Thursday, July 23, 2015

This Fully Jointed Steiff Rabbit Is One Cheerful Earful!

"Will you be my honey bunny?" Well, when it comes to Steiff's rabbits, it's hard to decline that request! Check out this delightful and very vintage Steiff bunny that just recently hopped into Steiffgal's hug this summer. It's all but certain you won't be able to resist this cheerful-earful either!

This beautiful bunny is Steiff's early Hollaenderhase or Dutch Rabbit. She is 26 cm, begging and made of white mohair (that has mellowed to a nice vanilla color over time.) Her face is detailed with striking pink and red glass pupil eyes and a simple tan hand embroidered nose and mouth. She has early and "chunky" proportions, including very large thighs and long and narrow padless feet. The remarkable, yet really subtle thing about this rabbit is that she is seven, yes seven, ways jointed! In addition to her head and limb jointing, each of her ears is uniquely jointed and can be moved around in a full circle! This fantastic and really novel pattern was produced in white, white and brown, and white and black in 22, 28, and 35 cm from 1907 through 1916.  Here she is modeling for you on the left; she wears a denim dress that is not original to her but made by Steiff, and a 1920's-era English children's handkerchief bandanna that is not original to her.  
Steiffgal "adopted" this happy hopper on a trip to the UK from a new friend who runs a great vintage doll and bear stall in a well known London antique mall. It truly was love at first sight, and the rabbit - since named Sarah - accompanied Steiffgal on her trans-London adventures. Sarah loved the ice cream and soda fountain parlor at Fortnum and Mason, and like her friend mini-Molly, even enjoyed a "Strawberries and cream" iced tea drink at the Mad Hatter's Tea at the Sanderson Hotel!  But, UNLIKE the other White Rabbit usually associated with Alice in Wonderland, Sarah was exactly on time for this fun gathering of friends.

This rabbit appeared in Steiffgal's life at a most coincidental and auspicious time. Steiffgal has been working on an interesting project to tell the story of FAO Schwarz and the family's role in bringing Christmas and play to America at the turn of last century. Part of this research involves reviewing old family photos and documents. Once photo, from about 1914, shows two of the Schwarz children at home, playing with some toys including a doll, squirrel, and a pair of rabbits. Upon closer review of the photo, it appears that the rabbits are indeed two of Steiff's fully jointed Dutch rabbits - one being all white (like Sarah) and the other perhaps brown and white. You can see this remarkable photo here on the left. Steiffgal and a friend recently presented some of their findings about FAO Schwarz at the 2015 United Federation of Doll Clubs annual event in Kansas City.  And guess who made a guest appearance at this seminar?  Sarah the bunny of course!  She stole the show as a "real life" example of a vintage Steiff treasure with historical ties to this remarkable family.  

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Sarah, the fully jointed Holland rabbit, has been a double-dutch treat for you.  

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

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