Sunday, August 12, 2012

Singing A Happy Tune Over This Vintage Steiff Musical Bear

Some questions are just like music to Steiffgal's ears.  And this question from a reader sounds just like a happy tune.  Check out this note from Danny, who writes...


I’m sure you get a million of these.  I’m looking to identify this bear with no ID ear tag.  The music box works when the red patch is pushed.  I’m only looking for an approximate era.

Thanks, Danny" 

Danny, yes, Steiffgal is fortunate to receive what feels like a million Steiff questions... but your special bear is considered by many collectors to be a one in a million find!  What you have here is simply called Music Teddy.  This bear was produced from 1951 through 1957 only.  He is 35 cm, five ways jointed, and made from caramel colored mohair.  His hand and foot pads are made from tannish peach colored felt.  His face is detailed with brown and black glass pupil eyes and a brown hand embroidered nose and mouth.  Smack dab in the middle of his belly is a red felt circle; when he was new,  it had the word "music" in printed in white on it.  When this spot was squeezed and released, it played a sweet lullaby.  

To see how that worked, please view the YouTube video posted below... This is not Danny's bear but another example of the same model, "for demonstration purposes only!" 

Feeling this bear worthy of an encore, Steiff decided to produce the original Music Teddy as a worldwide limited edition of 7,000 pieces in 1993.  This replica is pictured below.   

This singing sweetheart is a modification of Steiff's extremely popular and beloved "Original Teddy" design. This now classic and highly sought after pattern was produced in gold, blond, caramel, brown, and white mohair in the 1950 through 1966 time frame in 10, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 28, 35, 40, 43, 50, 65, and 75 cm.  An example of this bear in caramel is pictured below.

Collectors went ape over Music Teddy in the early 1950's, so Steiff decided to create another musical sensation - this time based on their classic Jocko the chimpanzee. Simply called Music Jocko, he was based the company's standard line 35 cm brown mohair chimpanzee.  A picture of Music Jocko appears below; this particular example sold at auction at Christie's in 2010 for about $700.  Like Music Teddy, Music Jocko had a squeeze-activated music box implanted in his belly, which was also noted by a red felt disk on his belly.  Music Jocko appeared in the line from 1951 through 1957.  

Now the question that gets Steiffgal feeling a little off key - his value.  As always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and believes something is worth what some will pay for it.  She has not seen the item firsthand and cannot account for any details of its aesthetic or structural integrity, all which play an enormous role in his true "worth."  His somewhat worn appearance and lack of ID does subtract from his value.  However, this particular item is of particular interest and appeal to collectors based on his age, limited time in the line, and relative rarity overall.  Given all of that, and based on comparable sales, here in the USA he most likely values in the $450 to $800 range today.  

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Danny's Music Teddy has you singing a happy tune.  

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


  1. I have been searching all over for someone to tell me what my "music teddy" is worth. Thank you for this review. You seem knowledgeable and professional. I guess it gives me at least an idea.

    I know mine was a gift for my sister's birth from my german grandparents who visited for the occaision. Mine is in substantially better condition, with some wear only on the muzzle. The pads are fine and all of the appendages move, including the head. The left ear feels slightly loose if I bend it forward. The color is the same as the bear pictured, and it is 14" tall.

    --Alice G.

  2. Thank you for this information, I have recently inherited one of these and was wondering if you could recommend somewhere I could go about selling it, (in the US).


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