Monday, December 27, 2010

Capping Off 2010 In A Prehistorically Large Steiff Way

Steiffgal hopes all her readers had a "larger than life" Christmas and that everyone enjoyed good times with family, friends, and those most special to them.  Not that it's a big deal or anything, but Steiffgal finally did get one of her dream Steiff items this holiday season, a large vintage dinosaur!  As many collectors can attest, these seem to be as rare of a find as a real dinosaur discovery!  The picture on the left shows the "mother" version of Dinos, Steiffgal's holiday "prize" of 2010! Let's take a look at Steiff's versions of these gentle giants and see what makes them so special.

Early Steiff dinosaurs appeared in the catalog in 1958 and only stuck around through 1959. Steiff produced three models:  Tysus, the T-Rex; Brosus, the Brontosaurus; and Dinos, the Stegosaurus.  Each was made in two sizes, a larger "mother" version (which ranged from 45 to 60 cm) and a smaller "baby" version (which ranged from 12 to 17 cm).  Each was made from mohair, had an open felt lined mouth, felt detailing, and remarkable, colorful airbrushing.  Only Tysus had movable arms, the other models were unjointed. The picture on the left shows the "baby" versions of Brosus and Dinos.

These six models were produced exclusively for the US market for the Loucap Company.  This was one of the two companies that distributed Steiff in the USA in the 1950's and 1960's.  The other distributor was Reeves International.  Reeves became the exclusive distributor of Steiff in America in the mid-1960's. The picture on the left shows the "baby version" version of Tysus.  Don't you just love his silly smile and jumbo feet and toes? 

One of the things that make these fossilized finds so interesting is their eyes.  To keep things light and playful, Steiff used green and black or white and black glass google-style eyes on these standard line vintage dinosaurs. From the design perspective, this is the company's way of saying these beasts were created to instill fun - not fear - into the hearts of their lucky recipients.  

In addition to these playful toy sized models, Steiff also created "almost" lifesized studio versions of several types of dinosaurs in the late 1950's and early 1960's.  These included a 305 cm studio Pterodactyl and Dinos dinosaur.  The Pterodactyl was made from tan and red mohair, had an open leatherette beak and claws, green glass eyes, and was stuffed with excelsior.  The Dinos was made from mohair, had an open felt lined mouth with a prominent red felt tongue and fangs, brown glass pupil eyes, was neck jointed, and had rubber claws.  Unlike their smaller cousins, these big beasts were designed to be as "realistic" and authentic as possible.  

Steiffgal hopes that this review of Steiff's delightful vintage dinosaurs helps to cap off your 2010 in a very big way!

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1 comment:

  1. I have both dinosaurs from above and would like to sell. What is the value and where do I begin? Lh

    ReplyDelete

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