaways to its brand and origin. But the ears-- strange-- they looked like someone had taken them off and sewed them on again, but backwards, so they stuck up and out like "bat ears". Perhaps so the pup would look more like the original owner's real dog? A true mystery. The pink velvet lining of the ears had the telltale hole and imprint where the Steiff button was at one point, but it had been removed or lost, unfortunately.

Steiffgal was delighted with her find. But something still was puzzling. Molly's backside was really heavy and stiff. Steiffgal's first thought was that her voice box had shifted over time downwards to her rump. She started feeling around and squeezed her sides gently for more clues. As she did so, music clear as a bell came from Molly's hidden bellows. Steiffgal was in shock and disbelief-- here in a tiny town in the United States, so far away from Giengen, Germany where Molly was born-- she had found a true Steiff treasure in perfect working order.

Being on the road and away from her trusted Steiff Sortiment book, Steiffgal called a friend from the road to describe the find and to ask that he look her up in the reference book. He confirmed that Steiffgal indeed had stumbled across the 25 cm 1928 - 1931 Musik-Molly or Musical Molly. According to this authoritative Steiff reference, Molly is described as "mohair plush, brown/white, sitting, Swiss music-box, music plays when pressed and released." This information is found on page 129 of the Steiff Sortiment 1892-1943 reference book.

Further research on this piece from the Cieslik's comprehensive book: Button in Ear: The History of the Teddy Bear and His Friends, reveals some additional fun facts. Apparently Steiff produced only 328 of these Musik-Mollys in total. Also from page 220 of this book: "The "Music-Animals" of 1928 were introduced for "cuddling and snuggling-up-to before falling asleep". A Swiss musical box fitted inside the body so that it was invisible, was activated by pressing the animal's body to play the melody. A clown (14 and 17 in) and approximately 20 animals (7 to 12 in) were put into production: "Teddy", "
Petsy", "Bully", and "Charly" (standing and sitting), "Treff", "Molly", "Fluffy" {a cat}, "Cherio", {a cartoon dog popular at the time}, "Fellow", and a lamb. Another model was fitted with a voice box which was activated by turning the animal's tail. However, sales of these animals were minimal and there were last sold in 1930/1931."

As for the ears, Steiffgal decided to keep them as found and not repair them to their original state. She loves the mystery that this adds to a very unique collectible.

Oh, and since you were probably wondering, Steiffgal paid $35 for her. Music to Steiffguy's (the one who balances the checkbook) ears.

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The "Maserati" Of Steiff Mobile Monkeys

Steiff Life readers, we are on a roll... both with Steiff collectibles on wheels as well as wonderful Steiff monkeys! Let's put the pedal to the metal here and get into the fast lane with this question from Gary, who writes from California:

"Hello,

I rec
eived the attached monkey a number of years ago as a gift and I was told that it was a Steiff item from the 1930's. I have searched a number of sites and found your site. It appears that you should have been I came to first to ask about the toy. I want to insure it, so I needed to know if it is real or a representation of a Steiff. Or, was it made by another company?

His details...the monkey is made from felt. He is about 8"
tall and long, and his carriage is about 6" tall and long. When you pull him along, he goes "up and down". His head is jointed and he has a tail. He retains his Steiff "button in ear."

Thank you in advance for you comments and thoughts on my
behalf."

This little driver here is what Richard Petty is to NASCAR...the KING of the road! Your Affe, or Monkey, was produced from 1912 through 1929 in two sizes, 17 and 22 cm. (Steiffgal guesses that you have the 22 cm version, which probably "shrunk" a bit over time, which happens sometimes with felt and excelsior stuffing.) He is made from brown felt, has a tan face and ears, and is head jointed. He has (or had) delicate airbrush detailing around his eyes and mouth. He wears a clown's neck ruff and pom-pom hat. He retains his Steiff button, placed on the exterior facing side of the ear, as was common in vintage Steiff monkeys. Monkey rides on a cart with wooden Steiff logo'ed "eccentric wheels", meaning that he bobs up and down when you pull him along.

Gary's felt monkey design is an early classic for Steiff. A similar but more primitive felt monkey made its debut in the catalog in 1894, two years after the first Steiff catalog debuted in 1892. This earlier design was updated and detailed with a playful neck ruff and hat in 1912 and appeared in one form or another through 1927. The hat and ruff accessorized felt monkey also appeared as a tumbler or roly-poly (sitting on a wooden half-ball which wobbles about but does not topple), on a wiwag (as one of two characters that rides on a carriage that moves along like a see-saw when pulled; the contemporary replica of this piece is pictured above), on a skittle (sitting atop a small "bowling pin"), and as a lapel pin (just the head).

