Hoppy almost Easter to you! Let's celebrate this much-loved holiday with a look at several really interesting and seldom seen rabbits that recently sold at auction in Germany. This sale, held by Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion on March 31, 2017, featured about 125 lots of vintage Steiff. Here are four "bunny-honeys" to get you in the mood for next week's celebration of renewal, peace, and all things spring.
This first auction highlight is certainly the wheel-deal. Here we have a delightful rabbit on eccentric wooden wheels. He is cataloged as, "hare on wooden excenter-wheels, with button, long stretched F, white/brown mohair, felt paws and shoe button eyes underlaid with red felt, length: 14 cm height: 11 cm, unusual." According to the website Liveauctioneers.com, who hosted the auction online, this rabbit was estimated at 150 to 300 euro and hammered at 800 euro. Adding in the sale's 21% buyer's premium, his final price was 968 euro or about $1,025.
This happy hopper is so appealing in many ways. This wheeled design was made in 6, 8, 10, and 12 cm from 1924-1928 overall. Its hard not to fall for his petite proportions, life-life eye treatment, and patched-in coloration, which is quite typical to his period of production. This model incorporates a standard line Steiff rabbit on all fours which was produced in white and brown mohair or black and brown mohair in 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 cm from 1923-1928 overall.
Our second rabbit highlight deserves a standing ovation. Here we have a wooden begging rabbit on wheels. He is cataloged as, "wood hare, on wheels, produced between 1922 - 1934, button, with long stretched F, 15 cm, slightly used, unusual." According to Liveauctioneers, this rabbit was estimated at 120 to 240 euro and hammered at 1,100 euro. Adding in the sale's 21% buyer's premium, his final price was 1,331 euro or about $1,410.
What's not to love about this egg-cellent Steiff rabbit? This ideal Steiff Easter rabbit toy was made in 15 and 20 cm from 1922 through 1934. His colors are bright, fresh, and happy, and his design can't help but make you smile. Although not as well known as their soft plush and mohair dolls, bears, and animals - at least here in the USA - Steiff's wooden toys, scooters, blocks, games, and other playthings were prominent production categories from the late 19-teens through the early 1940's.
Wooden it be nice to add this next rabbit rarity to your Steiff bunny hug? Here we have a delightful and really unusual rabbit cart. He is cataloged as, "Haswag animal car, c. produced between 1927 - 1936, button, with long stretched F, wood paws and tail mechanism are intact, lenght: c. 25 cm, height: 17 cm, depth: 10 cm, unusual, rare." According to Liveauctioneers, this rabbit was estimated at 150 to 300 euro and hammered at 2,800 euro. Adding in the sale's 21% buyer's premium, his final price was 3,388 euro or about $3,588.
This particular rabbit has Steiffgal moving and grooving for sure. This finely constructed and painted cart was produced in this size only from 1927 through 1936, as noted in his cataloging. What's so cool about this piece is that when he is pulled along, the rabbit's paws and tail move in response to his wheels spinning about. Steiffgal suspects that this movement is triggered by some simple gear connection, located on the underside of the cart. Steiff has a long and interesting history of creating movement associated with wheeled items. These including its beloved arm pumping "Record" animals on Irish mail carts and its head bobbing/nodding examples on wooden wheels, among others.
If candy is dandy, than this last Steiff rabbit auction highlight is simply sugar heaven. Here we have a very large begging Steiff rabbit that truly looks as if he may be made from chocolate! He is cataloged as "hare, produced c. 1927 - 1937, with button, long stretched F, 44 cm, squirted mohair, in very good condition, nice strong colors, swivel head." According to Liveauctioneers, this rabbit was estimated at 300 to 600 euro and hammered at 2,000 euro. Adding in the sale's 21% buyer's premium, his final price was 2,420 euro or about $2,563.
There's not a hare out of place in this delightful Steiff bunny! This begging pattern was produced in light brown, white, gold, purple, pink, and light blue in 11, 15, 18, 23, 29, 36, 44, 50, and 70 cm from 1926 through 1941 overall. The white versions were produced with outstanding pink and red albino eyes; all left the factory with a big bow and a brass bell. This rabbit's coloration is interesting for two reasons. First, it is the only "non-jellybean" color in the series. All the others produced were lighter, more celebratory, and childlike in hue. Second, his fabric is specifically noted as "squirted mohair." Steiffgal is guessing that this may mean "tipped." It is hard to tell from his photo if the brown fabric on this example is all brown or brown tipped. If it is indeed tipped, than this detailing aligns quite closely with the production time of other beloved Steiff designs of the 1920's that also feature tipped fabric. These include Happy, Petsy, and Teddy Clown - all who are known for their delightful and interesting brown and white mohair.
Steiffgal hopes you have enjoyed this overview of some of Steiff's more unusual Easter-Beasters.
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