Steiffgal doesn't want to "pander" to anyone's love of Steiff's precious panda bears, but she couldn't help herself after receiving this inquiry from a reader from Florida. Check out this note from Peg, who asks about a black and white beauty that she is selling on behalf of a not-for-profit animal hospital. Through a series of correspondences she writes:
After months of searching, I think you might be the Steiff expert I've been looking for. I have a "5315" panda that I am interested in selling. I've been carefully trying to find the best market because whatever money I get for it will go directly into our 501(c)3 animal charity here in Venice, FL.
The panda is more black and tan rather than white due to age, tag in ear is intact, there is a small tear in the back of the ribbon and it is otherwise in good condition. He has grey felt paws.
Any information you would share will be most gratefully appreciated.
This is one beautiful and rare bear indeed! What Peg has here is Steiff's beloved five ways jointed early postwar panda. This particular model was made in 15, 22, 28, 35, 43, and 50 cm from 1951 through 1961. He is made from black and white mohair and has an open, peach colored felt lined mouth. His face is detailed with brown and black pupil eyes and a black hand embroidered nose; the black circles around his eyes are airbrushed. It is interesting to note that with this particular model, the 15 cm sizes have a black mohair upper back area; sizes larger than 15 cm have upper back areas that are made from white mohair that are airbrushed black. Additionally, this panda was produced with grey felt paw pads from 1951 through 1956 and suede-like grey rubber material paw pads from 1956 onward.
Age is always a frame of mind and relative - especially with this panda who is hiding his quite well! His identification number, 5315 (which technically refers to 5=jointed, 3 =mohair, and 15 = 15 cm tall) dates his production between 1951 and 1958. His rare and unusual red imprinted chest tag was used from around 1952 through the end of 1953. His raised script button indicates a production time between 1952 through 1969. And the fact that he DOESN'T have a US Zone tag in a leg seam puts him no earlier than mid to late 1953. So... if you dovetail all of those features, it looks like his production can be relatively pinpointed around the second half of 1953.
Now the hard question... about value. As always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and strongly believes that something is worth what someone else would actually pay for it. This is a darling piece in excellent condition. The red imprinted chest tag and the fact that his date can be so precisely determined certainly adds collector's value and interest. The 15 cm pandas are seen the most frequently on the secondary market of all the panda sizes, probably because when they were made, store owners had to buy them wholesale in groups of 6. (For context, for the 22 cm size they came in groups of 4, for the 35 cm size they came in groups of 2, and for the 50 cm size they came in ones only.) That all being said, Steiffgal will venture to say that he could be valued in the $400-500+ range, given his age, condition, and unique ID configuration.
Steiffgal hopes you are not "bamboo-zled" by all the details associated with Peg's wonderful panda!
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