Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sitting Pretty With This Rare And Unusual Prewar Steiff Sealyham Dog

Pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable! Today's Steiff find really takes sitting down on the job to a new level - in the best way possible. Check out this remarkable sitting Sealyham and see what makes him so interesting from the design and historical perspectives.

Let's paws and check out sitting Sealy's details.  This white wonder is 22 cm tall, head jointed, and made from very long white mohair, which has mellowed to a vanilla color. He has three black claws on each of his padless paws, and a pert little tail. His adorable face comes to life with a fuzzy muzzle, oversized black and brown glass pupil eyes, and a black hand embroidered nose and mouth. There is just a trace of pink airbrushing on his mouth, as often seen on Steiff's dogs. His prominent, triangular shaped ears are lined in tan felt. He retains his long trailing "f" button as his Steiff ID. When he left the factory in Giengen he wore a leather collar with a bell; unfortunately these accessories have been lost to time. Sitting Sealy was produced in 8, 10, 14, 17, 22, and 25 cm from 1930 through 1939. 

The Sealyham breed was considered one of the more stylish and desired breeds of the late 1920's and early 1930's. As such, Steiff created several versions of this "it" dog. In addition to this sitting style, Steiff also produced a similar standing model. The standing version came in eight sizes ranging from 8 to 35 cm and appeared from 1930 through 1943. Pre-1943, Steiff made numerous Sealyhams on wheels, a tail turns head version, a few nomotta wool woolen miniature or "woolie" Sealyhams, and a 30 cm Sealyham night dress bag. Sealyhams were produced again immediately after the factory reopened for business in the late 1940's. However, only standing examples were produced. These models, which appeared through 1957, had very minor if any changes in fundamental design from the model launched in 1930.

This Sealyham pattern was introduced during what could only be called Steiff's "dog days." This period began in the mid-1920's with the introduction of the company's "Molly the Puppy" pattern. Molly's 1925 debut proved so popular that she is credited for opening the floodgates to a huge influx of Steiff dog designs, including Sealyhams and their black mohair Scotty "cousins." (If you look at the photo on the left, you can see several similarities between sitting Sealy and Molly, including their identical oversized eyes, gentle expressions, and body positions and general presentations.) Between 1925 and 1938, close to 40 new canine species were noted in the Steiff catalogs. These included the now classic Bully Bulldog, Arco the German Shepherd, and Peky the Pekinese, as well as some lesser-known designs including Cheerio, the laughing dog, Putzi, a caricatured standing dog, and Lord the Great Dane.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this rare and unusual sitting Sealyham has been a welcome respite in your busy day.

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