Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tongue's A-Wag Over These Mouthy Steiff Marvels

Steiffgal is not being tongue in cheek when she says she just loves Steiff's dogs from the 1950's and early 1960's.  And, the ones with realistic features especially whet her appetite for collecting!  Let's take a look at some of Steiff's "most mouthy" canine friends from this era and see what makes them so interesting and collectible.

You cannot help but crack a smile when it comes to Steiff's delightful Arco German Shepherd.  Steiff has featured German Shepherds in its line since 1923, and German Shepards named Arco since since 1937.  However, Arco was not produced with his terrific and authentic tongue as a detail until 1957.  Arco is standing, unjointed, and made from tan mohair which has been airbrushed with tan and black highlights.  His face is made from shorter mohair, to draw attention to his handsome canine features. This delightful pattern was produced standing in 10, 17, 22, and 35 cm, lying in 22, 35, and 50 cm, and on wheels in 43 and 50 cm and appeared in one form or another in the line from 1957 through 1976.  

The next tongued treasure is Steiff's Beppo dachshund.  (Did you know that "dachshund "translates from the German to "Badger Dog"... as these long, thin, and low to the ground pooches were bred to hunt badgers in their underground tunnels.)  As you can see from the picture on the left, beautiful Beppo is made from black and brown mohair and is five ways jointed.  He has black and brown pupil eyes and a delightful and joyful open-mouthed facial expression, complete with a happy wagging tongue.  Beppo has a squeaker and was produced in 10 and 17 cm from 1952 through 1961.  Many collectors confuse Beppo with Lumpi, a very similarly designed black and tan open mouthed dachshund.  However, unlike Beppo who is totally jointed, Lumpi is only head jointed was produced in 11 and 18 cm from 1963 through 1974. 

When it comes to wagging tongues, Steiff's terrific Tessie Schnauzer would have to take first place.  Tessie is standing, head jointed, and made from light grey mohair. She has proportionally large black and brown pupil eyes, a black hand embroidered mouth, and pert triangular shaped ears.  Tessie's coloring is highlighted by her red leather collar.  One of the most "recognizable" features about Tessie's design is her prominent circular red felt tongue, suggesting she is always smiling - or ready for a good meal. Tessie appeared in 10, 14, 22, and 28 cm from 1954 through 1976.  A sweet 10 and 14 cm "mother-daughter" pair is shown here on the left. 
Our final mouthy marvel would have to be Steiff's lovely Collie, who was introduced in 1960.  She is sitting, unjointed and made from mohair. Collie is incredibly detailed and well made... it is amazing how much handiwork was dedicated to this good girl! She is primarily tan with black and brown airbrushing. Her chest and tail are made from longer mohair. She has an open felt lined mouth and a red tongue, and brown and black pupil eyes. The larger model has black hand embroidered claws on her hands and feet. Of all the dogs Steiff has ever produced post war, Collie is perhaps Steiffgal's most favorite for its wonderful authenticity and just plain appeal.  This model was produced in 12 and 22 cm from 1960 through 1969 as illustrated on the left.  Collie was produced in a lying position in 25 and 43 cm from 1960 through 1975.  

An old proverb says, ""One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of his tongue." Steiffgal says one of the reasons Steiff's dogs are so lovable is that they wag both... and hopes you feel the same way!

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

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