Sunday, April 17, 2016

Feather Your Nest With This Adorable And Extremely Early Steiff Woolen Miniature Chick

When is a "spring chicken" not really one at all? Steiffgal would be shocked if you could answer this silly riddle! In this case, she is referring to a recent Steiff find she made in April - which is actually a vintage baby barnyard bird! Check out this happy handful and see what makes her so interesting from the design and product development perspectives.

Bird's the word when it comes to this Steiff woolen miniature chick. This bitty baby is 6 cm tall, standing, and made from white and yellow Nomotta wool. She had metal feet and legs which have been painted yellow. Her tiny face comes to life with black button eyes, a tan felt beak, and a light orange comb. Most interestingly, she has a distinctive neck which allows her to be jointed at her "shoulder" area as well as at her head. This pattern was produced in this size only from 1931 through 1935 and was made in six color combinations: white and yellow, white and orange, white and light brown, white and dark brown, white and gray, and yellow and brown.  The white and grey version is pictured below for review and comparison; the photo is from Gunther Pfeiffer's 1892-1943 Sortiment book. 

Although this white and yellow chick's IDs have been lost to time, she would have left the factory with two IDs. These would have been a red tag with the numbers "1506,1" on it, held in place like a bracelet around her ankle with a small "trailing F" style button. The 1506,1 corresponds to: 1=standing, 5=wool plush, 06=6 cm tall, and 1=the first in a series of different versions of a particular item; in this case, a chick that came in six color versions.  The 1 specifically identifies it as white and yellow. The grey and white example pictured to the left is considered version number 5.  As such, her tag would read "1506,5."

This charming chick holds two really interesting distinctions.  The first is that she was produced in the 1931 through 1935 timeline.  Woolen miniatures debuted in the Steiff product line in 1931. As such, it is very possible that she is amongst the earliest examples of any woolen miniatures the company ever produced.  Her second "first" is that her design is the very earliest "chick" woolen miniature design manufactured by Steiff.  Woolen miniature chicks would appear continuously in the line through 1984; however, from 1936 onward they were all yellow or maize and singularly head jointed or not jointed at all.  A close up of the double jointed neck area on the earliest versions is pictured here on the left. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this early and rare woolen miniature Steiff chick has made you as happy as a rooster in a hen house.

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

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