Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Best of The West!

Talk about a California gold rush, Steiff style! Steiffgal recently traveled out west to attend Steiff celebrations on behalf of the company. Attendees were invited to share their personal treasures at these events at fun "show and tell" sessions.  And boy, did they ever! Steiffgal had the pleasure of seeing a number of family heirlooms, some childhood favorites, delightful woolen miniatures, and even one of the company's extremely rare "125 carat" bears, made with real gold mohair. Here are a few of the 14k vintage treasures collectors brought along that really caught Steiffgal's eye!

Sit and stay and take a look at this great King Charles Charly dog. This precious pooch is 14 cm high, sitting, head jointed, and made from white and brownish/orange tipped mohair. His adorable face comes to life with oversized brown and black pupil eyes, a hand embroidered black and white nose and mouth, and an irresistible, "pouty" expression. He was produced in 7 sizes ranging from 10 to 35 cm from 1928 through 1936. Sitting Charly was also produced as a music box in 17 and 22 cm from 1928 through 1931 and on a pincushion in 17 cm from 1929 through 1932.

And what makes this Charly a champion? Steiffgal loves his mile-long ears and huge personality. His size makes him easy to display, and a perfect companion for a larger vintage doll or bear. Plus, a dear friend of hers has a real-life Charly, so this breed and pattern really pulls on her heartstrings.

Rolling right along, this early postwar elephant on wheels also made a huge impression on Steiffgal! This big boy is Steiff's Zieh Elefant or Pull Toy Elephant. He is standing on all fours, unjointed, and made from lovely grey mohair. His face is detailed with black eyes that are backed in pink felt, a smiling mouth, and white felt tusks. The bell on his trunk helps announce his arrival.  Elephant's feet pads are grey felt. He is dressed to the nines in a red and yellow trimmed blanket; this is original to him. His red leather headwear has been lost to time. He glides along on four blue wooden wheels. This elephant on wheels was made in 28 and 35 cm from 1950 through 1961 overall.

Why is this piece so ele-fantasic? This timeless pattern includes design elements from as early as the 19-teens. His condition is the perfect balance between showing some love and play wear, yet still fine enough to have tremendous collector's interest and appeal. And who can resist his open, smiling mouth and delightful felt tusks?  Certainly not Steiffgal!

And finally, size defies with this beautiful baby bunny. This happy hopper is begging, unjoined, and made from white velvet. He is unjointed and decorated with a few brown spots here and there. His face just shines with black shoe button eyes, a simple brown hand embroidered nose and mouth, red airbrushed highlights, and clear monofilament whiskers. His red ribbon is original to him; one way to "test" for this is to see if the ribbon is stitched in place, or if there is evidence if that was once the case. This version of Steiff's velvet begging rabbit was produced in 4 sizes ranging from 10 to 28 cm from 1899 through 1927 overall.

Begging to know what's so cool about this sweet treat? First, his condition is really amazing, showing only minimal darkening over time. He was originally very white, but white velvet tends to become tan or even brown over time, even with careful handling. Kudos to his current owners for keeping him so well protected! Second, his pattern is among the most desirable, early designs produced by Steiff. Collectors can't seem to get enough of the company's small, early, velvet patterns. A similar sized velvet begging rabbit in far less pristine condition recently sold for about $1,000 on eBay. And finally, you can't help but notice his wonderful IDs - his full white ear tag and long trailing "F" style button. The numbers on his ear tag correspond to: 4=begging or standing on back legs; 4=velvet; and 14=14 cm tall. These "small" tag details make all the difference in determining if an item is good or great.  And this begging rabbit is blue ribbon calibre indeed!

Steiffgal hopes this quick peek at event "show and tell" highlights has put you in a festive mood indeed.

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

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