Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Hair-Raising Steiff Coco Baboon

It's easy to go ape over Steiff's wonderful monkeys, especially their distinctive and delightful baboons!  Take a look at this note from a reader, who had the recent good fortune of welcoming a rather distinctive Steiff primate to his collection.  Rod from Oregon writes...


I’ve recently acquired this Steiff “Coco” the baboon, from the estate of a collector of vintage toys. I have been unable to find this larger (sitting 10” tall) Coco anywhere on the Internet. 

If you can share any information on rarity or value, I’d greatly appreciate your time. 

I’ve included several pictures so you can evaluate condition. It’s in rough condition but still has the original tag. I can tell it’s stuffed with straw because it’s visible through some holes in the right hand. 

Let me know what you think.


It's easy to go loco over this Steiff Coco! What we have here is Steiff’s Pavian Coco or Coco Baboon. In good condition, this mighty monkey is one of them most sought after early post war items in the Steiff catalog. Coco is 35 cm, sitting, five ways jointed, and made from very thick silver mohair. He has a long bendable tail and very realistic grey felt hands and feet – with each toe and finger clearly defined. Like his distant cousin Jocko the Chimpanzee, Coco has a peach colored felt face and ears, as well as expressive deep-set eyes in felt pockets. However, unlike Jocko, Coco has a huge, expressive, oversized, open felt mouth.  Overall, this Coco was produced from 1951 through 1958 and then again in 1961.  The red imprinted chest tag on Rod's Coco - pictured above - suggests that he was made in the very early 1950's. 

Now for a holler about Coco's hair collar.  Each 35 cm Coco that left the Steiff factory in Giengen, Germany, had a remarkable hair collar.  This fabulous accessory was made from mohair strands that were about 5 inches long! These tended to get a bit unruly (much like Steiffgal's ringlets once in awhile) and needed somewhat regular attention to keep them presentable. When Steiffgal got her Coco (pictured here on the left) at the Festival of Steiff back in 2005, it took her about two hours to smooth out and de-tangle his hair collar.   But doesn't he look so handsome as a result?!

Now for the question that drives Steiffgal bananas - his value.  As always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and sincerely believes that something is worth what someone will pay.  This particular Steiff design was made for a relatively short time in a period - the 1950's - that is becoming more and more interesting to collectors.  However, the condition of Rod's particular Coco is only fair, given his overall presentation, bare mohair patches, felt challenged hands, and lack of his traditional hair collar.  Given all of the above, Steiffgal's best guesstimate is that he values in the $75 to $150 range.  If he were in very good to excellent condition, with a hair collar, he may value in the $250 to $500+ range.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion of Rod's Coco has been a hair-raising experience for you. 

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

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