It's easy to go bananas over special Steiff finds... especially when when it comes to the company's beloved primates! A few weeks ago, Steiffgal saw a great vintage Steiff white Jocko up for auction on an online platform. She put in a bid, and in all honesty, forgot about the auction. Much to her surprise, she got an email saying she had won the lot! A few weeks later, the charming chimp arrived at her home. And he was even BETTER than expected! Check him out here... isn't he adorable?
This chimp-champ is Steiff's delightful and early pre-war white Jocko chimp. Jocko measures 15 cm sitting and 25 cm standing. He is five ways jointed and made from lovely white mohair which has mellowed to a more vanilla color over time. His hands, feet, face, and ears are made from light peach colored felt. His face is detailed with green and black glass pupil eyes set in eye pockets and a fuzzy white mohair chin. Jocko's face and ears truly come to life with delightful grey, pink, and black paint and airbrushing. He has a distinctly innocent, childlike look to him that is rather precious and endearing. White Jocko was produced in 10, 13, 15, 18, 22, and 25 cm from 1925 through 1943. Post war, white Jocko was again produced in 10 and 15 cm from 1949 through 1961. In 1966, he was also produced as a "bendie" version in 11 cm.
White Jocko has an important place on the Steiff primate family tree. Of course, Jocko is a chimp, and chimpanzees are legacy animals for Steiff. Chimps first appeared in the company's debut catalog of 1892. In 1903, a large, primitive looking string jointed monkey (PB 60) was introduced to the world. A few years later, in 1909, Steiff redesigned their monkey pattern towards a more lifelike appearance. This new brown mohair chimp design featured detailed felt hands, feet, and facial features, including eye pockets and a white mohair chin in the medium and larger sized versions. The updated pattern was produced in 15 sizes, ranging from 10 to 90 cm, at various times from 1909 through 1943, and then again from 1949 through 1990. The chimpanzee received his "official" Steiff name, Jocko, in 1929. A collection of post war Steiff brown Jockos are pictured here on the left.
It is interesting to note that white Jocko - who is clearly based on brown Jocko - was introduced in 1925. This is around the time that Steiff started introducing a number of particularly innocent, feminine, and youthful looking models, including Molly the Puppy, Teddy Rose, and Fluffy the Cat. These new product introductions reflected the cultural priorities and levity of the "roaring 1920's", and well as design directives from Richard Steiff himself!
White Jocko celebrated his 80th anniversary in 2004. As such, Steiff created a charming fully jointed version to mark his important birthday. He was produced as a worldwide exclusive in an edition size of 1,500 pieces. You can see this lovely replica here to the left, pictured alongside his very vintage cousin for comparison.
Steiffgal hopes that this discussion on Steiff's white Jocko chimp has been more fun than a barrel of monkeys!
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