Sunday, September 11, 2016

Steiff's Roaring 20's Come To Life With This Fantastically Illustrated New Reference Book

What's old is new again... especially when it comes to Steiff! Steiffgal was thrilled to learn that her friend and colleague Carsten Esser from Teddy Dorado just published a book about Steiff from the 1920 through 1929 time frame. For many Steiff collectors, this decade represents the company's "golden age" of design, creativity, and manufacturing. Many new and appealing patterns, such as Teddy Clown, Petsy the Baby Bear, Molly the Puppy, Bully the Bulldog, and Fluffy the Cat were introduced during those ten years - and remain absolute collector's favorites to this day.

The 384 page book is called "Steiff Catalog 1920-1929" and is a wonderfully illustrated archive. It includes information from a wide variety of Steiff company ephemera - including catalogs, brochures, fliers, and price lists, among other records. Visually, the book is a treat - in any language. The pictures and illustrations are charming and so nicely reflect the "look and feel" of the roaring '20's. It is interesting to see how the company's print materials and graphic designs became increasingly more sophisticated over the ten year period of the book. Although German is the predominant language in the text, there are many documents in other languages, too. It is not important that readers speak German to learn alot from this publication. 

One of Steiffgal's favorite illustrations in this new book is from 1929 and is a leaflet featuring the company's newly launched "Teddy Baby" pattern. This brochure shows three playful closed mouth style cubs. Versions in mohair and alpaca are offered in six sizes ranging from 15 to 45 cm. The alpaca versions are roughly 20% higher in price than those made from mohair. Given the conversion rate of about 4.2 German marks = 1 US dollar in 1929, the prices for these Teds at the time ranged from $0.67 to $5.47 each. To put that in context, the "average” American in 1929 made about $0.70/hour or almost $1,400/year. In today's dollars, $0.67 to $5.47 from 1929 would be roughly equivalent to $9.27 to $75.66.  

Who wants to join Steiffgal on a time traveling, Steiff buying adventure to 1929? 

In addition to featuring photos and illustrations of the product line, the book also has "behind the scenes" images of really interesting business materials. These give readers and collectors insights into the company's priorities and scope of operations at the time. For example, one of the documents pictured in the book is from 1924 and lists the names and addresses of the company's worldwide sales and distribution partners. These include organizations in Germany, New York City, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, and Turkey. Also on the list but crossed off in a black pen line are Brazil and Egypt. Remember, this was almost a century ago, and business development tools like email, the internet, and reliable and international telephone services just were not available. So these accounts - many thousands of miles away from Giengen - were discovered and nurtured the "good old fashioned way" of extensive travel, face to face meetings, and relationship building. Members of the Steiff family and their most trusted colleagues did much of this heavy lifting themselves.

For more information on this great Steiff reference book and ordering details, please see www.teddydorado.de.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this fantastic new Steiff reference book has opened up the gates of learning for you.


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

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