As for the value of this majestically mobile monkey... just to repeat, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and strongly believes that something is "worth" what someone else will pay for it. Poor economic times tend to favor buyers over sellers; it's a really bad time financially to be a seller! However, this item is quite desirable and will never fall out of favor with collectors; you will always be able to find a new home for him. That all being said, Steiffgal has seen similar 1920's era felt items, and comparable items on wheels recently sell at auction in the $400 - 1,000 range (which seem really low... so hold on to him if you can!)

Gary, Steiffgal hopes that this "look under the hood" of your monkey on wheels gives you a good feel for his legacy, design, and history.

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Smile, And The World Smiles With You

Steiffgal was all a-grin when she received this note about this always-happy looking Steiff Teddy. Take a look at this email from David, who writes from Waunakee, WI...

"Hi,

I received a Steiff Bear from my Grandmother's collection when she passed away a couple of months ago. I have been trying to find out information about it but have had no luck in doing so on the net. Maybe you can help? ....(the number on the eartag is #013287.) The bear is approximately 40 cm tall, has mohair covering, solid black eyes and soft stuffing that has a squeak toy inside its stomach that makes noise when you squeeze it.

Thank you!"

First of all, sincere condolences on the passing of your Grandmother. Steiffgal's paternal Grandmother introduced her to Steiff, and for that and many other reasons Grandmothers are very important to Steiffgal.

Now let's talk Teddy. What you have is what Steiff calls Orsi Teddybaer or Orsi Teddy bear. This Teddy was produced from 1993 through 2001 in three sizes: 30, 40, and 50 cm. The eartag with EAN number 013287 refers to the 40 cm size, which you indeed note above. This brown teddy is actually made from woven fur (not mohair), is five ways jointed, and has a squeaker. His muzzle is made from a complementary light tan colored material and his darling, baby-face features a black stitched nose and shiny pert black eyes. Steiff also made this identical model in the same sizes in blonde woven fur, but only from 1993 through 1996.


There are two things about this bear that are particularly interesting: his name (Orsi), and his open mouth. Steiff has produced about eight bears with the name Orsi from 1952 through 1999. (Here on the left is a picture of the first Steiff Teddy Orsi, who was produced from 1952 through 1962; can you see the "family resemblance"?) Steiffgal suspects that "Orsi" may be a diminutive name derived from the word "oso", which means "bear" in Spanish. In addition, all Steiff Orsi bears have smiling open mouths; rounded, chubby baby faces and bodies; and appear to be designed for fun and play, more so than for collecting.

It is Steiffgal's guess that overall, David's Orsi would be exactly what Margarete Steiff was referring to when she declared, "Only the best is good enough for our children"... way back in 1892!

As for the value of this darling Teddy... again, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and strongly believes that something is "worth" what someone else will pay for it. Poor economic times tend to favor buyers over sellers. Additionally, your Orsi is plush, which generally does not have the value of mohair, and is still relatively new enough that it probably is not on the radar of vintage collectors, who tend to pay a little more for hard-to-find older items. That all being said, Steiffgal has seen similar 1990's era Orsi bears recently sell at auction in the $25 - 75 range.

David, Steiffgal doesn't want to be tongue in cheek here, but she sincerely hope that this information is helpful and brings a smile - just like Orsi's - to your face!

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Valuing The Gift of Legacy

It was like Christmas in July when Steiffgal opened this gift of a question from a reader concerning some now familiar "cold-loving canines." Janet from California writes...

"Hi!

I just read your blog entry about my C
hinook pair. I have attached photos. My sister needs to sell them they were left to her by her 94-year-old German mother in law who fled to the US in 1940... where might she turn to find an honest price for them?...

Thanks so much for ANY info!"

Well, when it rains it pours, or in this case, when it snows it's a blizzard! What a stunning pair of unusual vintage Steiff dogs. Steiff named these canines Chinook Byrds Arctic Expedition Dogs. Readers may recognize this model from a recent My Steiff Life blog posting; click here for the entire history and legacy of this remarkable and rare collectible.

