Sunday, June 17, 2012

Covering Steiff's Rare and Wonderful Butch The Cover Dog

So just what does it take to be top dog in the Steiff collectibles world?  Clearly looks, size, and breed play a big part in this blue ribbon contest.  But what about historical significance?  Taking all of these things into consideration, Steiffgal may just nominate this very special black and white Cocker Spaniel for this title.  

Eye think you may recognize this precious pup as "Butch the Cover Dog."  Butch is standing, 17 cm, and head jointed.  His body and face are made from short white mohair which has been carefully airbrushed with black highlights on his back and head.  His ears, tail, and feet are made from very long black shaggy mohair.  Butch has long white mohair "feathers" on the back seams of each of his front and back legs.   His face is detailed with very large round black, brown, and white spherical eyes, a black and embroidered nose and mouth, and a touch of pink highlighting around his lips.   He also has a special named Steiff chest tag, which is pictured above. Butch was made in 1958 in 17 cm.  He was also produced in a 31 cm sitting version that same year.  These larger versions are extremely rare; one sold in 2010 for almost $3,400!

Butch truly is a "Cover Dog!" Butch was created by artist Albert Staehle, one of the most popular commercial illustrators of the 1930's through the 1950's.  Staehle, who was known for his charming and realistic drawings of animals, was invited by the Saturday Evening Post to illustrate a dog cover for the magazine. Butch first appeared on the February 19, 1944 issue, which is shown here on the left.  Butch was pictured chewing up a book of wartime rationing stamps. This cover was incredibly popular and the readers really responded to the pup - so much that over time, he appeared on 25 covers through the end of the 1940's.  Over time, Butch also appeared as a mascot for the American Kennel Club and the US Navy, and on the covers of numerous other national and international publications.   

Butch in some ways closely resembles another beloved black and white Steiff Cocker Spaniel named Cockie. Cockie is standing and head jointed; her body is made from white colored mohair which has lovely black spots. Like Butch, Cockie's ears are made from long black mohair.  She has pert black and white google eyes and a hand embroidered black nose.  Cockie was produced in 12, 19, and 29 cm from 1960 through 1976. 

So how do you tell these darling doggies apart, apart from size? The differences are subtle, but include:

  • Eyes: Butch has spherical, pea-sized black, brown, and white pupil peepers that "pop off" of his face. Cockie has round, pea-sized eyes that are google style and are more flush to her face.
  • Feet: Butch's feet are made from very long black mohair. It almost appears he is wearing black fuzzy slippers. Cockie's feet may have a little black on them, but they are mostly white and not exceptionally fuzzy.
  • Coloring: Butch has alot more black on his back and face than does Cockie. Cockie has black spotting along her back; Butch's back is solid black. 
Steiffgal hopes this discussion about Butch the Cover Dog has made front page news for you.

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

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, this posting helped me identify my Cockie, that I found at a garage sale...the tag is ripped in half and all that was left of the name was: ie.
    Thanks again for this information.


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