Thursday, January 14, 2010

Paws and Take a Look at this Perfect Steiff Pooch!

We've all heard of the "roaring '20s", named for the upbeat decade of jazz, flapper girls, and art deco, among other joyous things. But if a decade can roar, why can't it bark, too!? Check out this note from a reader in California who asks about her vintage Steiff pup from the 1920's. Through a series of correspondences, Shannon writes...

"I was hoping you could help identify and tell me a little bit about this older Steiff dog.

Here are her details:

She is sitting and made from long white curly mohair. She has really big eyes, which are brown with a black pupil. She has black nose and mouth stitching. Overall, the dog sitting is about 9" tall from the top of her head to the tip of her tail. Measured down her back she is about 12" long. She is jointed only in her neck. She has a button where the last "f" in "Steiff" trails backwards. She sports a pink ribbon, which appears to be original.

Many thanks
for any help you can provide!"

Shannon, your white wonder is a little dog Steiff calls Zotty. She was only in the Steiff catalog from 1925 through 1929, which totally aligns chronologically with her "trailing f" button. She sitting, head jointed, and is made from all white, long exceptionally thick mohair. She has glass pupil eyes. Zotty was produced in 10, 14, 17, 22, and 28 cm. The 22 and 28 cm versions came with a squeaker. All models left the factory in Giengen, Germany adorned with a lovely pink ribbon. Pictured here to the left is what Zotty looked like when new; this illustration is borrowed from Gunther Pfeiffer's wonderful 1892 - 1943 Sortiment book.

Besides her rarity and adorable appearance, there are two things about Zotty that are particularly interesting from the collector's perspective: her name and her pattern.

First, her name: Zotty. Regular readers might hear the name "Zotty" and immediately think of the classic "shaggy" Steiff Teddy bear design introduced in the 1950's. (A few are pictured to the left for reference.) "Zotty" - which is a version of the German word "Zottel", roughly translates to the word "fuzzy" in English. Steiff has used the name Zotty on a number of "fuzzy" items over the course of the history of the company. The earliest "Zotty" Steiffgal can find reference to is a Teddy called "Zottelbaer" or Shaggy Bear, a sweet bruin on all fours that Steiff produced in white or dark brown from 1914 through 1927.

Second, her shape. Readers may also notice that Zotty has a distinctly similar "look" and body appearance to another better known Steiff pup named Molly. (A Molly family is pictured to the left for reference.) Molly - who is also sitting, head jointed, and has a sweet, puppylike personality - was introduced in 1925 which may explain Molly and Zotty's similar expression and appearance. Over time, Molly appeared in numerous color combinations, including red and white, green and white and blue and white. However, the "classic" original Molly is brown and white. Steiff used this basic appealing, endearing "young dog" Molly pattern on other little known dogs of the 1920's and 1930's, including Trolly (a white, yellow, and brown St. Bernhard puppy), Flock (a blonde and white puppy), and Fellow (a black and white puppy).

Steiffgal hopes this canine conversation keeps her out of the doghouse with Steifflife readers for the time being!

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

1 comment:

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