Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Take A Good Look At This Steiff Celebrity Cook!

Ah... every Steiff enthusiast knows the feeling. The one that got away! Steiffgal recently came across a most unusual vintage Steiff novelty that would have been a fantastic addition to her hug. This collectible chef doll was being offered at auction. Apparently there were too many cooks in the kitchen and as a result, he is off to another very lucky collector! Oh well, you can't win them all for sure. Nonetheless, let's take a look at this marvelous rarity and see what makes him truly worthy of three Michelin stars! 

Here we have Steiff's marvelous Maggi Fridolin. He is 13 cm, standing and made from rubber. He wears a very traditional chef's uniform including a toque blanche, scarf, white jacket, and checkered pants. His shoes are black and white felt. He appears to be in very nice condition and retains all of his IDs, including his Steiff chest tag, button, and fully legible yellow tag. His number "713" corresponds to 7= "in caricature" and 13= "13 cm" tall. Maggi Fridolin was made in this size only in 1958.  

And just what is is the "secret ingredient" behind this doll? This kitchen-keeper is the logo of the well known German food company Maggi. Maggi is best known for its production of seasonings, soups, and noodles, which are distributed and enjoyed globally. Its condiment sauce, referred to as "Maggi" is similar to soy sauce and is extremely popular in Europe, Asia, and South America. The company had its origins in Switzerland but set up shop in Singen, Germany in 1897 - where it is still located today. It was purchased by Nestle in 1947. Maggi's founder, Julius Maggi, was very interested in improving the food quality and health of working-class people. His business partner was a physician named Fridolin Schuler. The two worked together to create nutritionally inhanced foods, and later went on to "invent" healthy ready to eat soups and bouillon cubes, among other products.

Steiff put the rubber to the road in the 1950's with these sorts of rubber dolls based on popular brands, logos, or storybook characters of the time. This manufacturing technique was efficient and relatively low cost; however, over time, the rubber usually dried out and crumbled to pieces. This may help to explain why so few of these interesting examples are in existence today. Other rare examples from the Maggi doll's era include Larifari (a 32 cm doll based on a well known children's character, produced in 1955-1957); Gummibert (a 12 cm doll made for the Englebert tire company, produced in 1954); and Captain (a 17 or 28 cm doll made for the Northwest shoe company, produced from 1952-1957.)

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this great Maggi Fridolin doll has been a tasty treat for you.

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

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