Sunday, December 1, 2013

Begging For Information On This Princely Dalmatian

What makes an item a "crown jewel" in a Steiff collection?  Well, everyone has their own opinions and preferences for sure.  But it is true, that some special finds truly merit the royal treatment.  Check out this little Dalmatian, who just might be an heir apparent to the Steiff throne!

No need to beg for information on this most adorable "Spotty Dottie!"  Here we have Steiff's Royal Dalmatian Dally.  He is 14 cm and made from white mohair which is playfully marked with black airbrushed spots.  His ears are black mohair.  He is in the "begging" position and is head jointed.  His face is detailed with black button eyes and a black hand embroidered nose and mouth.  His lips are highlighted with a little touch of red airbrushing.  Royal Dally wears his original red leather collar.  

Royal Dally was made in 1963 only as an exclusive item for the upscale US toy retailer FAO Schwarz. It is interesting to note that this Dalmation appeared just on the heels of Steiff's Rolly Dalmation, which was produced in 12 and 22 cm in 1962 only for the Walt Disney Company in conjunction with the movie 101 Dalmatians.

So just what makes this item so princely?  When he was new, he wore a gold crown that was decorated with faux rhinestones, as well as a red cape with gold ties.  A complete Steiff Royal Dally is pictured here on the left.  Steiffgal's Royal Dally must have lost these royal appointments to time, this sometimes happens when accessories are not firmly stitched in place. It is possible that Dally received his regal goodies at Steiff in Germany or at FAO Schwarz in the United States; sometimes pieces like this were detailed right at the Steiff factory and other times these finishing touches were done in the retail store.

Dally has a unique design feature that truly confirms his royal status.  He is one of the few, if not the only, postwar dog produced in this unusual sitting up begging position, with his arms prominently hanging in front of his body.  There are many dogs cataloged as "begging," but they are usually sitting with all paws on the ground. Royal Dally's begging position is very reminiscent of a typical body shape for many of Steiff's rabbits, especially the beloved Manni pattern.  Manni is pictured here on the left. 

Like many FAO exclusives, Royal Dally's pattern was based on a standard line Steiff item that was somewhat modified and updated for the store.  In this case, Royal Dally was based on Steiff's sitting Dally Dalmatian pattern, which was produced in 10, 17, and 28 cm from 1953 through 1969.  Steiff produced a number of Dalmatian themed exclusives for FAO Schwarz in the 1950's; these included a 23 cm sitting Dalmatian in 1953; 11, 22, and 28 standing Dalmatians from 1953 through 1955; a Dally family in a wicker basket in 1953; and large lying Dalmatians in 28 and 53 cm in 1956.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's Royal Dally has added a spot of color to your day!

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

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