Sunday, March 19, 2017

Singing A Happy Tune Over This Unusual Steiff Musical Tiger!

Well, this interesting find should be like music to your ears if you like Steiff tigers. And why is that? This wonderful jungle gem has a secret - he's got a special and most unusual music feature hidden in his belly. Check out this terrific tiger and see what makes him one of the coolest cats around!

It's easy to break out in song over this pretty kitty. "Music Tiger" is unjointed and about 20 cm tall and 30 cm long (not including his tail.) He is in Steiff's "lying" position, meaning he is curled up with his legs resting gently to his side. His face is detailed with piercing green and black eyes, a pink embroidered nose, a black embroidered mouth with a touch of pink airbrushing, and tufts of longer mohair around his jowls. He has many long, clear, monofilament whiskers.  He is made from short mohair, which has been hand airbrushed and stenciled to give his coat a most authentic and realistic look.  Even his paw pads have charming "footprints" on them.  On his underside, there is a small brass winder that activates his happy tunes; it is in working condition. 

Collectors will recognize this beloved pattern as the one identical to Steiff's popular lying tiger cub design, which was produced from 1953 through 1978 in 17, 28, 43, and 60 cm.

Let's take a look at some of the special IDs of this singing sweetie, which does not appear - as far as Steiffgal knows of - in any regularly referenced Steiff book. The first is his eye-catching chest tag.  It is Steiff's regular, colorful bear faced version with his name on it.  Given the "secret location" of his music box, and the fact that his basic pattern is relatively standard in the Steiff line, this tag is essential in identifying him from pictures as something really unique. The second is his special musical item tag.  The tag is metallic silver, red, and blue, and features a Steiff logo and the word "Musicanto" on each side. It is in four languages, and reads, "Contains a genuine Swiss music box. To wind: Turn knob in the tail or underneath tummy."  

It's not polite to ask someone their age, so let's figure out another way to date this Music Tiger. Steiffgal has two other Steiff musical animals that have this tag. The first is the company's Music Kitty. This fancy feline is 17 cm, head jointed, and resembles Steiff's beloved sitting Susi cat pattern. Music Kitty was made in 1955 through 1957, and then again in 1961; she is pictured here on the left. The second is Steiff's Music Cockie Cocker Spaniel. Cockie is 17 cm and sitting. She is made from black and white mohair and is head jointed. She has a large, open, smiling mouth. Her face is detailed with large, friendly brown and black pupil eyes and a black hand embroidered nose.  Music Cockie was produced from 1955 through 1957 only.  Both Music Kitty and Cockie's music features are activated by winding up their tails.  And of course, who can forget Steiff's fabulous Music Teddy, which was made in 35 cm from 1951 through 1957?

Given all of that, it is Steiffgal's best guess that this Music Tiger, like his other talented and performing cousins, was most likely made in the 1955 through 1957 time frame, give or take a pinch.

It was not terribly unusual for Steiff to take some of its most popular patterns and try "theme and variation" items from them. Some of these "experiments" were produced on a commercial level and appeared in the catalog; others were made in extremely limited quantities if at all. For example, Steiffgal also has a larger lying tiger made as a silk-lined and zippered pajama bag. This also does not appear, as far as Steiffgal knows, in any standard Steiff reference book. In 2009, Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion featured two marvelous musical rarities; a musical Lulac rabbit and a very large musical tiger.  The auction house dated each from approximately 1952. Both are pictured here on the left - click on the photo to enlarge it!

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

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this Music Tiger has been a high note in your day.

1 comment:

  1. It would be nice if they offered a version of the little beast today!


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