Sunday, January 31, 2016

Warming Up To Some Of Steiff's More Unusual Dog Designs

Given it's just about the midpoint of the cold, dark winter (at least around these parts!) Steiffgal thought readers might appreciate a few warm fuzzies sent their way.  Perhaps you are aware of the saying "a three dog night?" This historically referred to the number of dogs a person would have to cuddle with at night to stay comfortable during frigid weather.  So, to REALLY help crank up the temperature, here are FIVE interesting and somewhat rare Steiff hounds that just might add a degree or two to your day!

Let's get started by taking a "peek" at this first great Steiff dog.  Here we have a large, lesser known Steiff Pekingese named Peky. Her pattern is very different from the company's better known, more common, and smaller Peky designs.  Peky is 30 cm, head jointed, and sitting. Her ears, back and tail are made from very tan long mohair while her face and legs are made from short mohair. Her face is detailed with huge, round black and white google eyes, a black hand embroidered nose, and airbrushing on her eyebrows and elaborately constructed muzzle. She has the most endearing, pouty expression... she is probably thinking, "Hand me over a taste of whatever you're eating right now!"  This large Peky pattern was made between 1965 and 1976; this example has a raised script button placing her production at or before 1969.  

It's time to hand off the spotlight to this most adorable puppet pup.  This is Steiff's Treff the Bloodhound hand puppet.  Treff is 17 cm tall and made from bright blond mohair. She has three black hand embroidered claws on each hand. Her head is modeled after the company's beloved Treff pattern, and comes to life with long droopy ears, oversized black and brown glass eyes set deep into eye pockets; a black hand embroidered nose; simple jowls; and airbrushed freckles. She retains traces of her original red ribbon.  This happy handful was produced in this size only from 1928 through 1940.  This example retains her long trailing f button, early chest tag, and traces of her red ear tag, putting her at the early part of the production timeline.

Rolling right along, here are two great and early examples of Steiff's wonderful dogs on wooden eccentric wheels.  Both have the appearance of bobbing up and down as they are pulled along.

The first coppery example begs a penny for your thoughts.  Here we have a lovely version of the company's beloved Waldi Dachshund pull toy.  Waldi is standing, 16 cm tall and 30 cm long nose to backside, unjointed, and made from long, glorious copper colored mohair.  His tail adds another 10 cm to his length. His face, arms, and legs are made from shorter copper colored mohair. Waldi has a simple black hand embroidered mouth and nose and black eyes. He glides upon four oversized, blue off-center wooden wheels. Waldi retains his original green leather collar, long trailing f button, and fully legible red ear tag.  Pre-war, Waldi was produced on eccentric wheels in 14, 17, and 22 cm from 1933 through 1943; this example is from the early part of that period. Once the factory opened for toymaking business after the war, he again was produced in 17 and 25 cm from 1949 through 1970. 

This second Steiff dog on wheels comes sealed with a kiss.   This Sealyham is standing, 17 cm tall and 24 cm long nose to backside, unjointed, and made from long white mohair. His tail adds another 5 cm to his length. Sealy has a simple black hand embroidered mouth and nose, brown and black glass pupil eyes, and felt lined ears. He rides on four red off-center wooden wheels. Sealy retains his original red leather collar and brass bell, along with his long trailing f button.  He was produced on eccentric wheels in 17 and 22 cm from 1939 through 1943.  And, like Waldi, this model again appeared in the line post war, but for a much shorter interval.  He was available in 14 and 17 cm from 1949 through 1954.

Today's final highlight is a shoe in as a collector's favorite.  Here we have a nice example of a Hush Puppy Basset hound made for the footwear company of the same name.  He is sitting, unjointed, and is made from tan mohair that has been lovingly airbrushed in multiple shades of tan, brown, and black. He has has wonderfully long, droopy ears; a hand embroidered black nose; and realistic, dimensional soft jowls. Basset has brown airbrushed claws and extremely round, realistic-looking eyeballs that are embedded into his facial mask structure.  He retains his original red collar and all IDs, including his specially imprinted "Hush Puppies" chest tag.  

This delightful customer special was produced in 14 and 14 cm from 1970 through 1972, and is quite similar to Steiff's earlier, standard line 1960s-era Basset hounds.  These were produced from 1961 through 1963 in 12, 14, and 22 cm.  There are three main differences between the standard line Bassets and the Hush Puppy Bassets.  The Hush Puppy Bassets are unjointed, have a red collar, and have a special logo'ed chest tag.  The standard line Bassets are head jointed, have green collars, and have the word "Basset" on their chest tags.  

Steiffgal hopes this tour through Steiff's "kennel club" has lit a bit of a Steiff fire under you!

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

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