Sunday, May 22, 2016

Steiff Studio Birds of a Feather Flock Together At Morphy Auctions' June Sales Event!

Care to feather your nest with Steiff's fantastic birds? Then Steiffgal's got a hot tip for you! There is a totally amazing selection of Steiff birds - including incredibly rare Studio examples - coming up for sale at the upcoming Morphy Auctions' premier toy sale at the end of June. Here are three larger-than-life rarities that really took flight with her!

Isn't she pretty in pink? There's no denying that this first pick, a Steiff Studio flamingo, is truly in a class by itself. This item, lot #819 in the sale, is cataloged as...

"This fantastic Steiff flamingo would light up any room with a tropical ray of sunshine! This big bird measures 65 inches tall. He is standing, unjointed, and made from a variety of materials, including short mohair, longer decorative hair, dralon, and synthetic leather. His very long legs are made from metal and detailed with realistic knees and feet. His wings are made from mohair that has been airbrushed in shades of pink and black. His tail and tail feathers are made from black and white felt. His head and neck are detachable and fit via two prongs into his chest area. Flamingo's face comes alive with gold, green and black eyes and a rubber beak and facial mask. This rubber is drying and has minor losses around the eye areas but is otherwise fine. Flamingo has his button and hand written yellow tag as his Steiff IDs. This is the first Studio flamingo this cataloger has handled. Flamingo was produced in the 1960's and came in this size only. Condition: As noted. With light surface dust and light fading; overall in very good condition. Provenance: From a fine New England collection. Estimate: $1,000-2,000."

Bird's certainly the word with this absolute rarity. Her height, presentation, personality, and coloring are incredibly distinctive. And although she has a huge presence, she takes up very little footprint in any room so she's really easy to display. Flamingos, despite their beauty and cultural appeal, have only been produced a handful of times by Steiff in the past. Steiffgal's favorite by far was a 2004 limited edition made in mohair in an edition size of 1,500 pieces for North America. This beautiful pink bird was named "Gloria" as a nod to musician Gloria Estefan of the group "Miami Sound Machine." Steiffgal's Gloria is pictured here on the left. 

The next big bird highlight is certain to whet your appetite. Here we have, of all things, a Steiff Studio turkey. This Thanksgiving favorite, lot #831 in the sale, is cataloged as...

"Any Steiff collector would be more than thankful to have this big bird in their collection. Turkey measures approximately 30' tall and 30' wide. He is standing, unjointed, and made from tan and black mohair, longer decorative hair, and felt. His legs and feet are made from metal and covered in grey felt. His elaborate wings, tail feathers, and body are made from mohair that has been vibrantly and realistically airbrushed in shades of brown, green, and pink - giving the appearance of feathers and feathering. His head and tail feathers are detachable for storage and shipping. His head and neck are made from a solid piece of molded rubber with large shiny black eyes. This whole area is quite authentic looking, and is finished in shades of pink, grey, and tan. The underside of his head is signed by Hans Otto and Steiff and his wife, most likely during the 1980's when this couple visited the United States on Steiff goodwill tours. Turkey has his button and traces of his yellow tag as his Steiff IDs. This is the first Studio turkey this cataloger has handled. Turkey was produced in 1967 and came in this size only. Condition: As noted. Very small holes in felt feet. With light surface dust and light fading; overall in very good condition. Provenance: From a fine New England collection. Estimate: $1,000-2,000."

It's time to talk turkey about this amazing piece!  Steiffgal has seen this example in the flesh (or in the feathers, in this case) so she can say with all honesty that he is extraordinarily impressive.  His coloring, materials, and construction are simply marvelous.  But, if you are considering adding him to your flock, please take into consideration his size - he requires a very large space to display, given his dimensions and attitude!  Like his cousin the flamingo mentioned above, Steiff also hasn't produced very many turkeys over the years.  The best known ones include silly mohair Tucky and dralon Putty.  Steiffgal happens to love turkeys, and not just because they are one of the state birds of Massachusetts (where she lives) or that a flock of wild ones live in the park across the street from her home. Her favorite Steiff turkey is Tommy, who was produced in a limited edition size of 1,500 for the US market in 2005, and is named after one of Steiff's longest serving mid-west sales reps. Tommy is pictured here on the left. 

Three's a charm when it comes to this last fantastic Steiff Studio bird up for sale at Morphy's.  Here we have a life sized vulture - yup, a vulture.  This super scavenger, lot #836, is cataloged as...

"This seldom if ever seen Steiff Studio vulture does not appear in Pfeiffer's Steiff Sortiment, collector's go-to Steiff reference book. He measures 22 inches tall with a wingspan of at least 24 inches. He is standing, unjointed, and made from a variety of materials, including mohair, woven plush, and dralon. A few of his breathtaking details include huge mohair feet with rubber claws; impressive, dimensional outstretched wings and tail feathers that are die cut, airbrushed, and trimmed in white fur; and a "collar" of white fur around his neck. His face is detailed with brown and black pupil eyes, copious airbrushing, and a rubber beak. This beak is loose and has dried out. The bottom section has crumbled and fallen off, but is included in the lot. Vulture retains his button and oversized, hand written yellow tag as his Steiff IDs. This is the first Studio vulture this cataloger has handled. Vulture was most likely produced in the mid-1960's, based on his materials and design details. Condition: As noted. With light surface dust and light fading; overall in very good condition. Provenance: From a fine New England collection. Estimate: $1,000-2,000."

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, "What an odd bird?" And Steiffgal would have to agree.  But, one thing that makes Steiff so incredibly fun to study, and collect over time, are kooky, undocumented rarities such as this one from the 1960's.  And, believe it or not, that was not the only Studio vulture the company produced over the years.  From 1995-2003, Steiff manufactured a 45 cm Studio vulture on a commercial scale. An example of this more modern version is pictured here on the left.  He was made from woven fur and like a real vulture, has a bald head - which plays a key role in helping the bird cool off in the summer and warm up in the winter.   

Steiffgal hopes you have enjoyed this bird's eye view of some of the fine feathered friends coming up for sale at Morphy Auctions three day Premier Toy Sale Event on June 24th-26th, 2016.  All Steiff lots will go under the hammer on June 25th starting at 9am. For more information on the sale, and the entire online catalog, please click here!

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

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