Saturday, October 19, 2013

Good Steiff Things Come To Those Who Wait

Steiffgal does not like to miss a beat when it comes to Steiff, but unfortunately last week she missed posting a new blog post for her beloved readers.  But, as always, good things come to those who wait, and this week's entry hopefully will make up for lost time.  So here's the reason for the Steiff radio silence - Steiffgal was traveling across the country and meeting with collectors on the West Coast.  And boy did she see some amazing Steiff treasures.  Here are a few highlights from a mind blowing Steiff collection in Northern California.  Prepare to be amazed!

Life's just a pajama party when it comes to these first vintage Steiff rarities.  Here we have a set of two Steiff PJ bags.  The one on the left is a brown and white Molly the Puppy, and the one on the right a white Sealyham. These were the first style of pajama bags that Steiff launched to the world; pajama bags appeared in the line on and off through the mid-1970's.  Overall, these square sweeties were produced from 1930 through 1937 and were formally called "night dress bags." These bags measured 30 cm x 30 cm, were made of mohair, had a zipper, and were lined in velvet. In addition to the Molly and Sealyham versions pictured here, other bags featured the head of a famous (at the time) Steiff character sewn onto the corner of the piece. These included Teddy Baby, Bully the Bulldog, Charly the King Charles Spaniel, a Scotty, and Siamy the Siamese cat

How about a peck on the cheek for this next amazing Steiff item?  Here we have a great example of Peck, made for the pharmaceutical company Merck.  Any idea who or what this little guy may be?  Well, believe it or not, he is actually supposed to be a germ - yes, those pesky little microorganisms that cause sickness and disease!  Peck is 12 cm tall and made mostly from green mohair.  He has a green felt body and red felt feet and hands.  He has prominent black felt eyebrows (or is it a funny hair cowlick?) on his forehead.  His black button eyes are backed in white felt.  He wears little black rubber shorts and holds what appears to be a large wooden matchstick tipped in rubber.  He has a little loop on his back so he can be hung from the rear view mirror of a car.  This wonderful and strange collectible was produced in 1959 only.  Peck was most likely made as a Steiff "customer special," i.e. an item that was manufactured exclusively to the specifications of another company that would have been used by that company as a internal business gift or promotional item.  

This next seldom seen treasure is rarer than water in the desert!  Here we have Steiff's bath time elephant.  This jungle gem was specifically designed as a tub toy, and is completely waterproof.  He is 14 cm and made from colorfully painted oil cloth. He has a simple design and construction and black button eyes.  He is stuffed with kapok and floats in water.  This excellent elephant was produced in 10 and 14 cm from 1938 through 1941.  Other Steiff oil cloth bath time creations produced during this same time frame include a 12 cm bear on all fours; a 10 and 12 cm Fox terrier on all fours; a 10 and 12 cm cat on all fours; and a 12 cm rabbit on all fours.   

Whooo's a smarty pants and can identify this next precious Steiff treasure?  Head of the class to you if you said Steiff's woolen miniature Eule or owl.  Owl is 8 cm, standing on metal legs, and made from grey, tan, white, and brown Nomotta wool.  He has brown and black glass pupil eyes eyes and a tiny tan felt beak.  Despite his diminutive size, owl has a swivel head and a very endearing expression.  This brainy bird was made by Steiff in this size only, and in 1934 through 1939.  Other birds with this somewhat elongated body shape produced by Steiff around the same time frame include a green and yellow budgie (who was also available on a swinging perch); and a red and yellow parrot with great long red tail feathers.

It's no joke that Steiffgal saved her most favorite discovery for last here!  Let's monkey around and take a look at this most outstanding Steiff Affe or monkey.  This wonderful and playful primate stands about 35 cm tall.  His head, torso and lanky arms and legs are made from brown short-pile plush while his simple face, hands and feet are made from brown felt. He has black shoe button eyes and a folksy, pleasant expression. Unlike other Steiff primates - Jocko the Chimp in particular - this pattern does indeed have a tail. This basic model was produced in 28, 35, 43, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 120 cm over the 1903-through-1928 time frame in a few colors and materials. Although his darling felt harliquin outfit is not original to him, he was produced in an identical costume from 1904 through 1918.  It is Steiffgal's best guess, given this monkey's 8mm long trailing "f" button, that he was made in the mid-1920's. These early long-limbed Steiff primates remain the “Holy Grail” for many vintage Steiff enthusiasts.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion of exceptional Steiff rarieties has been worth your waiting time!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures, found on an adventure or otherwise? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

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