Saturday, May 7, 2016

It's A Family Affair When It Comes To Steiff's Classic Pre-War Canines!


For many lucky collectors, Steiff is truly a family affair when parents, siblings, and other relatives also participate in the "button-in-ear" fun! Steiffgal "inherited" her love of Steiff, as well as some of her beloved Steiff family heirlooms, from her paternal Grandmother. Given that Mother's Day in the USA is right around the corner, Steiffgal thought it would be fun to share some of her favorite "family" photos. But don't worry, there's no embarrassing snapshots of cousins in ill-fitting swimsuits eating ice cream cones together on vacation in 1974. These are pictures of families of pre-war Steiff dogs doing what they do best - looking irresistible!

This first family has always been considered "royalty" among Steiff fans. Here we have a sweet trio of the company's "Charly" dogs. These, of course, are modeled after the King Charles Spaniel breed. Each is standing on all fours and made from mohair. All but the bitty baby are head jointed. This pattern is known for its very long, floppy ears and pert tails. Charly dogs traditionally come to life with expressive and oversized eyes, a prominent forehead, freckles on their muzzles, and hand embroidered noses and mouths. Papa Charly is 14 cm tall and 16 cm long; Mama is 8 cm tall and 10 cm long; and Baby is 6 cm tall and 9 cm long; these measurements do not include their tails. Overall, standing Charly was manufactured in six sizes ranging from 7 to 22 cm from 1928 through 1938.

Sit and stay and have a good look at this second Steiff family. These black and white beauties are, of course, a pack of Steiff's Bully dogs. Their pattern is based on the English Bulldog breed. These Bully dogs are all sitting and head jointed.  Papa and Mama are primarily made from black and white mohair and have poseable ears lined in wires. Baby is made from black and white velvet and has stationary ears. All have face and muzzle areas made from tan velvet, prominent jowls, very large brown and black glass pupil eyes, and black, hand-embroidered noses. Papa Bully is 19 cm tall; Mama is 15 cm tall; and Baby is 9 cm tall. Sitting black and white mohair Bully dogs were produced in 9 sizes ranging from 10 to 50 cm from 1927 through 1938 while sitting black and white velvet Bully dogs were produced in 4 sizes ranging from 7 to 17 cm from 1927 through 1939.  

Hold your horses! Most interestingly, these beautiful Bullies all retain some or all of their original and traditional horsehair collars. These are made from long, thin strips of material which are doubled over width-wise; the horsehair fibers are sewn in between the faces of the material. Each collar is held together with a little knot under Bully's chin. The horsehair collar was a typical accessory of the 1920s and indicated a "regal" nature of the item wearing it.

Great Scot, we've already made it to the third and final Steiff family under discussion today. These grey-black pups are utterly charming Steiff Scotty dogs. All are standing and made from black mohair that almost has a "salt and pepper" cast to it. Mama, on the left, is a rare example of the company's tail- turns-head Scotty. She has tri-color almond shaped glass eyes and felt lined ears. Baby, in the middle, and Papa, on the left, have dark black mohair ears, round black and brown glass pupil eyes, and handsome, original black and white woven leather collars that close with two Steiff buttons each. Papa is head jointed and Baby is unjointed. Papa Scotty is 14 cm tall and 20 cm long; Mama is 10 cm tall and 22 cm long; and Baby is 8 cm tall and 12 cm long; these measurements do not include their tails. Tail-moves-head Scotty was produced in 6 sizes ranging from 9 to 26 cm from 1931 through 1934 while the company's regular line standing Scotty dogs were produced overall in 8 sizes ranging from 8 to 35 cm in either gray or grey-black from 1930 through 1943.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion of these great Steiff dog trios has been a family affair for you!


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