|Foxy Grandpa, lot #237|
"14" (36 cm.) Felt swivel head with press-modeled facial features, pronounced nose, center seam, stitched ears, black shoe-button eyes on felt pads, mohair wig, attached hat, firm ball-shaped stomach with jointed arms and legs, shaped knees, over-sized feet, wearing original sewn-on blue wool costume. Condition: fair, some fading, few moth holes, wig very sparse. Comments: depicted is the comic character "Foxy Grandpa" from the early 20th century comic series, Steiff, circa 1910. Value Points: very rare early doll by the firm, he has an early Foxy Grandpa celluloid pin and a first prize award from a 1944 doll show."
|Original Foxy Grandpa comic strip from 1905, click to enlarge|
|Barney Google and Spark Plug, lot #235|
"5" (13 cm.) 5"(13 cm.) Barney, 8"l. Spark Plug. The set comprises stockinette Barney with press-shaped and painted features, prominent nose, large felt eye whites with black bead eyes, whiskers, armature padded body, wearing original purple vest and blue jacket, shoes and hat, plaid cotton pants; along with Spark Plug, who has grey mohair coat with sparsely-inset yarn mane, bead eyes on felt pads, felt tongue and feet, harness, and yellow felt blanket with patches and printed Spark Plug name. Condition: generally excellent, bright fresh colors, few moth holes on blanket. Marks: Copyright 1923-1924 by King Features Synd, Inc. DeBeck (muslin pad on one foot) Steiff (silver button in ear). Comments: Steiff, Germany, the set was issued in 1925-1927 only, and according to company archives only 615 sets were sold. Value Points: very rare Steiff comic character set is well-preserved and delightful."
Here's more about this (sort of) dynamic duo. Barney Google, penned by artist Billy DeBeck, debuted in the Hearst Newspapers in 1919. Barney was a silly, bumbling little man who seemed to find even the simplest things complicated. In 1922, DeBeck gave Barney a new companion, a race horse named Spark Plug; a few years later they were joined by an ostrich named Rudy. Barney Google was so popular that he inspired the 1923 hit tune "Barney Google (with the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes)," as well as the 1923 record, "Come On, Spark Plug!" You can listen to the song above by pressing on the white arrow in the middle of the record. In addition to this Barney/Spark Plug set, Steiff also produced several Barney Google themed pull toys on wooden during this same period. Rudy was made as a sample, but never put into widescale production.
And just how rare are Steiff Barney Google themed items? Steiff was asked to set up an exhibit of incredible rarities at the FAO Schwarz store in New York City in honor of the retailer's 150th anniversary in August, 2012. From the archives, Steiff sent over a Barney Google and Spark Plug on wheels - along with things like the earliest rod bear, an original hot water bottle Teddy, and a turn of last century tumbling bear. So even Steiff considers these characters quite legendary!
|Happy Hooligan, lot #232|
"14" (36 cm.) Firmly-stuffed felt character with egg-shaped head having center-seam, shoe-button eyes, caricature face, upturned nose, stitched-on ears, red attached cap, big plump red felt stomach with painted circle designs, green felt jointed arms and jacket, and long spindly jointed legs with patched knees and over-sized leather feet. Condition: good, some shelf dustiness, few moth holes. Comments: Steiff, from their premiere series of character dolls, representing the popular comic strip character of Happy Hooligan, circa 1910. Value Points: delightful character exactly captures the beloved figure from the comic series."
|Original Happy Hooligan comic strip from 1904, click to enlarge|
Steiffgal hopes this review of Theriault's cartoon doll auction highlights has been as delightful as reading the Sunday newspaper comic section!
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