Janet asks a really good question about how to determine a fair value for her Steiff heirlooms. First of all the disclosure: Steiffgal is not in any way an appraiser, just an avid collector and someone who follows auctions closely, so she cannot say with any authority how much any given Steiff item is "worth." This is also the WORST time to be selling collectibles due to the current economic situation, so if you can hold onto your items for awhile it would be good in terms of possible future sales value. That being said... here's Steiffgal's best advice for determining "ballpark" value in a nutshell:

If you have a Steiff item that was manufactured before WWll:

If the article is
in pretty good shape, and you cannot find anything like it online or on eBay, you may want to contact a REPUTABLE major auction house about the item. These include Sotheby's, Christie's, and Skinner, among others. Make sure they have a person on staff who specializes in older toys and playthings; this is critical for an accurate appraisal. DO NOT use a smaller local firm that does not understand the legacy and value of Steiff, even if this seems more convenient at the time. The larger houses may have doll or teddy auctions that will attract the type of buyer who would recognize the value of these items if you are looking to sell.

If you have a Steiff item that was manufactured after WWll:

In general, these items are in greater supply and much easier to value using online sources. Exceptions include very early postwar Teddies, studio (life-sized) animals, and really "oddball" items that were
produced only for a few years through the mid 1960's. If you are confident that you have one of these exceptions, see above advice for pre-war items.

There are a few online sources that can help you find approximate value for "newer" vintage Steiff items. These include Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion; a German auction house, and Vectis, an English auction house; both have frequent Steiff auctions and list sale prices after the event. It is safe to say that something is "worth" what someone else will pay for it, so a hammer price is a good starting place to assess current value.

However, Steiffgal always goes to eBay.com first. There she does an "advanced search" and looks under "completed listings". There you can see what similar items have SOLD for in the recent past. (It is interesting to see what things are listed for pre-sale; but this doesn’t really tell you anything about the market value of them). After reviewing completed listings on the US eBay site, she then goes to the German eBay site for information on international completed listings.

You can do the same, here's how:

1. Go to www.ebay.de
2. Click "Erwiterte Suche" on the top toolbar; you will be taken to a search page
3. Type the name of the Steiff item in the field right under the words "Suchbegriffe oder Artikelnummer eingeben" on the search page
4. Click the box next to the words "Beendete Angebote"
5. Press the blue box with the word "Finden" on it
6. You will be taken to a
sign in page
7. Enter your eBay user name in the field labeled "Mitgliedsname" and password in the field labeled "Passwort" on the sign in page
8. Press the blue box with the word "Einloggen" on it

You will now be looking at what sold on the German eBay site. Prices in green indicate that the item was sold; use the green figures as your pricing benchmarks. The prices listed on the German eBay site are in Euros; as a rule of thumb multiply the number of Euros by 1.4 to get the equivalent price in US dollars.

There are also a number of print reference books concerning Steiff. The most comprehensive include The Steiff Sortiment books; Steiffgal tends to use these for identification more so than valuing. Teddy bear books by Jurgen and Marianne Cieslik, Linda Mullens, Sue Pearson, Ken Yenke, and Leyla Maniera are all highly credible and great sources of information. At last check, Amazon had a healthy selection of titles from all these experts.

Janet, Steiffgal hopes this information is helpful to you as you determine the value behind the two "cold noses and warm hearts" of your precious Steiff collectibles.

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

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Born in the USA (Zone)

Steiffgal's not monkeying around when it comes to Steiff primates! Monkeys have been an important species in the Steiff line for at least a century. And given the number of questions Steiffgal gets about them, it appears that they are as beloved as ever today!

Check out this note from John who writes from New Hampshire:


"Hi Steiff Gal,
I recently came across this piece going through a relative's things - it is 10" tall (sitting position) and appears to be in very good condition.

What can
you tell me about this and any estimate on what it might be worth? Let me know if you need further information."

This cheeky chimp is the well known and popular Jocko. This "lifelike" monkey debuted in 1909; previous to that Steiff monkeys were more cartoonish or humanized, depending on the model. Jocko officially became "Jocko" in 1929; up to then he was simply known as "Schimpanse" or chimpanzee. Over the past 100 years brown Jocko has been produced in 15 sizes, ranging from 10 to 90 cm, at various times from 1909 - 1943, and then again from 1949 - 1990. A white Jocko (with piercing green glass pupil eyes) debuted in 1925. White Jocko was produced in 6 sizes ranging from 10 to 25 cm through 1943, then reappeared post war from 1949 - 1966 in 10, 11, and 15 cm.

