Monday, December 8, 2014

Just Who Is This Remarkable And Rare Steiff Rodent?

In the mood for a little Steiff puzzler?  Then check out this mysterious forest friend who's keeping very, very quiet abut his identity. Does he look familiar to you?  As far as Steiffgal can tell, he does not appear in any of the standard Steiff reference books.  But, he did squirrel away a little clue about himself many years ago in a most clever way. But more about that in a bit.  But first, take a look and see what you think!
What is the tale behind this rare rodent?  Here we have a 22 cm, begging Steiff sweetheart.  He is made from shorter tan mohair and is unjointed.  His hands are made from double thick felt.  His prominent tail is made from very long, wavy mohair.  He is expertly hand airbrushed all over with tan, brown, orange, and black highlights.  His adorable face is highlighted with over-sized black eyes, a simple black hand embroidered nose and mouth, clear monofilament whiskers, and single sided mohair ears. 

His IDs help just a bit in identifying him.  He retains all of his original Steiff IDs including a large colorful bear faced chest tag, his raised script button, and yellow ear tag with the article number 2029/02.  This combination of IDs suggest he was made no later than 1969.  However, his actual article number doesn't translate into anything that actually describes him or his size.  This is possible because in 1968, Steiff started to give each item its own unique number, rather than relying on its traditional numbering system that had alot of redundancies to it. 

So just who is this guy?  Given his configuration, detailing, and era, is possible that he could be a squirrel, a chipmunk, or a marmot. Steiff has a legacy of creating all of these fuzzy friends, and they share many similar general characteristics.  These include body position (begging); double thick felt hands and/or feet; large and fluffy tails; and eager faces detailed with oversized eyes and whiskers. 

It took an international effort to crack this nut - oops, case!  Thanks to a tip from Steiff Super fan Alaina Russell from Canada, it appears that this example appeared in the FAO Schwarz toy catalog in 1968-1969, and is indeed a sensational squirrel! His picture appears here on the left.  It is interesting to see that he is grouped with another field and forest friend, Dormy the Edible dormouse.  

The squirrel's FAO Schwarz catalog description reads as follows...
"Tame and friendly, this begging grey squirrel in soft plush, has a long bushy tail and looks very natural. 7-1/2" tall. Ship wt. 2 lbs. $6.95"

It is not possible to tell from the information at hand if he was produced exclusively for FAO Schwarz or not.  However, regardless of his manufacturing status, it is clear that he is quite rare and was produced in extremely small numbers overall.  Have you ever seen another one?  He really is fabulous!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on the mystery FAO Schwarz squirrel has left you bright eyed and bushy tailed.

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

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