Sunday, February 19, 2017

This Unusual Steiff Rabbit Is a 14 Carrot Find!

It's always fun to come across a Steiff time capsule - a button-in-ear treasure that was made decades ago but looks as though it was born yesterday!  Steiffgal recently had the pleasure of homing a charming rabbit that meets that criteria exactly.  And despite his relatively simple presentation, he's got some some not so obvious detailing that makes him quite interesting from the product development perspectives. Check out this honey-bunny and see what makes him a 14 carrot find!

This black and white beauty is named Snuffy. He is 18 cm, sitting and not jointed. Snuffy is constructed from a variety of materials. His head and body are made from black imitation fur that has a distinctive sparkle to it. His chest and underside are made from soft white imitation fur. His ears are lined in white dralon. And the back of his ears, top of his tail, and his two front legs are made from black mohair. His face comes to life with oversized blue and black pupil eyes, a simple pink hand embroidered nose and mouth, and lots of clear monofilament whiskers. He retains his original red ribbon, as well as his lentil style button, crisp and fully legible yellow ear tag, named "split style" chest tag, and red wooden F.A.O. Schwarz tag. This model was produced overall in 12 and 18 cm from 1974 through 1982 in beige and white, gray and white, and black and white.  

Given his manufacturing timeline and ID configuration, it is safe to deduce that Snuffy was "born" in the 1974 though 1977 timeframe and purchased at the high end toy retailer F.A.O. Schwarz somewhere in the United States. Snuffy also came with his red, yellow, and orange Steiff box which retained its original F.A.O. Schwarz price tag. His price at the time was $8.95.  $8.95 in 1974 dollars is the equivalent of about $44.09 today.  

Now let's see if we can stitch together a reason for his unusual and diverse material selection. Given his small size and intended use as toy, it is interesting that so many fabrics were used in his construction. He is made from mohair, dralon, and imitation fur. These three selections reflect distinctive eras in Steiff's manufacturing timeline - but Snuffy's birth years overlap all three.  

Here's how his pattern emerges. Mohair is Snuffy's most expensive and exclusive fabric; this legacy material was used extensively through the 1970's and gave the company's items a traditional, high quality look and feel. Steiff featured dralon fabrics in their plaything lines in the c. 1965-1975 period when the company was focused on producing washable and durable toys for children. And, imitation fur made a brief appearance in the line in the mid to late 1970's before being mostly replaced by woven fur in the early 1980's. Imitation fur's modern appearance, soft touch, and relatively low cost made it an appealing fabric choice at the time as the company faced sharp competition for market share and new manufacturing challenges.  

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's interesting Snuffy rabbit has made a material improvement in your day!

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

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