Collectors just can't seem to get enough of this adorable ape. Over time, Jocko has appeared as a hand puppet, marionette, tumbling toy, a music box, a small handbag, and even dress
ed as a football player as an exclusive for FAO Schwarz in the early 1970's.

John, the white tag stitched into the seam of the right leg of your Jocko gives solid clues to the date of his manufacture. This tag, known to collectors as the "US Zone Tag", was attached to all Steiff items from 1947 through 1953. This tag is made from thin white cotton or linen material and states: Made in US - Zone Germany. Given all this, it is safe to conclude that your Jocko is an early post World War ll model and was produced between 1949 and 1953, making him between 56 and 60 years old. Perhaps your relative was in the military or took a trip to Europe in the very late 1940's or early 1950's and picked him up then?

The "US Zone Tag" has an interesting story behind it. At the end of WWll, the Allied powers divided Germany west of the Oder-Neisse line into four areas: American, British, French, and Soviet occupational zones. The Americans were responsible for the southern part of Germany, which is where Steiff is located. The forces were tasked at "demilitarizing" Germany, which included shutting down many factories that did, or had the potential to produce items that could be used for combat or aggressive purposes.

When Steiff's very limited postwar production slowly started up again in 1945 - 1946, items could only be sold to the American troops. These restrictions were gradually eased and by 1947 Steiff could sell domestically; by 1949 the company's products were once again available internationally. The "US Zone Tag" insured to the outside world that items produced in Germany were done so in a "civilian" factory and met business and distribution standards set up by the American military government overseeing the occupational zone.

As for the value of this early postwar Jocko... again,
Steiffgal is not an appraiser and strongly believes that something is "worth" what someone else will pay for it. Poor economic times tend to favor buyers over sellers. Additionally, for better or for worse, Jockos appear relatively often on the secondary market. That all being said, Steiffgal has seen similar vintage Jockos recently sell at auction in the $75 - 125 range.

John, Steiffgal hopes this information and "history lesson" tags this collectible as an important part of your relative's legacy!

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

They Call It Puppy Love

There's alot of love going around Steiffgal's home lately as she and Steiffguy (yes, there is a Steiffguy) are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary this week. In Steiffgal's world, love is synonymous with dogs, as 'gal and 'guy share their roof with three of them!


To share the loving feeling, here is a kennel of outstanding vintage Steiff bulldogs that Steiffgal has totally fallen in love with
(oops... she means has seen sell recently at auction.)
These three models are such great examples of Steiff's creativity, quality and humor. Just take a look at these blue ribbon bow-WOWS...!

First is this tiny cream and orange velvet Bully. This colorful canine is 10 cm, has a swivel head, big brown glass pupil eyes, and retains both his Steiff "ff" button and his metal-framed chest tag. This particular Bully model was produced from 1927 through 1935 and came in four sizes (7, 10, 14, and 17 cm) and three colors (black and white, blue and white, and orange and white). This design was very popular and was also produced in mohair around the same time. This precious puppy received 16 bids and sold for $721.00.


The next featured bulldog is a truly remarkable "tail turns head" model. This 23 cm Bully is somewhat lifelike looking, is made from tan colored mohair, and has a very sweet felt lined open mouth. (Steiffgal recognizes this endearing "feed me" expression from real life experience!) He features a working "tail turns head" mechanism, which was quite a technical advancement in the toy world at the beginning of last century! This Bully was produced from 1931 through 1935 and came in six sizes: 11, 15, 18, 23, 26, and 31 cm. This mechanical Bully received 9 bids and sold for $683.55.

Finally, this baroque Bulldog is almost as rare as the breed in real life! This proud pup stands 18 cm tall, is made from tan mohair which has been detailed with black airbrushing, has a swivel head, googly eyes, and an open pink felt lined mouth with two "canine" teeth. He sports a horsehair ruff, a "high society" accessory with origins in Elizabethan times. This highly sought after Steiff collectible is a US exclusive and was produced from 1956 through 1961 only. He received 26 bids and sold for $455.00.

They say that dogs are a (wo)man's best friend. I would tend to disagree, and nominate Steiffguy for this title, at least this week! Thank you for the 20 years (or 140 in dog years) of love and friendship and here's to the next 20, and the next 20, and 20 more after that...

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