It's the most wonderful time of the year... to be a Steiff enthusiast! Buying and selling opportunities really do heat up (no pun intended) as the calendar flips to June and July! One auction many collectors truly look forward to is the June 19th Antique Advertising, Toy, and Doll event at James D. Julia Auctioneers in Fairfield, Maine. This auction usually features some exceptional Steiff lots, and this year is no different. Here are three lots from this sale that particularly caught Steiffgal's eye!
This first highlight is one great beast of burden! Here we have lot 2085, a fantastic (and totally irresistible) Steiff riding oxen with IDs. He is measures 13” h (33 cm) x 21” w (53 cm). He is standing, unjointed, and rides upon a metal riding carriage with a wooden steering handle. This barnyard buddy is made from short tan and coppery-orange mohair with longer tan mohair on his tail tip. His face comes to life with black button eyes and leather horns; he also has leather hooves. He rides upon four red metal wheels and has his original red and white pull cord which is finished with a red wooden knob with a Steiff medallion. He retains his long trailing “f” style button and traces of his paper ear tag as his Steiff IDs.
This model was produced in 9 sizes ranging from 14 to 80 cm from 1909 through 1943. Many people confuse this pattern with Steiff's
cow on wheels, but his distinctive coloring, body shape, and horns
define him as an ox in this cattle-battle. Despite its longevity in the
line, these riding ox are seldom seen on the secondary market. This
particular model has particularly vibrant coloring and a most appealing
It's time to pony up to our second Julia's Steiff highlight. Next we have lot 2087, a stately and elegant felt Steiff riding horse. He measures 6-1/2″ h (42cm) x 18″ w (46cm). This pretty pony is standing, unjointed, and glides upon a metal riding carriage with four metal wheels. Horse has a wooden steering handle. He is made from brown and tan felt with a real horsehair tail and mane. You can't help but notice his face, which is detailed with brown and black glass pupil eyes. His lifelike hooves are painted black. Horse is dressed to the nines with a velvet, fabric trimmed saddle cloth and leather fittings which appear original or at least period appropriate. This example retains its Steiff long trailing “f” style button and its original red and white pull cord. Like the ox mentioned previously, the pony's pull cord also has a red wooden knob finished with a Steiff logo'ed metal medallion.
This model is an absolute legacy pattern for Steiff. It was produced overall in 10 sizes ranging from 12 to 80 cm and is remarkable as it is one of only a handful that appeared continuously in the Steiff catalog from its debut in 1892 through the last days of the company’s toy production during WWII in the early 1940s.
They say fine feathers make fine birds, and such is the case in this final Julia's Steiff highlight. Here we have lot 2090, a lot of seven absolutely lovely post war mohair Steiff birds which range in size from 4″ h (10 cm) to 6-1/2″ h (17 cm) tall. Consider feathering your nest with this group which includes a 17 cm mohair finch with felt wing and tail feathers, red painted metal feet, and all Steiff IDs; a 12 cm mohair tit with felt wing and tail feathers, red painted metal feet, and a Steiff button and chest tag; a 10 cm mohair tit with hair wing and tail feathers, brown metal feet, and all Steiff IDs; a 10 cm mohair tit with stenciled velvet wing and tail feathers, tan plastic feet, and a Steiff button and chest tag; a 10 cm mohair sparrow with stenciled velvet wing and tail feathers, tan plastic feet, and a Steiff button and chest tag; and a 10 cm mohair bullfinch with stenciled velvet wing and tail feathers, tan plastic feet, and a Steiff button and chest tag. All of these sweet-tweet-treats have plastic beaks and present in the most charming way. These birds of a feather were all produced in the 1955 to 1973 time frame.
Bird's the word when it comes to Steiff for many collectors. The earliest Steiff birds with legs, such as storks, pigeons, hens, roosters, and ducks, had felt covered or cord wrapped metal feet and legs. As time went on, many models were transitioned to all metal legs and feet. In the 1960's and 1970's, a number of Steiff birds - including the company's beloved woolen miniature birds - strut their stuff on all plastic legs and feet.
hopes this preview of some of the great Steiff auction highlights to be sold at James
D. Julia's June, 2015 toy auction has been a best of show experience for you! The full catalog is now online and can be accessed by clicking here.