Saturday, August 16, 2014

This Starfish Stool Is Truly A Steiff Celebrity!

Who is the star of your Steiff collection? For many enthusiasts, that might change on a weekly, or even daily basis! Here's one very heavenly Steiff rarity that truly has permanent and universal star appeal. Put your feet up and check out this great larger than life celebrity that truly merits a place on the Steiff Walk of Fame!

This leading lady is Steiff's Seestern Snuggy Starly or Snuggy Starly Starfish. This five legged lovely is 50 cm in diameter and 30 cm high and made from mohair. She was actually originally designed as a "sitztier" or sitting animal for children. Her top is gloriously hand airbrushed in pumpkin-orange, brown, green, and cherry-red. Her underside is tan. The tips of her "feet" are made from a faux suede material, which feels quite similar to the faux suede material used on the pads of Steiff's mid to late-1950's pandas and Teddy babies. Starly has a yellow metal frame attached to the underside of her body via heavy tan strings. This "skeleton" gives her strength and stability, and holds her semi "arched" or standing position. She has grey rubber feet on the ends of this metal frame, to keep her in place and prevent floor scratching. Starly was produced in this size only (officially cataloged as "35 cm") from 1959 through 1969.

It is interesting to note that Starly's raised script button is attached to her via a simple white linen strip of material sewn into one of her leg seams. Clearly, she does not have ears or really any other place to put her IDs. However, this is the only time that Steiffgal has seen a button on a plain piece of linen, not on a yellow ear tag or other piece of semi-branded Steiff material or fabric.

Starfish are as rare as a celebrity sighting in the Steiff line. As far as Steiffgal can tell, Starly was the first starfish to appear in the Steiff catalog - ever! And there have been just a handful since her introduction. These include a 10 cm, colorful nicki velour baby rattle starfish (produced from 1978 through 1992); a 20 cm polka-dotted cotton squeaking baby toy (produced from 1999 through 2000); a 12 cm red and yellow mohair starfish named Coloro (produced from 2004 through 2005); and most recently, a red plush starfish named "Piccy" who was introduced in 2012. Piccy was produced as a 15 cm toy as well as a 12 cm keyring; he is pictured here on the left.

Snuggy Starly Starfish was part of a series of "functional playthings" Steiff started producing in the late 1950's. Steiff's universal appeal really took off a few years after the end of WWII, possibly because soldiers returning from assignments in Europe often brought Steiff items back home with them. As a result, Steiff began expanding its offerings to keep up with demand and explore the potential of new product lines. In addition to Starly, other sturdy, metal framed "sitting" mohair animals in the Snuggy series included a 30 cm may beetle (produced from 1968 through 1969), a 40 cm frog (produced from 1959 through 1966), a 43 cm turtle (produced from 1957 through 1974), and a 55 cm elephant (produced from 1957 through 1966). All but Starly were based on existing, beloved Steiff patterns of the time.  Snuggy Slo turtle - and a few of his groupies - are pictured here on the left. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Snuggy Starly has put stars in your eyes!

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

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