Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Using A Little Steiff ESP To Identify A Vintage Dog Friend

Mind you, Steiffgal is no psychic when it comes to Steiff.  The company has made thousands and thousands of different products since the late 1800's when it first started producing playthings for children.  And photos are so important when assessing subtle differences between similar products.  However, in the case of this reader's question, Steiffgal was able to use a little ESP (Essential Steiff Powers) to help identify an old friend simply by description.  Hazel writes:


I don't know if you can assist me. I stumbled upon your website recently whilst trying to find some history re: my little Steiff item.

I have a Steiff German Shepherd measuring 10" or 26 cm from paw to tail. He has a red velvet tongue and he is lying down slightly on one side. He has a yellow Steiff label in his ear with a worn silver looking stud. He has some wear to him and is a lovely shabby shade of browns and darker on his back.

I am sorry I do not know how to add photos to my email so any information you could offer would be great.

Many thanks I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards, Hazel" 

Unless she's in a "dog-daze" Steiffgal is all but certain that Hazel's pooch is Steiff's lying Arco German Shepherd.  This precious pooch is unjointed, lying to one side, and made from tan mohair that has been gloriously and realistically airbrushed with patches of black, brown, and tan.  He has pert ears, large and floppy paws, and an impressive tail.  His face is detailed with black and brown pupil eyes, a well defined muzzle, and a happy open mouth with a large red felt tongue.  Lying Arco was produced in 22, 35, and 50 cm from 1957 through 1976.  Steiff usually doesn't count the tail in measurements, so it is Steiffgal's best guess that Hazel's dog is the 22 cm size.  

Steiffgal is unable to fetch details about Arco's button from Hazel's note.  However, if his button is the raised script version, he would have been produced approximately in the 1957 through 1968 time frame.  If he has the domed lentil style button, he would have been produced approximately in the 1969 through 1976 time frame. 

German Shepherds are one of Steiff's beloved "Best in Show" dogs that have been in the line almost continuously in one form or the other since 1923.   They have appeared over time in mohair and wool plush and standing, sitting, lying, on wheels, as studio (life sized) models, and even as dog-dolls in the late 1930's through early 1940's.  The photo on the left of the Pupp-Arco or Arco Doll is from Pfeiffer's 1892-1943 Steiff Sortiment book.  Pupp-Arco is extremely rare; Steiffgal has never actually seen one in person.  Overall, the presence - or absence - of a tongue on Arco is one of the key clues collectors use to date Steiff's German Shepherds! Those produced before 1957 did not have tongues while those produced from 1957 onward did.

Steiffgal hopes this Arco identification has been an ESP (Exciting, Surprising, and Phenomenal) experience for you!

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

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! I also have this German Shepherd him on some years ago and love him.


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