Saturday, March 28, 2015

Catching Spring Fever With Steiff's Wonderful Early Post War Bazi Dachshunds

At last, the snow in the park across the street from Steiffgal's house has started to melt enough that there are more patches of green than white. And no one could be happier about that than Steiffgal, with the pugs a very close second! It is great to see the neighborhood dogs again, who all seem so happy to end their winter-induced home hibernation! To celebrate the onset of spring and its associated "pup parade," let's take a look at one of Steiff's earliest post war dogs - Bazi the Dachshund - and see what makes him so interesting from the design and historical perspectives.

Doxies are a legacy design pattern for Steiff. They have been in the line almost continuously since the late 1890's, with the first version debuting in felt in 1897. This is easy to understand - this breed is especially beloved in Germany, and it seems as if the Steiff family themselves had a particular affinity for them as well! Steiff's first named long haired mohair Doxie, Waldi, debuted in 1933 and was an immediate sensation. Prewar, he was produced standing, sitting, as a hunter dog-doll, and on wheels. It is interesting to note that from what Steiffgal can calculate, Waldi has the honor of being the dog pattern with the longest history of production in the Steiff line. He appeared pretty much continuously in the line from 1933 through 1980 - for a total of 47 years. (Molly the puppy is a close second, with a total of 44 years.) An early standing Waldi is pictured here on the left.  

Most likely due to the success and popularity of Waldi, Steiff introduced a new Doxie named Bazi design right after the factory reopened for toy making business in the late 1940's. Two versions were produced - a sitting Bazi and a standing Bazi on wheels. Both were head jointed and made from artificial silk plush which was highlighted with brown and coppery highlights. Sitting Bazi was made in 14 and 17 cm from 1948 through 1949, while Bazi on wheels was produced in 14 cm in 1949 only. And, because of their era of production, these silk plush versions may have a number of Steiff's buttons, including a short or long trailing F button or a blank button. Sitting silk plush Bazi is pictured here on the left; this particular example has a blank button. 
Bazi took the collector's world by storm in 1950, and remained a constant in the production line through the mid 1970's.  The early 1950's could be called "the dogs days of Steiff" as this was the time when many new named dog patterns - like Snobby the Poodle, Dally the Dalmatian, and Sarras the Boxer -  were introduced as mohair became more readily available on a commercial scale again.  Starting in 1950, Bazi was made sitting, standing, on wheels, as as a press and release music box, and as a dog-doll.  You can see these blue-ribbon buddies pictured below.  

Sitting mohair Bazi was was produced in 10, 14, and 17 cm from 1950 through 1969. These are very early examples with their red imprinted chest tags and earliest article numbers. The small one also has his US Zone tag.

Standing mohair Bazi was produced in 10 and 14 cm from 1950 through 1975. Like his brothers pictured above, this is a very early example. 

Standing mohair Bazi on wooden eccentric wheels was produced in 10 and 14 cm from 1950 through 1961. This model rides upon four off-center wooden wheels and has the appearance of bobbing up and down as it is pulled along. 

Musical mohair Bazi was produced in 25 cm in 1950 and 1951 only. Please click here to learn more about this really interesting item and her full provenance.
Standing mohair Bazi dog-dolls were produced in 25 cm from 1950 through 1954. Please click here to learn more about the story behind this very sweet Bazi couple.

Steiffgal hopes this review of Steiff's beloved Bazi pattern has been as refreshing as a breath of spring air for you!

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

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