Saturday, October 23, 2010

All Ears About This Beautiful Vintage Steiff Bunny!

Steiffgal is all ears when it comes to hearing about collector's favorite Steiff treasures.  So of course her attention turned "quick as a bunny" to this note she recently received from a reader about her beloved rabbit.  Suzanne from California writes:
 
"Hi Steiff Gal,
 
Attached is a photo of my "Manni Rabbit." She is straw stuffed, 23 inches tall, has an underscored button with remnants of a red tag under it. It looks orange in picture but it is red. Have you seen one like her? I would love any info you can come up with!
 
She was bought in Maine by someone at a doll auction and I bought her from them. I think she is so awesome and very old; she seems to have alot of mohair loss. She is my pride and joy.  Thanks so much for your wonderful website and I hope to hear from you soon.
 
Best,
Suzanne"
  
Let's hop right into a discussion on this beautiful bunny!  What Suzanne has here is Steiff's Hase or Rabbit.  This particular Hase model (For better or worse, Steiff named most of their pre-war rabbits "Hase") was made from 1927 through 1941 in 11, 15, 18, 23, 29, 36, 44, 50, and 70 cm.  From the measurements provided, it sounds like Suzanne's rabbit is most likely the 50 cm size.  She came in light brown, white, gold, purple pink, and light blue mohair. She is begging and head jointed.  She left the factory with a silk ribbon and a bell.  Steiff also made this same popular pattern in velvet from 1927 through 1932 in 11, 15, and 18 cm in white, purple, orange, light brown, light blue, pink, and yellow. 

Rabbits were a very popular design for Steiff in the early part of last century.  One of the ways Steiffgal was able to identify Suzanne's rabbit for sure was the bunny's distinctive nose stitching pattern coupled with her large eyes.  Additionally, because of her red ear tag remnants, it is clear that she was made in the 1927 through 1934 time frame. It is interesting to note that at the recent Steiff Auction at Christie's, vintage rabbits were a huge category.  Many 1920's era begging, head jointed models similar to Suzanne's Hase went for big money to new homes around the world - clearly documenting their popularity and timeless appeal!
 
A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet... and such is true for Steiff items as well.  As mentioned above, Steiff really did not give their rabbit designs distinctive names until the early 1950's.  In 1951, Steiff introduced "Niki", a standing, jointed rabbit to the world.  She was made from gray and white mohair and was produced in five sizes:  14, 17, 22, 28, and 35 cm through 1964.  A few years later, in 1961, "Manni" made her debut.  Manni was made from brown and white mohair; her ears had a distinctive black outline to them.  Manni was begging and head jointed only; she was made in 10, 20, 30, 40, and 55 cm through 1976.  
 
Although Suzanne's rabbit does resemble the Manni pattern in several respects, she is actually off a few decades to qualify literally as a "Manni"... but she certainly deserves the title of "Manni's Grand-Nanny!"
 
Steiffgal hopes this discussion on early Steiff rabbits has been a "hare-raising" experience for you.
 
Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

2 comments:

  1. OMG!!! I have a least 25 steiff animals!! From 1920's to 1982!! Some in great condition, some truly loved by mother and me. What a wonderful site!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a Steiff bunny that I was lucky to get in 1980. It looks like a "bugs bunny" grey & white. Skinney with long ears.....the metal tag is in the ear.....anyone know of the value....will sell

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