Sunday, April 15, 2012

Golden Highlights From the April, 2012 Teddy Dorado Auction

Auctions can be a collector's best friend.  Think about it... they are the perfect place to discover treasures, learn about new finds, meet friends and fellow enthusiasts, and sometimes even score a fantastic item at an unbelievable price.  And in many cases, auction houses produce sale catalogs which can be a great reference for identification and valuation for future finds.    For Steiff collectors in particular, such is the case for the upcoming April 28, 2012 Teddy Dorado auction.  Although the physical event takes place in Germany, bids are welcome from all over the world!  Here's a few precious items up for offer that really caught Steiffgal's eye... and why!

These first two finds make Steiffgal feel like floating on air!  Here we have two marvelous Steiff mobiles, both from the 1974 through 1976 time period.  The first is a seagull mobile (on the left), which consists of three miniature black, white, and gray seagulls.  Each 3 x 3 cm bird has a woolie pompom body and head, orange beak, red feet, and a felt tail and wings.  The second is a raven mobile (on the right) which also consists of three tiny black birds. Each 3 x 3 cm raven has a black and blue woolie pompom body and head, an orange mouth, red feet, and black felt tail and wings.  

Good things come in threes - and such are the similarities between these two unusual collectibles.  First, it is interesting to note that in both cases, the only Steiff button and tag on the item is located at the top of the mobile; none of the animals have any specific Steiff branding on them at all.  Secondly,  the animals in both mobiles are modifications of standard line woolen miniatures with legs.  Steiff has produced a standing woolie seagull and a raven, but neither has outspread wings.  And finally, both models are packed in clear plastic tubes and have their animals suspended at different lengths from clear nylon string.  Due to their delicate construction and packaging, this makes both examples quite rare today.

This next lot really got Steiffgal's mouth watering!  Here we have a collection of items from the Steiff cafeteria dating in the 1954 through 1964 period.  The lot includes a white coffee cup, plate, and saucer; a teaspoon; blocks of sugar; and a server's pad to record a guest's order.  

These items each have a tasty background to them.  The cup and saucer were made by Bauscher Weiden, a well known German porcelain manufacturer that has been in business since 1881. The word "fabrikdekoriert" on the bottom of the cup, plate, and saucer means "factory decorated" and implys that these items were produced as a special order for the Steiff company.  The spoon is marked with "Cromargan Germany", suggesting that it was made by the Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik or WMF company, a German company that can trace its origins to 1853.  During the second half of the 20th century, this company focused its production on home and lifestyle products, including stainless flatware.  The sugar cubes are wrapped in white paper and bear the Steiff logo in blue, and the words "Südzucker cube Raffinade" and/or " Hellma Ernst Zuckerwürfel Stuttgart" on the sides.  "Zucker" means sugar, and "zuckerwürfel" means sugar cube, in German.  The imprint probably is the name of the sugar cube manufacturer or supplier who was located in Stuttgart, which is located about 75 miles from Giegnen.   (Part of Steiffgal's family from Stuttgart as well!) And finally, the server's pad hints that in 1954, in terms of beverages, the cafeteria was serving beer, lemonade, Coca Cola, milk, buttermilk, yogurt, cocoa, and chocolate milk, among other refreshments.   

Of course, Steiffgal is very intrigued that "bier" or beer is the first option - and the list is clearly not in alphabetical order!!

This final Teddy Dorado auction highlight is just about purrr-fect in every way.  Here we have Steiff's teeny-tiny 7 cm Fluffy cat from around 1927 through 1943.  She is sitting, unjointed, and made in part from bluish tipped mohair, which is just spectacular.  Her little tail wraps sweetly around her body.  Fluffy's face is detailed with tiny deep green and black pupil eyes and a simple hand embroidered red nose and mouth.  

The hugely popular Fluffy design was introduced in 1926.  Her details are quite typical of other products Steiff created during "the roaring 20's" - items tended to have large, childlike eyes, bright colors, playful textures, and a distinctly feminine touch to them.  Fluffy was such a favorite that she was produced in nine standard sizes, as well as on a pincushion, as a music box, and as a tail turns head model.  She appeared in the line through 1950.  Her design was slowly replaced by Susi, another favorite sitting style cat, who was a line standard through 1978.

Steiffgal hopes that this discussion on auction finds has you going once, going twice, going three times to discover the treasures that live sales events can offer. 

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


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