Saturday, March 12, 2011

Steiff's "Perfect 10"

When someone says "a perfect ten", different things may come to different people's minds.  In the case of this "perfect ten"... well, Steiffgal actually means two things here!  It is hard not to fall in love with Steiff's tiny vintage canine treasures, those measuring only 10 cm.  So let's take a look at the top 10 "perfect tens", those petite pooches that have charmed and delighted Steiff collectors over the past half century - or more!  

In no particular order...

Steiff's old Bully, Saras, and new Bully, all 10 cm.
It's not hard to see why enthusiasts howl over these dogs with great jowls.  Here we have a trio of Steiff pooches with marvelously detailed velvet muzzles.  Bully the Bulldog, on the left, is from the late 1920's and is Steiff's pre-war bulldog design. Bully is sitting, head jointed, and made from black and white mohair. His face and mouth are tan velvet. Bully has brown and black pupil eyes and remnants of his black hand embroidered nose.  Bully was produced from 1927 through 1939 in sizes ranging from 10 to 50 cm.   

Sarras the Boxer, in the middle, is head jointed and made from vibrant brown and tan mohair. Sarras has felt ears, a black velvet muzzle, a hand embroidered black nose, and black and brown pupil eyes. Steiff manufactured this boxer design from 1951 through 1961 in 10 and 14 cm. He was called Sarras from 1951 through 1958 and Boxer from 1959 through 1961.   

And on the right is Steiff's postwar Bully the Bulldog.  He is made from tan mohair, standing, and head jointed. Bully has an elaborately hand-painted head, body spots and tail. One commonality between the "old" prewar Bully and the "new" postwar Bully design is his nose and snout construction, which were very similar between the generations. New Bully came with a red leather color and was produced in 10, 17 and 22 cm from 1951 through 1974.

Steiff's Cockie and Pull Toy Cockie Cocker Spaniels, both 10 cm.
You can't help but crack a big smile when you see our next group of "perfect tens."  Here we have a selection of Steiff's wonderful and classic Cocker Spaniels.  On the left is Cockie Cocker Spaniel. She is sitting, head jointed, and made from tan mohair.  Cockie has lifelike brown patches on her sides and back.  Her ears are made from brown mohair. Her face is detailed with brown and black pupil eyes and her open-mouthed tan velvet muzzle is airbrushed in pink and black.  Overall, this sitting Cockie was produced in 10, 14, 17, 22, 25, 28, and 30 cm from 1951 through 1959.   

Keeping things moving along, on her right is the very sweet Nachzieh-Cockie or Pull Toy Cockie.  Cockie is standing and head jointed. She has absolutely magnificent lush golden and almost orange colored mohair. Her face and muzzle are quite detailed. She has pert brown and black pupil eyes and a hand embroidered black nose. Her muzzle is made from matching velvet. She has an open, pink velvet lined mouth that is highlighted with black airbrushing. In all honesty, she looks like she is having a big laugh!  Cockie glides along on four blue wooden eccentric wheels.

Steiff's Molly Puppy and Foxy Foxterrier, both 10 cm.
Sit and stay and take a look at these next two "perfect tens".  Of course, the sweetie on the left is none other than Steiff's classic Molly, perhaps the grand-matriarch of Steiff’s vast dog world. Overall, Molly appeared regularly in the line from 1925 through 1969; the one pictured here is from the early 1950's. Molly is sitting, made from long white and brown tipped mohair plush, has a swivel head, proportionally large brown and black pupil eyes, and a hand-embroidered black nose and mouth. Pre-war, this model was produced in 12 sizes ranging from 7 through 80 centimeters. She was one of the very first models reintroduced post war, reappearing again in 1949 in five sizes through 1969.

Molly's buddy here on the right is Foxy Foxterrier. Foxy is sitting and made from white mohair plush that has been detailed with black airbrushed spots. He has tiny brown felt ears and black and brown glass pupil eyes, while his black nose and mouth are hand embroidered and are finished with just the lightest touch of pink airbrushing. This particular model is extremely rare; he was produced in 10, 14, and 17 cm versions from 1953 though 1955 only.

Steiff's Biggie, Peky, and Arco, all 10 cm.
Our final three "perfect tens" surely merit a standing ovation.  On the left is Biggie Beagle.  Biggie is head jointed. He has fabulous almond shaped white, brown, and black pupil eyes and a black hand embroidered nose and mouth... he truly has a puppylike, smiling appearance. Biggie has brown and black airbrushing along his back, sides, and tail, giving him great definition and coloring. Standing Biggie was produced from 1968 through 1961 in 10, 17, and 25 cm. 

Keeping things centered here is Peky the Pekingese.  She is head jointed and made from light brown mohair.  She has black and brown pupil eyes.  Peky is known for her detailed black mohair muzzle and her darling, pouty mouth. Because this design is so expressive, it remains a collector's favorite to this day - as each Peky truly has her own look and personality. Peky was produced in 8, 10, 14, and 22 cm though 1977.  

Last, but hardly least, we have Steiff's Schaeferhund Arco or Arco German Shepherd on the right.  Arco is made from tan mohair that has been delicately hand airbrushed with black and tan to give him a most lifelike appearance.  He has tan felt ears, brown and black pupil eyes, and a black hand embroidered nose and mouth.  This version of Arco appeared in the Steiff line from 1957 through 1961 in 10, 17, 22, and 35 cm; sizes from 17 cm upward had an open mouth and a red felt tongue. 

Steiffgal hopes this review of some of Steiff's tiniest treasures has brought a super-sized smile to your face.

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

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