Friday, March 8, 2013

Steiff's Perfect Vintage Easter Rabbit

Hippity, hoppity, Easter's on its way!  What wonderful words, given the cold and snowy winter we've all experienced here in the Northeast.  In just a few weeks, we can all hope for a visit from the Easter rabbit, with a basket or two full of goodies in tow.  But have you ever imagined what this most famous Easter "hare-binger" actually looks like?  Steiffgal has... and here's what she came up with!

If this beautiful bunny doesn't put a little spring in your step, Steiffgal's not sure what would!  What we have here is Steiff's Hase or Rabbit.  She measures 26 cm head to toe, and 33 cm ear-tips to toe.  She is begging, head jointed, and has a non-working squeaker in her belly.  She is entirely made from white mohair, including the lining of her ears. Her charming face is detailed with a simple pink hand embroidered nose and mouth, clear monofilament whiskers, and over sized pink and red albino style glass eyes.  Surprisingly, she does not have any hand or foot claw stitching.  Hase's Steiff ID includes a long trailing "f" Steiff button and remains of her red ear tag.  Her large pink silk ribbon is not original to her, but suits her perfectly! 

According to Steiff records, this particular model was made from 1927 through 1941 in 11, 15, 18, 23, 29, 36, 44, 50, and 70 cm.  (It is not 100% clear which size this bunny under discussion falls as she is a little tall, or a little short to standard; this happens alot given the hand-made nature of early Steiff treasures.)  Hase came in light brown, white, gold, purple pink, and light blue mohair.  Steiff also made this same popular pattern in velvet from 1927 through 1932 in 11, 15, and 18 cm in white, purple, orange, light brown, light blue, pink, and yellow.  All models left the factory with a pastel colored silk ribbon and a bell.  

It is hard not to take notice of this rabbit's large and unusual eyes.  Steiff started using glass pupil eyes on their Teddy bears, animals, and dolls in the early 19-teens when manufacturing and distribution processes made it economically feasible to do so. The company soon started experimenting with different glass eye color combinations and even sizes to give their products a unique, or authentic, touch.  For example, early Steiff cats often had hazel or greenish-blue slit glass pupil eyes, much like real cats. Some novelty items, like Petsy the Baby Bear, Bonzo, and Cheerio, had deep blue and black glass pupil eyes.   This gave them a "special" quality.  Many dogs launched in the 1920's through the early 1930's had larger brown and black pupil eyes to suggest a wide-eyed and youthful innocence.  These would include Molly, Bully, and Charly, just to name a few.  And then of course there is this albino rabbit, with his delightful red and pink pupil glass eyes - clearly a "focal point" of his marvelous design.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on her perfect Steiff Easter Rabbit is sweeter than a big box of marshmallow Peeps - and far more healthy!

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

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