Sunday, February 17, 2013

Every House Needs A Steiff Mouse!

There's no mousing around when it comes to solving Steiff mysteries!  And here is an interesting one that appears to come from the United Kingdom.  Take a look at this inquiry from Sarah, who wants to know more about her larger-than-life Steiff mouse.  She writes in part....


I really enjoyed reading your web page... and I thought that maybe I'd finally found someone who could answer my question.

I have a large (30 cm) Cosy Fiep Mouse. He's bright yellow and was probably purchased from Harrod's sometime in the late 1980's or early 1990's.  His ear tag number is 5388/30.

Here's my confusion. When I look him up on any reference site his tag says he's meant to be green. I've tried time and time again to find any reference to a yellow mouse but I've failed.  And, the
more I look into my mouse, the more it appears he wasn't meant to be this colour. I'm wondering if it was a factory error... or a sample... or... I don't know!

Best regards,

Steiff's Fiep mouse in grey
Mice can be nice, and this is big buddy is certainly proof of that.  What we have here is Steiff's Cosy Fiep Maus or Mouse.  A grey version of Fiep is pictured here on the left. Steiff uses the word "cosy" to describe a product that is soft, well constructed, and in general made as a child's plaything.  Fiep is simply constructed from plush; he has an oversized body and a long tail.  His face is detailed with a large black plush nose and black button eyes.  His ears are lined in contrasting colored soft fur.  This particular design was in the line overall from 1980 through 2003.  He was produced in 15, 30, 45, and 80 cm and appeared in white, grey, blue, violet, olive green, golden yellow, aubergine (which is like eggplant), and yellowish olive green over time.  This general design was also produced as a 15 cm musical mouse in red or white from 1985 through 1996.

Let's clear up any big confusion on this little guy.  Steiff has made thousands and thousands of items since the company's founding in the late 1800's.  And it is impossible for any website or reference book, or even official records to capture every single item in every single color and size.  And that probably is the reason for Sarah's confusion over the color and tag number of her mouse.  However, this item, with tag number 5388/30, IS noted (but not pictured) in the 1947-2003 Steiff Sortiment book, and is briefly described as "a 30 cm golden yellow Fiep mouse, produced from 1986 through 1988." If he were olive green, his tag number would be 5392/30.  

Although most collectors don't want REAL mice in their homes, few can resist including a few mice in their Steiff hugs.  They take up very little space, are adorable, and are great for adding a bit of humor and interest to displays and holiday vignettes.  Mice have been part of the Steiff line since the debut catalog in 1892.  The earliest Steiff mice were 4 cm, on all fours, and made from grey or white felt.  This same design was also produced on a colored felt pad as a pin cushion or an ink pen wiper.  Mice were also produced as 4 cm woolen miniatures in grey, white, and brown from 1931 through 1943; and again in grey and white from 1949 through 1984. The picture to the left shows two examples of Steiff's woolen miniature mice:  the white one is post-war while the grey one is pre-war.   

Perhaps the most beloved and collectible Steiff mouse is Pieps, who appeared in the line from 1958 through 1978.  Pieps is 8 cm, made from mohair, and begging; he came in white and grey.  His petite and precious details include a long felt tail, tiny black or red eyes, prominent whiskers, and a precious, "feed me" look.  During the 1970's, the high end toy store FAO Schwarz would dress up Steiff's Pieps mouse in wonderful and imaginative costumes, including a bride, princess, clown, hula dancer, and Miss America, among many others.  These dressed mice are highly desired amongst collectors.  Today, groups of Pieps are regularly featured in the delightful streetside windows of the fantastic Spielzeug Welten Museum in Basel, Switzerland - where they are dressed to the nines to complement the story theme of the museum's seasonal displays.  The photo on the left shows a detail of the museum's Christmas display (featuring Pieps!) from a few years ago.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff mice has been more than nice!

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


  1. I love it when I see something that I own in your blog! I have Cosy Fiep mouse which was bought for my son around `1990. A much loved member of my collection.

  2. You are SPECTACULAR. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to find information on my big yellow mouse.


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