Sunday, July 23, 2017

Steiff's Tiniest Teddies Are A Big Deal Indeed!

It's funny with Steiff - in many cases, the smaller an item is, the more appeal it seems to have!  Almost every collector would have to agree that this is especially true when it comes to the company's smallest Teddy bears.  These teeny-tiny treasures are like potato chips (or fill in your most favorite goodie here) and you can't have just one - or two - or three!  Steiffgal particularly loves Steiff's 10 cm and smaller bears, as they take up very little space to display, look great posed with other Steiff animals and dolls, and usually have very distinctive - and endearing - expressions.  Here are a few uber-favorite petite treats from her collection and the stories behind them.

Face it, you can't resist this adorable cub either!  This little fellow is called Brimfield, because he was purchased at the Brimfield Antique Fair in Brimfield, MA a few years ago.  He is 10 cm, fully jointed, and made from white mohair.  His nose and mouth are hand embroidered in brown, and his eyes are tiny black buttons.  He does not have any IDs, but is suspected to have a birth date in the 1960's due to his chunkier proportions.   His face truly is as presented - a little crooked - or perhaps a little pensive, depending on what's on his mind.  

Brimfield's pachyderm pal is also made by Steiff.  He is an almost flat, printed blue elephant made out of velour.  He is identical on both sides, and wears a great red headdress and matching blanket.  He measures only 5 cm long and 4 cm tall and has his original Steiff tag, but no button.  This elephant started out life with two other siblings as Steiff's Elephant Pram Toy, a hanging plaything for a baby's stroller or crib.  Steiff's Elephant Pram Toy was made from 1982 through 1985; the company also made a similar themed toy made from printed ducks in the same time frame.

You don't need a Mensa IQ to recognize this next fine fellow as pure genius! Here we have Smarty Pants, named for his big, big head. Steiffgal purchased SP at auction; he was one of several fine treasures in the lot. SP is 10 cm, fully jointed, and made from gold colored mohair. His nose and mouth are hand embroidered in black, and his eyes are tiny black buttons. He has all of his IDs, including his red imprinted chest tag, raised script button, and early and fully legible ear tag reading 5310, dating him to the very early 1950's. He is sort of perfect in every quirky way.

SP likes to horse around with a little wooden rocking pony from F.A.O. Schwarz. The toy itself is beautifully detailed and finished with high gloss paints and stains. It measures about 7 cm long and 7 cm tall. One side reads "100 yrs in Toys 1862-1962" and the other side has the famous F.A.O. Schwarz bell logo printed in gold. The bottom has the word "Germany" printed in black letters. This piece was produced for the toy retailer in honor of the company's centennial, and probably sold through F.A.O.'s world-famous dollhouse department.  

Oh baby! Collectors everywhere will recognize this pouty pal as an early Steiff Teddy Baby. Steiffgal purchased him many years ago on eBay for a song. This Ted is 9 cm tall and fully jointed. His feet and muzzle are made from blond velvet and his body, limbs, and head are made from blond mohair. He has a black hand stitched nose and mouth, and tiny black and brown glass pupil eyes. He retains bits and pieces of his red ear tag and his long trailing "F" style button - dating him in the late 1920's or early 1930's. He has a distinctly old fashioned look to him; he does more closely resemble an older gentleman than a baby.

Bird's the word with Teddy Baby's fine feathered friend. This bitty bird is Steiff's 4 cm woolen miniature Finch bird. He is made from red, black, white, brown, and black Nomotta wool. His beak is made from grey felt and his tail feathers are made from brown felt. He stands upon two darling, bronze colored metal legs and feet.  Finch retains his ankle bracelet style button and tag. This pattern was produced prewar in 4 and 8 cm from 1933 to 1943 overall. This particular Finch was made from 1937 through 1943.

Now its time to hold everything and check out these two adorable pre-war brothers. Isn't it nice how well they play together? Both are 10 cm, fully jointed, and have black bead eyes. The one on the left, Honey Baby, is made from a dark gold colored mohair and has a black nose and mouth. Pip, on the right, is made from white mohair and has a brown nose and mouth. Both were purchased at auctions, several years apart. Honey Baby and Pip retain their long trailing "F" buttons as their Steiff ID. Given their general appearance and proportions, Honey Baby is probably from the 1920's or early 1930's; Pip may date from the 19-teens onward.  

Despite their age difference, these two cubs always seem to have a ball between the two of them! Their bitty ball is made by Steiff and was purchased in the Steiff Sommer sales tent in Giengen a few years ago. It is made from tan and brown mohair and measures all of 2.5 cm in diameter. It was probably manufactured in the last 5 to 10 years as an accessory for another modern Steiff edition. 

Our last miniature highlight never leaves home without a hair out of place. That's because she doesn't have even one left on her supermodel skinny body! Here we have the totally bald yet totally terrific Mouse. Steiffgal adopted Mouse from an estate maybe a decade ago. She is 9 cm tall and fully jointed. She probably was made from white mohair, given her brown hand embroidered nose and mouth. She has particularly petite proportions, as well as the general appearance of Steiff's earliest Teds. Given her long trailing "F" button, she could date as early as 1912.  

If you think Mouse is "minnie," please consider her constant cat companion, Donna. This pretty kitty is only 2.5 cm tall and is made from printed cotton fabric.  Her tiny body is stuffed with cotton, and she wears a perfectly to scale blue ribbon and gold heart pendant. Although Donna was not made by Steiff, she has all the quality and integrity of a Steiff creation. Donna was given to Steiffgal by a good friend who specializes in making historically accurate miniature dollhouse furniture and accessories. 

Steiffgal hopes this miniature bear discussion has warmed your heart in a gigantic way.

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

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