Friday, November 25, 2011

Putting a "Spot" Light On These Rare Steiff Disney Dalmatians

It's easy to keep Steiff in the spotlight, and nobody can do that better than these two fantastic - and famous dogs!   After many years of searching, Steiffgal finally welcomed this pair of "spotty dotties" into her Steiff hug.  Take a look at these "movie star" calibre Steiff canines and see what makes them so interesting from the collector's perspective.

These paparazzi-worthy pups are none other than Rolly Dalmatiner or Rolly Dalmatian. Both are  standing, unjointed, and made from white mohair that has been carefully hand-painted with black spots. Each has sweet, playful and baby-like appearance, and wears a red leather collar.  Rolly was made in 12 and 22 cm in 1962 only. 

These delightful Rolly dogs have several very interesting design features that may not be apparent from just their photographs.  
  1. First, their eyeballs, which are made from two distinct parts.   The pupils are made from a black plastic disk which has been inserted into the white plastic backing - not merely just painted or printed on.  You can feel the ridge where the two parts meet with your finger.  Both the small and large versions have these dual part eyeballs. 
  2. Second, the backing of the eyes on the larger Rolly.  Big Rolly's eyeballs are placed over a circle of off-white, shiny plastic material.  The only other Steiff item Steiffgal can think of that uses a similar material are the funny little teeth lining the bill of Piccy Pelican, who was produced from 1959 through 1961.  
  3. Finally, the nose on the larger Rolly, which is lovely, circular, dimensional, and made from black velvet.  Although Steiffgal can think of several dogs of the same period with velvet muzzles, most had black hand embroidered noses.  A velvet nose is a most unusual detail for a Steiff animal. 
Rolly is top dog in Disney’s classic animated movie, “101 Dalmatians.” This family favorite flick debuted in 1961 and was based on the 1956 book “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith. Rolly was of the named baby Dalmatians in the movie, which introduced the world to puppy parents Pongo and Perdita and perhaps the meanest Disney villain ever, Cruella de Vil. Actress Barbara Baird was the voice behind Rolly. As a point of trivia, Disney animators gave each Dalmatian puppy exactly 32 spots—truly confirming their status as "Disney calibre Dalmatians."

Steiffgal hopes this Dalmatian discussion has connected the dots surrounding Rolly's history, design, and Steiff legacy.  

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

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