Going once, going twice... the countdown to the annual Steiff Sommer Family Event has definitely begun. This year's celebration will be held on Steiff's campus in Giengen, Germany, from July 3rd through the 5th. One of the highlights of this annual pilgrimage for many Steiff collectors is the Steiff auction, hosted by Teddy Dorado. The auction takes place on Saturday evening, July 4th. This year's event features so many fantastic items it is difficult to pick out highlights - each is a winner in its own right. But here are three that really called to Steiffgal personally. Do they speak to you as well?
Steiffgal can't help but go nuts over this first example. Here we have a 17 cm mohair squirrel from 1925.
His adorable face, great jointing including his tail, and delightful overall presentation put
him in a class all to himself. Plus, Steiffgal has always dreamed of owning something with the elusive Steiff "muster" or sample button.
Squirrel is cataloged as... "made of reddish brown mohair
plush with airbrushing in dark brown; front side made of natural white
mohair plush; black shoe button eyes underlaid with white felt discs;
brown stitched nose, mouth & claws; whiskers; six times jointed:
swivel head, arms, legs & tail; very firmly excelsior stuffed;
inoperative squeaker; large Steiff "Muster" sample button in right ear;
fur without any loss of mohair; very clean, unfaded by daylight, no odor
& all original; in mint condition overall
without ears ca. 6.7in. (17cm) high."
If this second selection puts you to sleep, then she is doing her job just right. Here we have a fantastic example of Steiff's 30 cm Cockie Cocker Spaniel pajama bag.
Although "relatively" recent, this playful "zipper" design is seldom if
ever seen on the secondary market, is very collectible, and has been on
Steiffgal's wish list forever.
Cockie is cataloged as... "made of
white mohair plush with black airbrushing; large black-white Googly
glass eyes; black stitched nose; bottom with "Zipp" zipper; body with
inlay from light cotton fabric as pyjama pouch & hand puppet; right
front paw with squeaker; detachable red collar; large raised script
Steiff Button In Ear; yellow ear tag with price area & hand written
(price) note on the back; large chest tag "Cockie" with sticker on the
back; very clean, unfaded by daylight, no odor & all original; in
mint condition overall ca. 14.2in. (36cm) high & arm span ca.
This third and final item really takes the cake - the wedding cake, that is! Here is a charming and unusual example of an otherwise standard line woolen miniature bird wedding party which has been customized with marvelous extra detailing.
This dear vignette has earned its wings with the addition of delightful felt flowers and a festive ruffled
ribbon flourish. A similar edge treatment was also used on the company's rare and period "couch animals."
The grouping is cataloged as... "party
of four woollen birds all in felt slippers on oval grass green
cardboard; according to the consignor once a wedding gift to a Steiff
employee; special edition because of flowers from felt on cardboard
& its surrounding ruche of yellow taffeta; cardboard with
underscored Steiff button; in excellent condition overall; (1) large
blue tit as bride with wedding veil; (2) large finch as groom with black
hat & flower on chest; (3) small golden bunting; metal feet
damaged; (4) small robin with white Steiff tag 6504,1
cardboard measures ca. 7.1in. (18cm) x 4.3in. (11cm)."
was fortunate to catch up with her friend and colleague Carsten Esser, who is the owner and
auctioneer of Teddy Dorado, to speak with him briefly about the upcoming
Steiff Sommer Auction. Here is a bit of their most recent conversation:
can tell by looking through your catalog that this auction will be
spectacular and that you are about to make many collectors very happy!
So what makes this year's Teddy Dorado Steiff Sommer Auction so special
Carsten: I think that because Teddy Dorado has been hosting the Steiff Sommer
for a number of years now, the items we present get better and better
for this very special event. Believe it or not, I reviewed over 7,000
items to select the almost 80 items that will be sold on July 4th! (Note: this means that just a little over 1% of Steiff items presented made the cut for the this auction!)
The Steiff Sommer auction also attracts the very finest buyers and sellers.
For example, a lot of three really breathtaking and early velveteen
rabbits in the auction came from a stunning collection outside of
Germany. The consignor is very smart about Steiff
and knows that this particular auction would be the very finest to
present these rabbits to the world. We are also getting many fine opportunities through referrals, which is a great result of working with
more and more satisfied customers over time. This is how four mint,
late 1940’s lots came to Teddy Dorado. These “time capsule” treasures include a silk plush Teddy Baby, silk plush Fellow Airedale Terrier, silk plush Sealyham, and a mohair Tabby.
Steiffgal: Yes, it is like these items were made yesterday, they are marvelous in every way. Like these selections, many of the
items in this summer's auction seem particularly precious and rare.
How do you select which items appear in the summer auction?
Carsten: I founded Teddy Dorado
from the collector’s perspective, and it is from this viewpoint that I
try to present the most interesting items for sale through our events. As such, I
select items for this auction just from my personal feeling and my
knowledge of the interests of our worldwide bidders - it is that simple!
And the stunning positive feedback of our customers - both buyers and
sellers - shows us again and again that we are on the right track in
could not help but notice that there are a great number of vintage
woolen miniature items in the Sommer Auction. Why do you think they are
so beloved by collectors all over the world?
Carsten: Dogs and woolies seem to be a general theme of the upcoming Steiff auction. I personally love these Steiff
categories very much, but as always condition, rarity, age, quality,
and rarity were our main priorities in selecting them. Woolen miniatures
are the ideal Steiff ambassadors, as well as the perfect representation of the best of Steiff
with their lovable designs and highest quality craftsmanship. They are
also easy to pack and ship, don’t need much display space, and are in
great demand with collectors who cherish them as charming companions for
other toys, as well as just on their own.
And finally, of all the lots in the Sommer auction, if you could have
any for your own collection, which one would it be and why?
Carsten: When I started Teddy Dorado,
I gave up collecting so I could offer all the best finds to our
collectors all over the globe. However, many items in this auction
truly did catch my eye as wonderful and rare collectibles. Perhaps the
best example of this is our opening lot. This very special treasure simply
has it all. It is a unique diorama of tiny white mohair bears surrounded by woolen miniatures.
It is utterly charming and unique. I see many, many Steiff treasures
each year, but I must say, this example is truly Steiff at its very
best! I so look forward to beginning our 2015 Steiff Sommer Auction
event with this extraordinary offering.
Steiffgal: Many thanks for your time, and best of luck!
hopes this discussion on some of Teddy Dorado's upcoming sale
highlights has been almost exciting as a live auction event! You can check out the entire catalog by clicking here.
Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.