Friday, August 26, 2011

This Steiff Tiger Is One Tall Drink Of Water

Some classic Steiff designs just seem to have a leg up when it comes to being collector's favorites.  For many people, Steiff's "lulac" long-limbed lovelies fit that bill to a "T."  Take a look at this note from a reader who has come across an exceptional example of a 1950's Steiff "lulac" style tiger.  Janice from Michigan writes:

"Hello Steiffgal:

My name is Janice.  I have operated a ladies consignment boutique in Michigan for 10 years and once in a while get my hands on a great estate.  I am currently working through an estate of a 80 year old collector of Steiff and many other things.  

One of the most unique ones I have found yet is this tiger. He is HUGE!  He's approximately 36 inches tall.  She purchased him in Las Vegas between 1953 and 1955 and said he was propped up in a gift shop at the Sands hotel there.  

He does not have a ear tag, but still has his tag around his neck and is in EXCELLENT condition.  Any idea of his value?  I have spent over 10 hours trying to investigate him online and throughout some books and and can't find one similar ANYWHERE and I do mean ANYWHERE.  

He still has all of stripes, but there is some slight fading on his fur, which is mohair, I believe his eyes are glass too. I wanted to email this to you since you have such a great knowledge about them.  If you have ANY information on this guy, can you let me know? 

Thanks so much and have a blessed day!  Janice" 

Steiffgal is seeing stars -  but mostly stripes - over this exciting find!  The tiger is truly fantastic.  He is one of Steiff's "lulac" animals, all which typically have comically long arms, legs and torsos. They are long and lanky, usually five-ways jointed, and have a very playful air about them. It is interesting to note that the German verb “to laugh” is lachen, and the word for smile is lächeln, suggesting that this style was designed to have a comical appearance and to bring a smile to the face of the owner.  The original Steiff lulac animal was a rabbit, which debuted in the line in 1952.  Due to the success of beautiful bunny, Steiff quickly followed with several additional lulac animal patterns, including Janice's tiger. 

But back to this striped sweetie.  Janice's tiger is a whopping 90 cm, made from mohair, and five ways jointed.  He has delightful glowing green glass eyes, a prominent pink hand embroidered nose, and clear mono-filament whiskers.  Steiffgal thinks this particular lulac tiger has a delightful, innocent "toddler" look to him.  He was made in 1958 only as an exclusive for the United States.  Other extra large (80+ cm) US exclusive lulac designs of this period also included a gray alpaca poodle (pictured here on the left), and a mohair lion. 

Now for the tall order of valuing this unusual lulac tiger.  As always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and believes something is worth what someone will pay for it.  This is a rare and delightful item with universal collector's appeal.  Despite no button in ear and the soft "buyer's market  -  and given he is in very good to excellent condition, with no rips, tears, odors, or structural issues - he probably would sell at auction in the $750-1,000 range today.

Steiffgal hopes this lulac lesson has been so entertaining that you want to go out and shake a leg! 

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

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