Monday, April 22, 2013

Fantastic Steiff Finds at the Sturbridge Doll, Toy, Bear, and Holiday Show

It's been a pretty tough week in the Boston neighborhoods that are in close proximity to Steiffgal's home.  Thankfully things do seem to be returning to normal after a really high anxiety few days.  There is no better way, at least in Steiffgal's mind, to help improve one's mood than to surround themselves with good friends and Steiff.  And that's exactly what she did, by attending the annual Sturbridge Doll, Toy, Bear, and Holiday Show last Sunday in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  The show, produced by Steiffgal's colleague Kim Kittredge, was a wonderful way to temporarily escape from Boston Marathon bombing madness... and enjoy some really remarkable Steiff treasures.  Here are a few great items that really caught Steiffgal's eye.

Does this goat float your boat?  Well, he certainly got Steiffgal's attention.  Here we have Steiff's Ziege or Goat.  He is five ways jointed and made from very long, white shaggy mohair.  His face is made from shorter white mohair, and is detailed with hand embroidered black nostrils and a simple line mouth.  His round pupil eyes are made from green and black glass, and his ears are lined in velvet.  Goat was produced in 22, 28, 35, and 43 cm from 1906 through 1927.

So what makes this goat "best of the barnyard?" Besides being really just marvelous, he also has two Steiff buttons in his left ear:  a large one (8mm) and a small one (4mm).  Both have the long trailing "f" style Steiff writing on them.  Some early Steiff items do have two buttons; this was sometimes done to indicate an item was an early prototype or model - but usually this was indicated by a button with the word "muster" on it, plus a regular Steiff button.  Steiffgal has never seen anything quite like this button configuration before.

So how much is that doggie in the window? Readers may recognize this tiny treasure as the smallest sized mohair version of Treff the bloodhound.  This feminine, droopy-eyed dog design was introduced to the world in 1928. The first Treff examples - like this 7 cm version -  were sitting, head jointed and made in light brown mohair or velvet. They all have long, floppy ears, brown and black pupil eyes set in eye pockets, hand embroidered black noses and dainty muzzle “freckles.” Every Treff left the Giengen factory adorned with a large pastel-colored silk ribbon. Early sitting Treffs were produced in 7, 10, 14, 17, 22, 28, 35, 43 and 50 centimeters.

Treff’s popularity certainly lived up to her blue-ribbon looks and personality. As a result, Steiff quickly expanded her role in the product line. She was soon manufactured in a standing position, as a large ride-on toy, a side-squeeze musical animal, a pin cushion, a dressed dog-doll toy, a child-sized purse, and a tail-turns-head model. It is interesting to note that she was also manufactured in a less-expensive coat-plush material from 1932 through 1937. Politics and the world economic situation during this time frame greatly limited both Steiff’s ability to obtain high-quality materials and its customer’s ability to afford such “luxuries.” Overall, Treff appeared in the Steiff catalog through 1938.

You've been a doll to read this far, so let's thank you with just that.  Here we have an approximately 16 inches tall or 43 cm Steiff doll.  She is made from felt and is fully jointed.  Her "typical" Steiff style face is center-seamed and is detailed with brilliant cobalt blue and black glass pupil eyes.  This sweet lady is wearing a peasant style removable dress and full skirted apron, as well as a bandana on her head.  It is Steiffgal's best guess, based on her size, styling, and removable clothing,  that she is the Brenz Farmer's Wife doll, which was made in 43 cm in 1912 and 50 cm from 1912 through 1921.

Well hello Dolly!  Given this model was only produced in this size for one year, this is indeed one fantastic find indeed!

Let's get a leg up on this final great show find.  This "tall drink of water" is Rabbiette, a design that Steiff produced from 1927 through 1932. She has a standard line mohair rabbit head, long, soft unjointed dangling limbs; and mohair hands and paws. Her body, arms, and legs are made from lilac colored velvet.  She has glass, very large black and brown pupil eyes and an embroidered nose and mouth.  When she was new, she had a bright, sherbet colored silk ribbon. 

Rabbiette is one of a series of long limbed lovelies in the Steiff catalog from 1927-1932. These "play and car dolls" included Bulliette, the bulldog, Fluffiette, the cat, Molliette, the puppy, and Cherrioette, the open mouthed puppy. These were based on the most popular named Steiff characters of the time; it is interesting that there was not a bear in this series.  Each play and car doll had the head of the character, mohair paws and feet, and dangling velvet limbs. Most were available in several bright, happy "jelly bean" colors and in 20, 30, and 43 cm, with the larger sizes having a squeaker. 

Steiffgal hopes these special finds have added some highlights - and happiness - to your day today.  (And be sure to mark your calendars for next year's Sturbridge Doll, Toy, Bear, and Holiday Show, which will be held on Sunday, April 27th 2014 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.) 

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

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