Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's The SteiffLife Centennial!

It's the Steifflife centennial! Really! By that, Steiffgal means that this is the 100th Steifflife column to be posted right here on this community site of worldwide Steiff enthusiasts. To celebrate, here is an article that Steiffgal wrote for the wonderful magazine Teddy Bear and Friends that was published earlier this spring. But make sure to read the column to the end... there's a surprise awaiting you!

Introducing Teddy Blum: The First in Steiff’s New “Family Heritage” Series

There is something completely magical about old family Steiff bears. A Teddy that has accompanied multiple family generations though thick and thin is like a repository of family history. Recognizing that collectors treasure bears with legacy, Steiff is introducing its new “Family Heritage” series in 2010. This series is based on real Steiff bears and their stories, contributed directly by today’s collectors. And yes, your family’s Steiff Teddy could be the next in the series!

The inaugural Teddy bear in this exciting new series is a beautiful girl-bear who shares an almost seventy year history with members of the Adler family of California and Massachusetts. Here is her story.

Steiff has been a love and passion of the Adler clan for four generations. Although the family has over 500 vintage Steiff collectibles among them, this big bruin – affectionately called “Teddy Blum” after Erika Blum Adler, the family grand-matriarch – is the crown jewel of the family’s collection.

Teddy Blum has called many places and many countries home. In 1932, Erika won Teddy Blum as a door prize at the annual ball of the German Book Association in Berlin, Germany. She entered the drawing on a whim, and won the grand prize – a huge blond Steiff Teddy bear! It would be the beginning of a beautiful, lifelong friendship. Fast forward a few years, Erika and Teddy Blum fled the growing troubles in Germany to the relative stability of India, where she had family in the textiles industry. Then, in 1946, Erika – along with her husband Hans, their young sons Ralph and Ron, and Teddy Blum – came to America, settling in northern California. Here Teddy Blum lived happily with the growing Adler family and many Steiff friends, including a Jocko monkey and Mecki and Micki hedgehogs, for over forty years. The picture above shows Erika Adler and Teddy Blum together in 1970.

Teddy Blum had many admirers, but Erika’s oldest granddaughter really loved this very special bear and all Steiff animals since childhood. So, in 1988, when the time was finally right, Erika entrusted her lifelong companion to her oldest granddaughter as a college graduation gift. She declared in her distinctive German accent that her granddaughter was “now old enough to handle the family’s Steiff legacy” upon the exchange. Teddy Blum now lives in Massachusetts with her granddaughter and many other Steiff collectibles, including a few from Erika’s collection as well! This picture to the left shows Teddy Blum in 1937, along with Erika's son Ralph, now in his mid-70's. Note the Steiff patchwork playball in the lower right hand corner of the picture!

Sadly, Erika passed away a few years later. Family members who attended her funeral were each given a tiny Steiff bear resembling Teddy Blum. Her eldest granddaughter – Teddy Blum’s keeper - did this as a way to keep Erika’s memory, love of Teddy bears, and passion for Steiff as vibrant as she was during her lifetime.

The Adler family is honored to present Teddy Blum as the debut bear in the Family Heritage Series, and hopes that she brings a lifetime of joy and pleasure to Steiff collectors everywhere. They are certain Erika would be delighted by all of this, and even let out one of her jolly, legendary “ach-yahs!” in approval.

Steiff has done a masterful job in recreating Teddy Blum for collectors. Teddy is 43 cm, five ways jointed, and made from thick, rich blond mohair. Two of the most distinctive features of Teddy Blum – both in the original and the 2010 version – are her prominent muzzle and her engaging pupil eyes. Both of these details are typical to early 1930’s Steiff Teddy bears. Teddy Blum also sports a raw silk ribbon, in homage to the years she spent in India where many of these beautiful fabrics are produced. Teddy Blum is being produced as a 1,500 piece limited edition as part of the 2010 North American limited edition collection.

So Steiff collectors, how would you like your Steiff Teddy to be 2011’s Family Heirloom bear? This series is designed for collectors by collectors, so please join in if you can! To qualify, your bear must have been in your family for at least two generations, have an interesting life story, and photographs to prove it! If you think your family treasure has what it takes, send a photograph and a brief description of your bear, its history, and why you think it would make a great candidate for the series to: Please limit your submission to 250 words or less. The deadline for the 2011 contest is August 1, 2010. Good luck!

Steiffgal wants to know if you will enter your beloved family heirloom to this contest... please do!

So you have finally made it to the end of this story to learn the secret. Well, here it is. Erika Adler is Steiffgal's grandmother of blessed memory, and Steiffgal has the honor of being this generation's family caretaker of Teddy Blum.

Steiffgal wants to extend a sincere thank you to all the readers that make each posting such a pleasure to write. Here's to many hundreds more!

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


  1. Great story, can't wait to see Teddy Blum in person. Thanks for sharing your story with us and all the work you put into the SteiffGal site on FB, I always look forward to reading your posts.

  2. Kudos SG!! You are fast becoming the Steiff Historian for many of us. As I have said before, I ALWAYS learn something.

  3. How marvellous! Teddy Blum is a beauty!

  4. What a wonderful story and surprise ending. I just received Teddy Blum today and absolutely love her! I love her cone nose and those eyes really are engaging. She stares right at you. I found your site while searching for more information about Teddy Blum and really came to the right place. I'll continue to visit here. Thanks so much for the history of my beautiful bear.

  5. you have some fixation with the stuffed animal don't you? just look at this!!! this is you when you was a little child and with your first teddy bear, you are cute.

  6. Oh! I had no idea you were Teddy Blum's person now! Wow. Thank you for sharing.


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