Saturday, June 1, 2013

Chin Up Over This Sweet and Unusual Early Steiff Dog

Dog-gonnit, if you are in need of a smile today, chin up!  You have come to the right place for sure. Besides Teddy bears, dogs are second in line as true Steiff superstars.  From the very beginning of the company, dogs have been a huge and important part of the Steiff product offering.  Today Steiffgal would like to share with you one of the more unusual pre-war Steiff dogs - the company's Chin Chins; a typical example is pictured here on the left.  Let's take a look at this early and exotic dog as interpreted by Steiff and see what makes it so interesting from the design and historical perspectives.  

Face it, there's not much not to love about this toy dog treasure!  What we have here is Steiff's Chin Chin.  She is standing and head jointed.  Her tail, chest, sideburns, and ears are made from longer tan mohair, while her body, limbs, and face are made from shorter tan mohair.  She has a squeaker in her belly, and her ears are lined in velvet. Her tail is firmly tacked to her back in a most showy way!  Chin Chin's prominent muzzle is detailed with a black hand embroidered nose and mouth as well as traces of pink and black airbrushed highlights.  Her oversized, black and brown pupil eyes are typical of her period of design, and can also be seen on her distant cousins Molly the Puppy, Bully the Bulldog, Charly the King Charles Spaniel, and others.  

Overall, Chin Chin was produced in 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 25, 28, and 35 cm from 1931 though 1939.  Some of the smaller models had velvet muzzles and legs in addition to their velvet lined ears.

Despite their enormous appeal, Steiff's Chin Chin dogs - unlike other Steiff "pet" designs of the time - were not produced in a large range of variations.  A 15 cm Ball Chin Chin, which like its name suggests is quite round, was produced as a throw toy with elastic straps from 1932 through 1935.  Steiff also manufactured a 10 cm version on a string as a crib toy from 1931 through 1943, and a 10 cm miniature Nomotta wool "woolie" version from 1935 through 1937. A sitting model was prototyped but never put into production; this is pictured here on the left.  The photo is from the catalog of the Christie's 2010 Steiff Auction in London.  

Steiffgal hopes this introduction to Steiff's rare Chin Chins has been a win win for you.

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

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