Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ringing In The Holidays With A Very Special And Early Steiff Lamb

'Tis the season of bells. It seems like sleigh bells, the bells rung by the Salvation Army volunteers manning red donation kettles, and the ubiquitous "Jingle Bells" song on the radio are top of mind with everyone as we celebrate this special time of year. For Steiffgal, the holidays came a few days early with another bell related treat - a precious and early Steiff lamb with full provenance. Check out this charming barnyard buddy and see what makes her so special from several perspectives.

It's easy to jingle all the way with this adorable little lamb. What we have here is Steiff's Lamm or Lamb. She is standing, unjointed, stuffed with excelsior, and made from lamb's wool plush. Lamb's wool plush has a marvelous, "lumpy-bumpy" texture to it, much like that of a real lamb. Although her design is relatively simple, she has wonderful and angular back legs and perfectly lifelike proportions. Her face is detailed with green and black slit pupil style glass eyes, a red hand embroidered red nose an mouth, and a touch of pink airbrushing on her eyes and muzzle. Her ribbon and bell are original. This pre-WW2 design was made in 14, 17, 22, and 28 cm from 1928 through 1943. This basic design in this wonderful material was also produced in a lying position, on wheels, as a music box, and as a ride on animal.

Steiffgal was fortunate enough to win this great example at the recent Morphy Auctions' Toy Auction Sale on December 18, 2015. This lovely lamb really called to her as she already had the 22 cm version of this pattern. And, as all collectors know, you can never have enough of a good thing! The happy duo are pictured together here on the left. They have almost identical ribbons and bells. Isn't their resemblance uncanny?

One of the things that makes this example so special is that it came with full provenance. Lamb is from the estate of Patsy Ziemer. She was given to Patsy on her first birthday by a family friend who also gave her a pair of felt slippers at the same time.  You can see this documented in her baby book - a page of which is pictured here on the left. According to her family, "Patsy was born Patricia Erica Lyon in the Philippine Islands on October 20, 1927. She had ancestors dating back to nobility in Germany as early as 1110. Her parents were American Civil Service teachers living in the Philippine Islands when she was born. They moved to Germany in 1928 where they established and managed the American School in Berlin. Her parents were active in pre-war Berlin society and observed first-hand the development of the Nazi party. They barely escaped from Germany as hostilities heated up in 1939. Shortly after arriving in Lake City, Minnesota at the age of 12, Patsy wrote the book Two Thousand and Ten Days of Hitler with her father’s coaching. It described her experiences in pre-war Germany, became a best seller in New York, and was published in many languages."  

To honor Patsy and her memory, Steiffgal has named this lovely lamb "Patsy."

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Patsy's sweet sheep has really rung a bell with you.

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

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