Monday, March 2, 2015

Three Cheers For The Upcoming March, 2015 Teddy Dorado Steiff Auction Event!

And we're off! The first major Steiff auction of 2015 is just around the corner! And as always, our good friends at Teddy Dorado have done a marvelous job of gathering the most interesting Steiff treasures for this upcoming event, which will be held on March 21st, 2015 in Bonn, Germany.  The sale certainly has something for everyone.  Although it's always hard to pick highlights when there are so many fun choices, here are three Steiff temptations that truly set Steiffgal's heart all-aflutter!

Steiffgal's first Teddy Dorado auction favorite is lot #14-7004, a Teddy Baby bear from 1934–1936.  His description, roughly translated from German, reads:  "This cub is made from corn colored mohair and has brown and black glass eyes.  His nose and claws are hand embroidered in brown and he has an open, felt lined mouth. His four original paw pads are in good condition and are made from flesh colored, felt like material; his flat feet are lined in cardboard.  He is five ways jointed, firmly stuffed with excelsior, and has a squeeze voice. He retains his original blue leather collar with a bell and a ff button in his ear.  In terms of condition, his left arm is dirty and he has some play wear to him, but is otherwise is in well maintained shape.  He measures 27 cm tall and 22 cm sitting."

And just what makes this such a beautiful baby?  He is a great size, and also from a very interesting time in Steiff's manufacturing timeline.  Starting in the the mid-1930's, Steiff started experiencing shortages in basic materials including felt, which was being used for uniforms and other military purposes.  As such, items from this time through the very early 1950's often had substitute materials as part of their construction.  Such is the case here with this Teddy Baby with "flesh colored, felt-like material" in the place of wool felt pads, the traditional material for pads.  You can see a close up of this material here on the left.

The next Teddy Dorado auction item that really catches Steiffgal's eye is lot #14-7015, a brown silk plush bear from 1941-1948.  His description, roughly translated from German, reads:  "This Teddy Bear has brown and black glass eyes, and a brown, hand embroidered nose, mouth, and claws.  His four paw pads are made from coarsely woven, felt like fabric.  Teddy is five ways jointed and firmly stuffed with excelsior.  He has a press voice and a shiny ff button in his ear.  It is suspected that he was not produced with a chest tag. This item does not appear in any Steiff catalog. His fur is in nice condition.  He has a small home-repaired cut to his right hand paw pad, but is otherwise in very good to excellent condition.  He measures 30.5 cm tall and 21 cm sitting."

Steiffgal's certain that she's not the only one who finds this bear a wonderful sweet treat!  Like his Teddy Baby cousin noted above, this bear was also produced at a challenging time in Steiff's history.  However, unlike Teddy Baby who just has substitute material paw pads, this Teddy bear is entirely made from alternative fabrics including silk plush for his body and coarsely woven fabric for his pads. The amazing thing about this bear - however - is that despite his relatively poor quality fabrics, and the socio-political climate of his production era, he still looks unmistakably Steiff and clearly demonstrates the same attention to detail and manufacturing integrity that Steiff is famous for.  These rare period bears are very interesting to collectors; a slightly smaller but quite similar non-cataloged brown artificial silk plush Teddy bear with ID sold for over $2,800 at James D. Julia in 2014.

Because Steiff and celebrations go hand in hand, this final top pick from the Teddy Dorado auction takes the cake - literally!  Here we have lot #14-2006 a set of five woolen miniature birds from 1968-1974 dressed up as a wedding party.  This set, and sets like it, were very special in-house productions for Steiff employee weddings, and were designed to go on the top of a wedding cake!  The set consists of two Finches (article number 7103/04) as "bridesmaids" wearing lacy bow head wear; one Finch (7113/08) as the bride in a bridal veil with flowers; and two Sparrows (article number 7115/08) as the groom and best man.  Both are wearing black felt hats. All the birds are made from colorful Nomotta wool, are head jointed, and are detailed with black button eyes and plastic legs and beaks.  The entire set is in excellent condition with each bird retaining its tiny Steiff button and yellow label; these are worn like bracelets around their tiny legs. 

From the collector's perspective, one thing that is really cool about this auction house is that they often get really interesting things to sell from current or former Steiff employees.  These are fabulous items that might have been made as samples or in-house gifts, or company recognition items - not made for collectors. Steiffgal has the wonderful pleasure of owning two of these special treasures - a set of elephants from the Teddy Dorado 2012 Steiff Sommer Auction.  The bird wedding set is clearly an example of these "Giengen Specials!" This completely adorable grouping is most likely based on a much earlier Steiff edition called the Vogelhochzeit or Bird Wedding.  This item, which was produced from 1936-1940, consisted of four standard line woolen miniature birds mounted on a green oval shaped board.  The "bride" wore a long white veil; the "groom" wore a black felt top hat; and the two attending "bridesmaids" wore flowers and carried the train of the bride's veil in their beaks.  All had charming, tiny felt slippers.  A picture of the pre-war wedding party is pictured here to the left; the photo is from Gunther Pfeiffer's 1892-1943 Sortiment book. 

Steiffgal hopes this review of the March, 2015 Teddy Dorado Steiff auction has been an event in itself for you! 

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

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