Friday, June 21, 2013

The Countdown Is On To The 2013 Steiff Sommer Festival And Teddy Dorado Auction!

It's the most wonderful time of the year, at least in Steiffgal's eyes! And just why is that? Well, early summer means the annual Steiff Summer Festival... along with the the marvelous Teddy Dorado Steiff auction! This yearly happening, which takes place right on and around the Steiff campus in Giengen, Germany on June 28th through the 30th, calls for Steiff enthusiasts from around the world to gather and celebrate all things button-in-ear... right where it all began! This year's Steiff auction features many precious items, including some never publicly seen items before, as well as some treasures with the most remarkable histories.  All the lots can be viewed by clicking here.  But right now, here are three items that really caught Steiffgal's eye from the catalog.  What do you think?

Let's get things moving with this first auction highlight, Lot 9-1908.  Here we have a 12 cm unjointed grey felt running rabbit on iron wheels.  He has black shoe button eyes and a stitched mouth.  His inner ears are lined in pink felt.  He is stuffed with excelsior.  He retains his original red velveteen taffeta neck bow and bell and trailing "F" style Steiff button in ear.  He is clean and in nice condition overall.   This design is really special as it appeared in the debut Steiff catalog of 1892.  Overall, this pattern was produced from 1892 through 1917; this example was made in the 1906 through 1917 time frame. 

And what makes this rolling rabbit a favorite?  Besides her affinity for all things on wheels, Steiffgal loves this rabbit's early, organic form that so perfectly represents what makes turn of last century Steiff items so classic - and so charming.  

It's time to take a look at this next "best of show" selection, Lot 9-1931.  Here we have a 29 cm sitting tail turns head St. Bernard dog.  He is made from long pile natural white and brown tipped mohair plush.  His face is detailed with brown and black glass pupil eyes and a dark brown hand embroidered nose and mouth.  He has a mechanism embedded in his neck which allows his head to turn when his tail is moved back and forth.  Besides his absolutely handsome appearance, this all but mint condition dog also retains his Steiff trailing "F" style button, red ear tag, named chest tag, and a special tag on his backside which reads "Turn here and I will move my head."  This pattern overall was produced in 11, 15, 18, 23, 29, and 36 cm from 1931 through 1934. 

What puts this St. Bernard on the "man's best friends" list?  His darling, and authentic facial expression and muzzle construction are irresistible.   And the fact that he still retains all of his IDs, especially the tush tag - is completely amazing, given he was made as a plaything almost 85 years ago!  But don't just take Steiffgal's word on it... this is such a marvelous pattern that it was was produced again as a limited edition replica in 1993 in an edition size of 4,000. 

This last Steiff selection, Lot 9-1997,  is truly royalty.  Perfectly and appropriately named "Teddy King Winter of Giengen," this beautiful bruin is five ways jointed and made from white long pile mohair plush.  His face is detailed with large black shoe button eyes and a copper colored stitched nose and mouth.  His joints are under laid with black and red felt and he has a working hug-me squeaker.  He retains his original Steiff trailing "F" button and remains of his white ear tag.  His four original felt paws and general condition are very good and just have a little minor wear consistent with his age.  He measures about 57 cm standing and 42 cm sitting.  Teddy King Winter of Giengen was produced in the 1906 through 1907 time frame.  

Bear with Steiffgal as she catches her breath over this terrific Ted.  What is not to love?  His size is majestic and impressive.  His clean white mohair coat looks like it was produced yesterday.  And his face, well, you know what Steiffgal means.  It really doesn't get much better than this bear. 

Carsten Esser, Teddy Dorado's owner and auctioneer, was kind enough to speak briefly with Steiffgal about the upcoming Teddy Dorado Steiff auction on June 29th.  This is the third year Teddy Dorado has hosted the auction, and it gets better and better each time!  Carsten is also a Steiff collector and enthusiast, and he brings this love and passion to each and every Steiff event he runs.  Here are some highlights from the conversation...

Steiffgal:  What is your personal favorite item in the Sommer auction, and why? 

Carsten:  My favorite item is probably auction lot 9-2013 (pictured here on the left.)  This is a painting that features two images Mr Hans Otto Steiff as he appeared in photographs from the 1960's, painted by the artist and long term Steiff employee Mr Helmut Braig.  The painting includes several colorful and expressive Steiff animals and is signed "Helm. Braig 2013".  Mr. Braig was a Steiff employee from 1937 to 1978.  The piece itself is framed and about 107 cm high and about 83 cm wide. 

I met Mr. Braig probably ten times in the last three years to speak him about the history of Steiff from his perspective.  Last December, I asked him if he would do a painting in acrylic
colors featuring Steiff animals; he had never done that before.  A few weeks later, just days before his 90th birthday, he sent me a photo of a painting and asked, "Are you fine with that?" - the painting showed Steiff animals arranged around a double portrait of Mr. Hans Otto Steiff, the company's very long term Steiff CEO in the 1960s and 1970's.  Mr. Braig and Mr. Hans Otto Steiff liked and honored the work of each other very much. Oh and yes, I am fascinated by that painting!

Steiffgal: Tell us a little story about finding some of the treasures in the upcoming Sommer auction. 

Carsten:  We were asked to help sell a very large, fine group of Steiff items that actually took up two whole collecting rooms in a home! The family who owned the treasures needed to reduce the collection to just one cabinet in order to install a day care room for their grandson who would be spending much more time in their home in the near future. Needless to say, the family was most interested in selling off those pieces that took up allot of space!  Of course Teddy Dorado could help out here.  From this collection, we are selling their exceptional, one of a kind display piece featuring the Steiff Sommmer event bears from 1997 through 2000 (lot number 9-2000, pictured here on the left), as well as their 100 cm Studio sized blond mask Teddy bear, (lot number 9-1982) among other fine items from their collection. 

Steiffgal:  Carsten, if you could auction off any Steiff piece ever created, which one would that be and why?

Carsten:  That is a good question, and I have several answers!   I really love antique Steiff center seamed felt dolls - especially the Indian and Samojede examples from the turn of last century.  For the newer items, favorites include the 1960's-era mohair Studio snake and the 1970's era Studio Toucan.  I wanted that bird so badly when I was a teenager!  But my dream situation would be auctioning off a prototype or the LED #1 of a "Teddy Dorado" bear made by Steiff for charity.  Maybe sometime in the future this dream could come true! 

Steiffgal:  Teddy hugs and thanks so much Carsten -  best of luck at the upcoming auction! 

Steiffgal hopes this virtual auction preview has bid up your excitement for this upcoming Steiff event on June 29th, 2013! 

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


  1. Better and better....only 59 pieces this year...where are the highlights?

  2. It's really so cute, thank you so much for your sharing!


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