Sunday, May 1, 2016

Steiffgal's Quite Keen On This Steiff-Man Named Green!

Ever felt like running away and joining the circus? Well, this inquiry from a new friend in Europe about a fantastic Steiff entertainer may just have you packing your bags! Check out Åslaug's great family heirloom, a rare Steiff doll. She shares over a number of correspondences....

"Hello,

Do you know what the name/number of this Steiff-man is?

My mother in law was the owner of this. She collected a lot of things. Kind of a hoarder. She passed away in January. Among the things she has left behind is more than 1,000 dolls. Mostly bought at flea markets. Most of all she was interested in the culture and specially toys of her childhood.

A lot of her collected items has been given away to different collections and museums. But, this doll I fell in love with and we are intending to keep it. We also found 15 Steiff animals. Have sold seven, but have some still.

Kind regards and thank you from Norway"

No clowning around... this is one find that belongs in the spotlight! What Åslaug has here is a Steiff doll named "Green," probably because of the color of his eye-catching coat. Green is 43 cm tall and fully jointed. In addition to his gold and button trimmed outerwear, he wears a yellow felt vest, black felt pants, and Victorian looking, buttoned up "spat" style footwear. His face and head comes to life with black shoebuton eyes, a hand painted mouth, rosy cheeks, and a shock of handsome silver-grey hair. Green appeared in the line from 1911 through 1919. His series number is 88 (indicating that his pattern is a doll) and his article number is 43, meaning in this case that he stands 43 cm tall. A picture of Green as he appeared as new is pictured here on the left, the photo is from Pfeiffer's 1892-1943 Sortiment. 

Green was produced as one of many characters performing in a charming series of circus themed window displays.  Green is cataloged as a "lackey," which probably means he would have acted as a footman or assistant to other performers or to the circus managers.  Steiff's circus displays were created by Steiff creative freelancer Albert Schlopsnies starting in 1910. The first Steiff circus display made its debut at the Wertheim Department Store in Berlin. According to Cieslik's Button In Ear The History of the Teddy Bear And His Friends, "It had three circus-rings and visitors to the Steiff show were given a circus program - a comic adaptation of an actual program." (A copy of this program is to the left; if you click on it you can read the most entertaining text. The photo is from Cieslik.) Over the next decade, about 30 authentic character dolls including clowns, ringmasters, acrobats, musicians, and other performers were produced - in addition to stables of circus performing animals. Many characters were based on real life circus professionals at the time. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's turn-of-last century circus performers and displays has been the greatest show on Earth for you.

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

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