Saturday, July 10, 2010

Solving A Lifelong Steiff Mystery

Steiff Teddies and animals are truly friends for life.  Steiffgal is certain that many "grown up" SteiffLife readers have a very special Steiff Teddy or animal from childhood in their lives today.  Check out this note from a reader from Maryland who writes about her mystery kitten friend who has been her constant companion since nursery school.  Could Mittens be a Steiff?  

Amy writes...

"Back in 1975 or '76, when I was leaving nursery school, my teacher let me take home my favorite toy from the toy boxes because I could not bear to be parted from her.  She had been left there by a previous student.  I have loved her, sometimes quite hard, for many years since; she has had her eyes replaced and she's been repeatedly washed, and she's much more worn now, though she was hardly pristine then.  

I've always wondered where she came from, as I've never seen a stuffed cat quite like her. Today I was bored, and I started messing around online, and found your Flickr photos, particularly this one:  

Is my Mittens one of these?  She had no tags when I got her, not even the more expected commercial tag off the hip or leg, but she matched the image once upon a time, with bigger green eyes and the pink embroidered nose (now mostly worn away).  She does still have the whiskers, though they're not visible in the photos, and her head swivels.  Her stuffing is soft and her legs are made to fold at so she can sit.  She's almost 14" from ear tip to foot.  

I'm not interested in "value"--she's far too well-loved to be worth anything to a collector!  I'm just curious as to her origin.  I never expected her to be a Steiff, but it's such a close match; but then, for all I know, she's a bootleg.  *grin*  

Thank you so much!  


Amy, that was some special friend your teacher gave to you way back when!  And yes, she is one of Giengen's famous exports, a "friend for life."  What you have here is Steiff's Dangling Tom Cat. She is head jointed and made from grey and white dralon fur. She has green and black pupil plastic eyes, mono-filament whiskers, and a hand embroidered pink nose and mouth.  She is 13 inches tall and was made from 1969 through 1976, which perfectly aligns with your history with her.  The picture here to the left shows what your dear friend looked like when new; Steiffgal also has one of these fabulous felines in her collection.

It is interesting to note that Dangling Tom Cat also has a "sporting side."  From 1972 through 1977, Steiff also produced this cat attired for a good workout.  She was the identical size and shape, and had the same face and coloring.  However, her arms, legs, and torso were blue, to appear as she was wearing a track suit. She also had a red scarf. Her arms were detailed with white and red stripes, giving her a "blue ribbon" appearance.  The picture on the left shows "sporty Tom Cat"; the illustration is taken from Gunther Pfeiffer's Steiff Sortiment 1947 - 2003 book.   Steiff also gave a similar same athletic treatment to Zotty Teddy bear (dressed as a hockey player and produced from 1972 through 1975); Lulac rabbit (dressed as a skier and produced from 1972 through 1974); and Jocko the chimp (dressed as a football player and produced from 1972 through 1973).
Steiffgal hopes that solving this little Steiff mystery hasn't been too much of a workout for you!
Have a question about one of your Steiff - or maybe Steiff - treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

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