Friday, August 21, 2015

Dressed To The Nines With This Fantastic Steiff Mascot Rarity

It's just about back to school time around here. Accordingly, lots of families are off to the stores to pick up new shoes, clothing, and backpacks for the new academic year. If Steiffgal could do her fall shopping anywhere on the planet, it would most definitely be at Breuninger, a high end department store in Germany. And why is that? Their logo - a bear of course - that was made into one of the most sought after Steiff editions ever! Take a look at this little guy and see what makes him so interesting from the collector's perspective.

They say clothes make the man - but perhaps they make the bear in this case as well? Here we have a fantastic example of Steiff's Breuni bear. He is about 13 cm tall, standing, and head jointed. He is made from blonde mohair. His arms are lined in metal wires and are posable; his legs and torso are stationary. Breuni has oversized, felt soled flat feet designed for standing. His charming face is detailed with black button eyes, a felt muzzle, distinctive black nose, and a simple brown hand embroidered mouth. Breuni is dressed to the nines in blue felt shorts, a red and white double breasted blazer with buttons, a blue bow tie, and fingered white gloves. He retains his Steiff chest tag, raised script button, and legible ear tag with the numbers "714" on it; this translates to 7=in caricature and 14=14 cm.

Talk about a personal shopper! This treasure was produced exclusively for Breuninger in this size only in 1956 and 1957; it is Steiffgal's understanding that he was not actually produced as an item for sale but as a premium that the store distributed to customer contest winners and employees. As such, very few were produced and he was not available to the general public - adding to his rarity. 

Now let's catalog one more really cool thing about this Ted. If you look closely, you will see that he is holding a tiny copy of the store's toy catalog. It is titled Breuninger Spielwaren 1956(Breuninger Toys 1956) and is suspended like a shopping bag around his right hand. And, if you pull out a magnifying glass, you can make out a teeny tiny Steiff Niki rabbit, as well as a Steiff Mecki hedgehog doll on it. Both of these items were introduced in the early 1950's and were extremely popular at the time. The catalog cover also features two toy vehicles which theoretically could also have been made by Steiff, as Steiff was producing these sorts of items in the mid-1950's as well. However, they are just too tiny for Steiffgal to tell for sure.
Breuni was introduced as Breuninger's logo mascot in 1952. He was often featured in store advertising and print catalogs; you can see him on the cover of a 1954 publication here on the left. He is still used for store marketing today, and is a beloved and well recognized brand, especially with kids. In 1995, Steiff produced a delightful replica of their original Breuni in an edition size of 1,500. However, unlike the original that was technically 14 cm, this reissue was slightly taller at 20 cm. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Breuninger's rare and well dressed Steiff cub has suited you well.

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

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