Saturday, January 22, 2011

A True Tail of Steiff Stewardship

Steiff's well known motto is "Friends for Life" and this recent exchange that Steiffgal experienced could not be better proof of how true that promise really is.  Take a look at this note from George, who writes from California about an item that has been an important part of his family for over eight decades.  Over a series of correspondences in late December, 2010, he shares:


I just found your interesting web site. I am in the process of selling items for my 91 year old aunt. Needless to say she has many interesting items. 

My aunt's name is Edna Neely and she now lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.  She is 91 years old. As for work, she was employed by the Southern California Gas Company from 1938 through 1981.  She started as a clerk and retired as the office supervisor.

While sorting through her belongs recently, I found a 5" tall Steiff Treff dog stuck away in her closet.  He has the Treff neck tag on his chest and a tag in his right ear.  Treff was awarded to her as the first place prize in the Saturday, March 8, 1930 doll parade which was sponsored by The Long Beach California Amusement League.  The prize ribbons are still pinned on him.  Edna would have been 10 years old then and like most girls enjoyed dolls.  I'm not sure if Treff was her doll, or if it was a prize for her doll.  I can not prove she won the doll, but in my mind I feel sure she did.

Treff is in very good condition for his age.  He has lost a little fur on his ears, but there are no cuts, holes, or other issues.  My aunt took good care of everything.  I don't believe she discarded anything. She and her husband never had children so things were well cared for. She loved animals, especially dogs. She had a dog from the time she was about 2 years old.

Please let me know if you or someone you know would be interested in adopting Treff.

Thank you, 

PS: It just struck me that Treff is 7 months older than me; 1930 must have been a very good year."

Most collectors would agree that knowing the complete provenance of a precious collectible is about as good as it gets!  And yes, Steiffgal does know of three people that would jump at the chance of adopting this Treff, namely... me, myself, and I!

Edna's Treff is a handsome example of Steiff's delightful and classic “Treff the bloodhound.”  Treff debuted in the Steiff line in 1928, so Edna's 1930 prize was one of the earlier ones produced.  Treff is sitting, head jointed, and made from light brown mohair.  He was also produced in velvet around the same time.  Every Treff left the Giengen factory adorned with a large pastel-colored silk ribbon; Edna's Treff has the light blue version. Sitting Treffs were produced in 7, 10, 14, 17, 22, 28, 35, 43 and 50 centimeters. Treff proved to be a very successful design and was produced in a number of sizes, materials, and models through 1938. 

Steiffgal's not making this up... Treff has remarkable facial and head detailing that could only be described as "classically Steiff". All of Steiff's Treffs all have long, floppy ears which are lightly stitched down; brown and black pupil eyes which are set in eye pockets; hand embroidered black noses; dainty muzzle “freckles"; and red facial highlights on their lips and under their eyes. (You can see these details on Edna's Treff if you zoom in on her facial area.) It's no secret why many enthusiasts want to sniff out this beautiful bloodhound for their own collection. 

Like all good stories, this one too has a beginning, a middle, an end... and in this case, another beginning.  Just a few days after adopting Treff, Steiffgal received this email from George dated January 1, 2011.  He writes:


My aunt passed away this afternoon. 

I am so glad we found a home for her Treff.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as she must have when she won it 80 years ago.


Steiffgal hopes that all collectors someday can experience the honor that comes with the unexpected stewardship of a remarkable Steiff treasure. 

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

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