Friday, August 27, 2010

Best of Show Dogs at the Upcoming Christie's Steiff Auction

It's the dog days of summer around here, in more ways than one! Of course it is August, and Steiffgal and friends are taking it nice and easy during these sultry days before school and work start full throttle in September. But not all dogs are on holiday right now, especially a few very lucky Steiff ones across the pond! Check out these pristine pooches that will be featured in the upcoming Christie's Steiff auction on October 13th in London. Don't you just want to "fetch" a few of these beauties for your own collection?

This first royal section is worthy of his own crown. Here we have Steiff's Caeser Wire Hair Terrier. According to Christies, he is described as... "1911 Estimate: £500-800. Caeser was King Edward VII's favourite dog. When the King died in 1909, Caeser stole the hearts of the general public by leading the funeral procession in front of nine reigning sovereigns. Kaiser William II of Germany was greatly insulted by this." Caesar is jointed and made from white and black mohair. He has a sweet black hand embroidered mouth and nose and black shading around his brown and black pupil eyes. Steiff produced this princely pup from 1910 through 1917 in 22, 25, and 28 cm. In 1916 and 1917, the 25 cm version was produced with movable glass eyes, which allowed him to exhibit numerous funny facial expressions.

It is true that a dog is man's best friend, and in this case Caeser and King Edward VII were truly "BFFs". It is said that Caeser, who was well known for his canine antics, exhibited mournful behavior throughout the entire burial preparation period and funeral event. A few months after Edward was laid to rest, a book entitled Where's Master? - by Caesar, The King's Dog, appeared in print. It was written from the dog's perspective and talked about grief and loneliness over the loss of a master. The cover of book, which featured a painting of Caeser, was done by Maud Earl, a well known and respected animal artist of the time. The cover of this book is shown here on the left.

These next two cute canines appear to really enjoy horsing around. That's because both are detailed with horsehair ruffs! This "high society" collar-like accessory was popular through the late 19th century, and was commonly noted on smaller dogs such as bulldogs (like the black and white Bully) and pugs (like the orange Pip.)

Let's take a look here at the pick of this litter. According to Christie's, this set is described as... "Orange velvet Pip and black and white velvet Bully, circa 1930 - sold as a pair Estimate:£600-800." Pip is a precious pug who appeared in the Steiff line from 1926 through 1931 - with one notable exception. He was available sitting (in 8 and 10 cm) and standing (8, 10, 12, and 17 cm). Interestingly, Pip made a surprise appearance in the catalog in 1941 as a 17 cm brown tipped mohair purse. He is head jointed and has adjustable white, brown, and black googly eyes. As for materials, this design was made in mohair in pink, maize, lavender, and brown tipped mohair and in velvet in light blue, green, orange, and red. Pip was also produced as a pincushion in the late 1920's. Steiffgal has a sitting blue velvet Pip rattle in her personal collection; this item is not noted in Steiff reference books. 

As noted in a previous Steifflife posting, Pip is based on a dog character from Austin Bowen Payne's "Pip, Squeak, and Wilfred" cartoon series. This popular strip was published from 1919 to 1956 in the Daily Mirror, a British tabloid newspaper founded in 1903.

No bull, its time to talk about this handsome Steiff Bully. The Bully design was introduced in 1927 and appeared in the line through 1939; today Bully one of the most universally desirable and sought after pre-war Steiff designs among collectors. He was produced in velvet and mohair, as well as sitting and standing. This specific velvet sitting head jointed model was produced in 7, 10, 14, and 17 cm from 1927 through 1939.  He came with a horsehair or leather collar.  Knowing a good thing when they saw it, Steiff produced Bully on wheels, with a tail-turns-head mechanism, as a pincushion, with a music box, and as a handbag, among other designs. 

Steiffgal hopes this blue ribbon review of these amazing and historical Steiff dogs has you pacing at the door to attend the Christie's auction!  Hope to see you there!

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


  1. Thank you! Very interesting and useful information!I love your blog!

  2. Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words!


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