Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Perfect Stocking Stuffers... Early Steiff Woolen Miniatures!

One of Steiffgal's favorite things about this time of year is what her nephews call the "big socks," or Christmas stockings. After all, what's more fun that an oversized piece of faux hosiery filled to the brim with sweets and gifts?  So this got Steiffgal thinking - what would be perfect Steiff stocking stuffers?  Maybe the company's early woolen miniatures or "woolies?"  After all, they don't take up too much room, wrap easily, have a fantastic legacy, and truly capture the precious nature of the season! So let's check out these three very vintage "tiny treasures" to really get into the spirit of the holidays!

Bird's the word with this first pre-war Steiff woolie stocking stuffer.  This mellow yellow fellow is Steiff's Golden Bunting bird.  He is 8 cm, head jointed, and made from yellow, tan, brown, and olive green woolen yarns.  He stands upon metal legs that have been painted brown.  His tail feathers are made from brown felt, and his beak is made from orange felt.  He has tiny black button eyes.  Yellow Bunting wears his Steiff button and tag like a bracelet around his leg.  He never had a chest tag.

This golden oldie was produced in 4 and 8 cm from 1934 through 1943.  Around the same time period, Steiff also made woolie Robins, Green Woodpeckers, Finches, Blue Tits, and Sparrows.  Like the Golden Bunting, all were made in 4 and 8 cm and had very similar construction.  Only their yarn colors differentiated from species to species.  You can see several of the 4 cm versions of these other birds - and also the 8 cm Golden Bunting - in the picture on the left.  It is interesting to note that Steiff reintroduced all their 4 and 8 cm Robin, Green Woodpecker, Finch, Blue Tit, and Sparrow models right after the factory reopened for toy-making business in the late 1940's.  However, the Golden Bunting version, for some mystery reason, never appeared in the line after 1943.

Steiffgal's just quackers over this second woolie Steiff stocking stuffer.  Here we have a little 4 cm Steiff duck.  His body, head, and backside pom-pom are made from yellow woolen yarn.  His decorative head pom-pom is made from white woolen yarn.  His large, friendly beak and oversized feet and legs are made from orange felt.  His face is detailed with black bead eyes and a touch of orange airbrushing.  His button and tag, which have been lost to time, would have been on one of his feet.

This darling woolie duck was made in only this size and color combination from 1931 through 1941.  For the most part, pre-war Steiff woolie birds were designed to stand on metal legs, so this lying duck is somewhat unusual in terms of form and presentation.  

Not a creature was stirring - except for this mouse!  This final Steiff woolie stocking stuffer is not only insanely adorable, but also extremely seasonally appropriate!  This is Steiff's woolie mouse in felt slippers.  He is 9 cm, standing, head jointed, and made from white and orange woolen yarn.  His head and lower body are white, while his midsection is orange.  His hands and ears are made from single thick felt.  His legs are made from grey metal which has been painted light pink.  His little slippers are made from single thick orange felt and literally "slip on" his feet.  His tiny face comes to life with red bead eyes, a touch of pink to indicate his nose and mouth, and a few clear monofilament whiskers.  When he was a younger man - eh, mouse - he had a long matching tail.  He retains his tiny short trailing f Steiff button in his ear.
  
This petite treat was made in from 1936 through 1942 in this size only.  He also came in several other color combinations, including grey and red and brown and yellow.   Steiff also made several other standing woolie models with tiny felt slippers around this same time period; these included birds, rabbits, ladybugs, beetles, and bumblebees. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's tiny pre-war woolies has gotten you excited for the holidays in a mighty big way.

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

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