Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue At The Upcoming Withington Steiff Auction Event!

June - at least around these parts - has got to be one of the finest months of the year. It's not too hot, the flowers are in full bloom, and its the prime season for wonderful happenings, including lots of weddings and happy family times together. And, apparently, auctions as well! Steiffgal has just learned of a wonderful collection of Steiff treasures coming up for sale at Withington Auctions. This event will be held in Nashua, NH on Friday, June 20, 2014. In keeping with the theme of happy seasonal events - especially those involving brides and grooms - let's take a look at some of the highlights from this upcoming sale!

It would only be proper to start out this review with "SOMETHING OLD." Steiffgal's eye went immediately to lot S96, which can be found by clicking here. Of course, collectors will recognize these delightful doggies as a group of three Steiff Treff the Bloodhounds, who are also pictured here on the left. According to Withington's, they are cataloged as... "3 Steiff Treff Bloodhounds, Beige, brown glass eyes, dark brown yarn nose and paws. Large one is 12 ½” sitting; Medium one is 10” sitting and Medium one is standing on all fours. All swivel necks." 

Care to sniff out some additional details about this great design? Treff appeared in the Steiff line from 1928 through 1938. Models were produced in mohair, velvet, and an inexpensive alternative material called "coat plush" in sizes ranging from 7 to 50 cm overall. This design is famous for its long, floppy ears which are lightly stitched down; brown and black pupil eyes which are set in eye pockets; hand embroidered black noses; dainty muzzle “freckles"; and red facial highlights on their lips and under their eyes. Every Treff left the Giengen factory adorned with a large pastel-colored silk ribbon. These ribbons were meant to add a little lightness and color to Steiff's items; this mandate came directly from Richard Steiff around 1925. Treff was so popular that she was produced sitting, standing, on wheels, as a music box, and on a pin cushion during her time in the line. 

Now onto "SOMETHING NEW." Well, that's a bit challenging with this wonderful vintage collection, but something in LIKE NEW condition really caught Steiffgal's eye. Check out lot S126, which can be found by clicking here. The lot is simply cataloged as, "3 – Steiff mohair plush animals, “Sonny” rabbit 5”, “Hush Puppy” 11”, small standing Bear 5 ½." And yes, all three treasures in the lot are dear. But one is exceptional! That is the 11" Steiff Hush Puppy! 

Steiffgal certainly cannot keep quiet about this bashful Basset! Steiff's Hush Puppy examples are quite rare and desirable, and are based on the company's standard line Basset hounds that appeared in the line from 1961 through 1963 in 12, 14, and 22 cm. Steiff's standard line Bassets are sitting, head jointed, and made from mohair that has been carefully airbrushed in multiple shades of tan, brown, and black. Each has long, droopy ears; hand embroidered black noses; and realistic, dimensional soft jowls. The larger ones have extremely round, realistic-looking eyeballs that are embedded into their facial mask structure. The 12 cm model one has flatter, but no less realistic looking, eyes that seem to have a reflective quality to them. Standard line Steiff Bassets wear green collars and usually have "Basset" on their named chest tags.

But here's where it gets interesting. According to company records and literature, Steiff produced Hush Puppy branded 12 and 14 cm Basset hounds as premiums from 1970 through 1972; these were differentiated from the standard line of Basset hound items by a red collar and a special chest tag that had the “Hush Puppies” logo on it. However, this model on offer is 22 cm, and as far as Steiffgal can tell, does not appear in the standard Steiff reference books. A rare beast indeed!

Ok, now in keeping with our celebratory theme, it's time for "SOMETHING BORROWED." These two items were selected by Steiff for replication as they have always been of such great interest to collectors. Check out this ORIGINAL pair of Steiff's spiders, lot S68, by clicking here! According to the catalog, these are... "Lot of 2 - Steiff Spider, “Spidy”. 4 ½” length. Three beady eyes, eight wired legs, two antennas, two mouths, red/brown/green coloring on back and neck. Wool and cotton. Raised button, C.T. 2312,00, Steiff Spider, “Spidy”. 9” length. Five beady eyes, eight legs, four antennas. Beige mohair, red, green and brown coloring design on back and neck. Raised button on left leg."
It's certainly time to get a leg up on these great vintage spiders! This small and large sized Spidy pair are 12 and 22 cm respectively. Both have bead-like black glass eyes and are manufactured from light beige mohair, which is gloriously hand airbrushed in brown, red, and green. Small Spidy has legs and feelers made from gray pipe cleaners, while the larger size has thin mohair legs and feelers. Both large and small Spidy spiders were produced in 1960 and 1961 only, making them quite collectible. Spidy was produced at a time when the company was experimenting with different unconventional materials such as pipe cleaners, rubber, and plastic sheeting to create a series of "creepy crawlers." These included bats, salamanders, snails, and of course, these spiders. And, indeed Steiff did "borrow" a good idea from themselves, creating a replica set of a large and small Spidy in 1991 and 1992 in an edition size of 4,000 pieces.

And finally, it would not be a celebration without "SOMETHING BLUE." And there's not much that's more "true blue" than the US Navy and their mascot the goat! Check out lot S05, a pair of Steiff Navy Goats, by clicking here! According to the catalog, these are... "Steiff Navy Goat, 8” height (to his ear), 12” length. Beige, plush, leather horns and hoofs, green glass eyes. Navy felt blanket. Raised ear button. Cotton tag #1228.0. 1940s, Steiff Navy Goat, 5 ½” height (w/out horns). Grey mohair (long) on body. Mohair (short) on face and feet, short tail, green googly eyes, felt striped horns, black yarn nose, navy blanket with “N”. #7315.90, MINT"

Let's give a salute to these great goats and their interesting history. During the 1950's and very early 1960's, Steiff produced a number of mascots especially for the US market. Mascots were produced for several of top-tier schools, as well as the country's military training institutes - including the United States Naval Academy. The official launch of Steiff's mascot program began in 1951 with the production of two caricatured versions of the US Navy goat. Both were 28 cm; one was sitting and one was standing on all fours. This lot features this early standing version. Each was made from white mohair and had leather hooves and horns; green and black "squint" style eyes, a long beard, and wore a blue and gold felt blanket with a large "N" on the side. These goats were entirely original designs and were manufactured through 1959. Steiff also produced a smaller Navy goat in 15 and 25 cm from 1957 through 1960. This is the smaller goat in the lot. The smaller navy goat's pattern is quite similar to the one that would later be seen on the standard line item Rocky the Capricorn goat, who appeared in the line from 1963 through 1976. 

Steiffgal hopes this celebratory post has put you in the mood for love - Steiff auction love, that is!

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

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