Sunday, March 5, 2017

Steiffgal's All Smitten Over This Celebrity Kitten

Now isn't this the cat's meow? Steiffgal was checking out eBay during some down time recently and came across this sweet Steiff mascot. She quickly "bought it now" from a seller who was downsizing his family's collection. Although this item itself is somewhat recent, this pretty kitty has more than a half-century long legacy in Germany - both in the media and with the Steiff company. To learn more, let's turn our "lights, camera, and action" on this Steiff celebrity cat.

This "purr"-fect treasure is a great example of Steiff’s "Koko" mascot. She was made for the popular and long-time German magazine "TV Hören + Sehen, ” or "TV Hear and See." This fine feline is 28 cm tall, unjointed, standing, and made from grey and white knitted fur that is detailed with grey tabby stripes. Her extra long, curly tail is quite eye-catching and made from white knitted fur. Her paw pads are tan trivera velvet, and her ears are lined in white trivera velvet. She has three painted claws on each of her paws. Koko's mischievous face comes to life with oversized teal and black pupil eyes, a tan plastic formed nose, black airbrushed mouth, and black monofilament whiskers.

Truly "the whole package," Koko comes with her original diecut cardboard packaging stand, which displays her so nicely. The back of the stand is designed to both prop up the the cat, as well as hold her prominent tail securely in place. You can see this feat of engineering on the photo above on the left. On the front, the stand has both the Steiff and magazine’s logos. The German writing on the front of her display translates to, "Koko the popular cat from TV to Hear + See, now from Steiff." Koko has distinctive Steiff IDs, including a special logo'd chest tag, button in ear, and ear tag. This edition was produced in this size only in 1988.

It is interesting to note that this is not the first TV Hören + Sehen Koko Cat mascot that Steiff has produced over time. In 1954, Steiff made a 12 cm begging version of Koko. Her body was made from mohair, while her ears and front paws were made from felt. Her face was made from rubber. Of course, she also had a long and prominent tail. Steiffgal has never seen or handled this extraordinary rarity. It is her best guess that very few were produced over a very short time, and just a handful remain in existence today. This would be because their faces, which were made from rubber, probably have dried out and fallen apart by now. Many Steiff rarities made from rubber or with rubber detailing from this exact time period face this same sad reality. The picture on the left of the "original" Steiff Koko Cat is from Gunther Pfeiffer's Steiff Sortiment 1947-2003.

Now let's read up on TV Hören + Sehen. This magazine has been published weekly in Germany in its current form since 1962, although its origins go back to the mid-1920's, with much growth and change in the early 1950's. Today, the circulation is just under one million copies per edition. The publication features a guide to the upcoming week's television and radio programs. It also includes features, news, interviews, recipes, cartoons, games, horoscopes, and other articles about lifestyle, fitness, and popular culture. Although Steiffgal has not seen or handled a copy of the magazine in person, from its contents, it sounds like it may be a hybrid of the popular magazines "People," "TV Guide," and "Ladies Home Journal" here in the United States.

Steiffgal hopes that this discussion has left you smitten over this dear Steiff kitten.

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

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