Friday, July 26, 2013

Playing Hide and Seek With This Rare and Unusual Steiff Collectible

It's always the right time of day - or night - for this wonderful and unusual Steiff collectible!  What we have here today is called a "Betthupferlfuchs" or a "Nightcap Fox." This item, which is both adorable and functional, is not terribly well known outside of Europe.  Let's take a look at him and try and outfox the story behind his design and history. 

This well dressed gentleman fox is 15 cm and head jointed. His head and arms are made from light orange dralon. His muzzle and the insides of his ears are white mohair, while the back of his ears are made from black velvet. His body, which is designed to be like a hollow tent, is made from green felt which is decorated a brown felt collar and "pockets" and brown leather buttons. His face is detailed with brown and black pupil eyes, a black hand embroidered nose and mouth, clear mono-filament whiskers, and a touch of airbrushing.  Nightcap Fox was produced in this size only from 1969 through 1974.

But you are probably asking yourself - where's his nightcap?  Well, in this case, "nightcap" does not refer to either a cozy sleeping hat or a shot of  liqueur or spirits enjoyed before bedtime.  Nightcap Fox was designed to hide a sweet, prize, or coin on the pillow of a child. But there's no reason the same logic couldn't work for an adult as well!  (Steiffgal thinks it would be wonderful if he hid a diamond bauble, keys to a new car, or some marvelous chocolates on her pillow - or yours!)  This function, of course, explains his construction and design. 

It might suit you to a "t" to learn that this very well dressed fox is one of a series of delightful "Nightcap" style animals designed and produced by Steiff almost four decades ago.   All were 15 cm and had practically the identical construction as the fox, including adorable faces, detailed heads, simple arms, and hollow, felt bodies.  Others in this series included a grey and white mohair tabby cat wearing a red felt dress (pictured here on the left); a brown dralon bear wearing a blue and red felt dress; a black and white mohair Cockie Cocker Spaniel dog wearing an orange felt dress; a mohair rabbit in a blue felt dress; a mohair rabbit in a red felt dress; a mohair rabbit in an orange felt dress, and a mohair rabbit in a green felt dress with a little white apron. Fox was the only "boy" in the lineup, all the other pieces were "girls." All appeared overall in the Steiff line from 1968 through 1974.  The original advertising pictures of all of these items are shown below, these are from the 1969-1970 version of the Steiff Dealer's Catalog.  

Nightcap Fox, Cat, and Cockie Cocker Spaniel

 Nightcap Teddy Bear

Nightcap Rabbits
 
As far as Steiffgal can tell through her research, these are the only "Nightcap" style animals Steiff manufactured over the history of the company.  Perhaps its time to bring these "sleepers" back into the line!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's Nightcap animals may encourage you to hide - and seek - a few for your own collection.

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

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