Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rolling Out The Red Carpet For This Royal Steiff Mouse!

With all the awards shows and Superbowl programming going on right now, Steiffgal figured it was about time to roll out the red carpet, Steiff style! And who better to grace such a walkway then true royalty. Check out this tiny but terrific Steiff princess, and see what makes her so interesting from the design and historical perspectives.  

Most Steiff collectors would want this mouse in their house! Here we have Steiff's Royal Mouse. She is based on Steiff's standard line Pieps mouse, which was produced from 1958 to 1978 in gray or white. This Pieps is 8 cm, unjointed, and made from white mohair which has been lightly airbrushed with brown on her back and the sides of her face. Her feet, hands, tail, and ears are made from thick white felt which has been highlighted with a touch of pink airbrushing. Her face is detailed with tiny black button eyes, a black bead nose, lots of clear monofilament whiskers, and a hand embroidered black mouth, highlighted with a spot of pink to show her lips (or to perhaps indicate lipstick in this particular edition?!) 

And just what makes her Royal? Check out her wonderful, heavy, gold plated crown, which is bejeweled with four faux diamonds and one large faux ruby.This headpiece so large and heavy, it is actually sewn onto the back of her head. You can see how that was done on the picture on the left. And you certainly cannot "es-cape" Royal's wonderful red silken cape! It is lined in cream colored silken material and ties with a long gold cord. Royal Mouse was made in this size only from 1965 to 1966 as an exclusive for the upscale US toy retailer FAO Schwarz.

Royal Pieps Mouse was one of the earliest specialty dressed mice sold exclusively through FAO Schwarz. This beloved series really started in 1962 with the introduction of two new play sets for kids: a country mouse house, and a city mouse house. Both were portable little dollhouses made from plywood that came fully appointed with furniture and household accessories. These sets appeared in the line until 1972. The country mouse house was detailed in more of a "rural style", while the city mouse house was more "upscale." These sets, which were actually constructed and assembled at FAO Schwarz, each came with one dressed Steiff Pieps mouse. The dressed mice from these sets proved so popular that soon many new models were introduced in the 1965 through 1973 time frame. In addition to Royal Pieps, these adorably attired mice included a ballerina, bride (shown on the left) and groom, princess, clown, Hawaiian dancer, Senorita, ball queen, Little Red Riding Hood, and a Miss America Mouse.  The outfits of many of these marvelous mice were lovingly made by hand from lengths of lace, ribbons, and silky materials.

It is interesting to note that Royal Pieps Mouse was not the first crown-wearing Steiff exclusive at FAO Schwarz. Perhaps her design was inspired by the toy store's Royal Dally Dalmatian, who appeared in the line in 1963 only. Royal Dally is pictured here on the left. This princely pup 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. And, like Royal Pieps, his lips are also highlighted with a little touch of red airbrushing.  Both Royal Pieps and Dally wear similarly styled golden crowns and red capes. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's Royal Pieps Mouse has added a crowning touch to your day.

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

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