Friday, June 1, 2012

Singing A Happy Tune Over This 1950's Steiff Musical Dog Doll

Ever feel like singing a happy tune because something in your Steiff collection makes you smile - for so many reasons?  Such is the case with this delightful and very unusual musical masterpiece that Steiffgal recently welcomed into her collection.  Not only is the treasure a precious find, it is also in remarkable shape for its age, and comes with a full family history.  As Ben Affleck said in the 1997 Oscar winning movie Good Will Hunting... "How do you like them apples?"  Steiffgal likes them alot!  So without further ado, here she is, and here is her story.
This top dog is known as Musik-Bazi or Music Bazi.  Bazi is 25 cm tall, unjointed, and standing.   Her body is a simple cylinder and her arms are floppy.  Her head is based on the beloved and endearing Bazi dachshund design, introduced in 1950. Bazi wears a blue cotton blouse, red cotton skirt, and had a sweet floral corsage when she left the factory in Giengen more than 60 years ago.  She has an internal Swiss music box which plays when her torso is pressed and released.  Bazi was made in 1950 and 1951 only.  She retains her original Steiff raised script button, crisp yellow ear tag with the numbers 9325 on it, and a white linen "Made in the US Zone" tag, ID which perfectly align with her dates of manufacture. It is interesting to note that her ID number translates to... 9=mechanical, 3=mohair, 25=25 cm. Steiff also made girly versions of this dressed music box product based on their popular Teddy Baby and Kitty cat designs of the period. 
Equally precious to her looks and musical talents are the details of her provenance. Her past owner, whom Steiffgal now calls a friend, provided these details of Bazi's history. They write in part...

"...[I recall as a youngster] that she was always kept out of harm's way on top of my father's chest of drawers. I am now [in my 60's] and there is never a time when I cannot remember her. 
[To make her sing, you] press down [on her belly], with a firm but gentle hand, and the musical notes play on the way down, and on the way back up. I have always assumed those beautiful notes played the first bar of "edelweiss", probably because of the little edelweiss flower on her dress.  And I think my father called her edelweiss for those reasons, and thence we children did the same... we children were very rarely allowed to push her down, and only with my father present!"
Now for the question that sends Steiffgal to the doghouse... her value.  As always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and feels that something is worth what someone will pay.  On the upside, she is a collector's dream:  a unusual item, in lovely working condition, complete with a family history and legacy.  In addition, Steiff's early post war musical items seldom come on the secondary market and usually demand a premium when they do; the "Teddy Baby" version of this design had a hammer price of close to $3,000 a few years back at an auction at Christie's in London.  On the other side of the coin, over the past two years or so, the collectible market is way down because of the poor global economic situation.  Today, based on sales of other like items, and things from the early 1950's period, and musical examples, Steiffgal guesstimates that she most likely values in the $750 to 1,000 USD range.   
Steiffgal hopes this discussion of this wonderful Bazi has been like music to your ears.
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