Sunday, August 11, 2013

Longing For More Information On This Early Steiff Novelty Dog

Steiffgal bets its a long shot that you've ever seen anything like this before!  Take a look - a long look -  at this wonderful, early Steiff dog... isn't he just marvelous?  This comical canine belongs to a collector in the Midwest who seems to specialize in delightful Steiff rarities.  Brad writes over a series of communications...


"Steiffgal:

Attached are some photos of the Ueberdax. 

He is approx. 14.5 inches long if you straighten his tail which is quite fragile as you can see. He is made of brown velvet and is filled with what seems like cotton batting or some other soft material. He is soft when you squeeze him, not crunchy like he's filled with wood shavings. 

He has a few minor issues.  His tail is split in two places and looks to have been maybe reattached at some point.  He also has a small split in the velvet on one side of his face and some worn areas on his velvet coat, but that is to be expected. Also not sure if he had more stitching on his nose. 

The button was hard to photograph.  It is very small but I think you can make out the style and probably date him. You would have a better idea of his age based on the button than I would.  

Thanks for your help!

Brad"

Steiffgal is over the moon, in overdrive, and willing to go overboard to tell you about this Steiff Ueberdax or "overdachshund!" What we have here indeed is Steiff's extremely long and narrow caricatured dachshund.   He is standing, unjointed, and made from brown velvet.  His face is detailed with early black shoebutton eyes and a simple hand embroidered nose and mouth.  From Brad's description, it appears that he is stuffed with kapok, an organic cotton-like material obtained from the seed pods of a tropical tree.  Steiff used this stuffing as a light and fluffy alternative to excelsior at the turn of last century.  

Steiff produced these long lovelies overall from 1903 through 1921.  They were produced in three sizes in brown velvet, two sizes in black and yellow velvet, and as a 22 cm "Buerstendax" or Brush-Dax.  This brush version had the body of the brown velvet dax as part of a clothing brush - perhaps the early version of a lint brush!  The tiny Steiff button Brad describes was in use from about 1906 to 1925; this helps date his piece to the approximately 1906 through 1916 time frame.  You can see this button here on the left, along with tiny traces of his early white ear tag. 

It is interesting to note that the models on all fours were cataloged as 8, 12, and 14 cm.  Clearly, they were much, much bigger (or at least longer!) than that!  The sizes in this case refer to their height from the top of their heads to the ground.  For example, the 8cm version is actually about 21 cm long.  However, the Buerstendax was cataloged at 22 cm, clearly referring to the item's length.  Ah, the never ending mysteries of the company we know and love... 

Dachshunds are an early blue ribbon favorite in the Steiff catalog, and for good reason.  Apparently the Steiff family themselves loved this particular breed, and always had a few (or more!) underfoot.  This comical doxie pattern was designed by Richard Steiff as a novelty and was based on his own beloved companion named Walle.   Dachshunds are great hunting dogs and Richard and Walle spent many happy hours together in the fields and forests around the Giengen, Germany area.  This very vintage design was brought into the collector's spotlight a few years ago when a fine example was sold for around $7,200 at the annual Steiff Sommer Festival auction.  As a follow up to the excitement generated by the transaction,   Steiff produced both a 22 and 60 cm long replica version (pictured here on the left) of Richard's black and gold Ueberdax in 2005; in 2006 this was followed up with a 22 cm long replica version of his brown velvet Brush-Dax.  

Long story short, Steiffgal hopes you've really enjoyed this discussion of Brad's Ueberdax!

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

3 comments:

  1. Great doggy. I'm confused about the dates, though. Did I miss something?

    "The tiny Steiff button Brad describes was in use from about 1906 to 1925; this helps date his piece to the approximately 1906 through 1916 time frame."

    Why date it to 1916 and not 1925, again? What is it that makes it not part of 1917-1925?

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  2. Many thanks. The particular sized brown velvet model that Brad has was only manufactured through 1916, so that is the latest it could have been produced. Other similar models of this "superdog" were produced through 1925 but not Brad's. Sorry for any confusion! Teddy hugs, Steiffgal

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  3. I have one of these too!! I found mine back in about 1999 I believe. How do I post a photo?? Mine is black and yellow, I believe the 12 cm size (measures around 4 1/2 inches, 5 would be very generous)..mine is in nearly PERFECT condition, nose appears to be gutta percha with embroidered stitching beneath and going down to form mouth as well. Tiny button and half of stock tag (reading only Geschutzt Germany). Airbrushed eyebrows still vivid, velvet is in MINT condition, no fading. This is probably my most prized possession in my collection!

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