Monday, July 3, 2017

Three Cheers For Steiff's Red, White, And Blue Teddy Bears!

Happy July 4th to friends and fellow collectors in the United States. Steiffgal hopes your holiday is full of colorful fireworks, yummy cookouts, fun gatherings, and of course, beers - or in this case, bears! To celebrate this beloved and much anticipated day of tradition, Steiffgal thought it might be fun to check out the story behind three "patriotic" Teds from her hug - a red one, a white one, and a (sort of) blue one. So without further ado, please meet Pocket Alphonso, George, and Penelope.


Size defies when it comes to Pocket Alfonzo, our "red" representative. He is 15 cm tall, fully jointed, and made from bright red mohair backed in apricot colored fabric. His paw pads are tan felt, and he has a black hand embroidered nose, mouth, and claws. His face comes to life with black button eyes and a prominent, trimmed muzzle. His head and limbs are softly stuffed with polyfill while his belly is stuffed with metal pellets, giving him a hefty, robust feeling when you hold him. Like the original and legendary Alfonzo, he wears a white trimmed, light orange Cossack outfit. This happy handful was made in 2008 in an edition size of 1908 for Teddy Bears of Whitney in the UK.

It's always party time when Pocket Alfonzo appears - really! A dear friend  - you know who you are - gave Steiffgal this petite treat as a birthday present a few years ago. Steiffgal and pal met up in New York City for a trade event that happened to be at the same time as her special day. The bear came wrapped up in a spectacularly dolled-up box, complete with colorful tissue and a bow large enough to decorate the roof of a car! Apparently the giver took the bear to a special store famous for its over the top wrapping. Boy, was it noticed AND so appreciated. Steiffgal will never forget this gift or its breathtaking presentation.  

By George, Steiffgal is certain you will enjoy this next introduction. Now please say hello to this early white Teddy baby, who just happens to be named George - but more on that later. He is 43 cm tall, fully jointed, and made from long, white mohair which has mellowed to a vanilla color over time. His muzzle and feet-tops are made from white mohair, which has also darkened a touch. Typical to his pattern, George has an open, felt lined mouth; flat, cardboard lined feet designed for standing; downturned paws; and a distinctly, childlike appearance. His irresistible face comes to life with oversized brown and black pupil eyes and a brown, hand embroidered nose and mouth. George retains his large trailing "F" button and traces of his red ear tag, dating his production to the c.1929-35 time frame.

George has a capital history. Steiffgal purchased George in the saleroom associated with the 2016 United Federation of Doll Clubs national event in Washington, DC. She adopted him from her friend and colleague John Port, an expert dealer in antique bears and toys. George was sitting in John's booth with a few other bear buddies. George's fantastic size, charming expression, and wonderful, vintage condition literally called to Steiffgal across the pavilion floor like a siren song - but in the best way possible. Visiting John's well stocked booth at the UFDC event is one of Steiffgal's favorite shopping experiences of the year, and she looks forward to seeing what goodies he has on offer at the upcoming 2017 event in Orlando. And yes, George is named after George Washington, in a nod to his presidential status among Teddy babies, as well as the location where Steiffgal adopted him. 

This final colorful cub just might turn your brown eyes blue! Here we have Penelope, a 25 cm tall Teddy baby doll and our blue representative today. She is standing and head jointed. Her arms fall loosely at her sides, and her legs are solid and rigid. Her body is made from a flesh colored velvet like material. Her head, hands, and the tops of her feet are made from brown mohair. Her feet are flat and lined in cardboard allowing her to stand; the bottoms are made from tan linen. Penelope's head is in the typical Teddy baby style with a tan inset muzzle; an open, felt lined mouth; and oversized brown and black glass pupil eyes. She retains her raised script button-in-ear and traces of her US Zone tag sewn into the seam of her leg. Penelope was probably born in the c. 1950-52 time frame, given her configuration of IDs and materials. 

This blue-belle did not start out life this way. Like George, Steiffgal found Penelope in the showroom of the 2016 UFDC national event in Washington, DC.  However, Penelope was partially hiding, upside down, and in the bottom of a pile of vintage toys in another sales booth. Steiffgal saw her two legs sticking up in the air from across the aisle, and went over to investigate. And there she was! However, she was wearing a poorly fitting and unflattering, unoriginal outfit that did nothing to bring out her natural beauty and playfulness. Never judge a book by its cover! Steiffgal immediately adopted Penelope, and then went on a mission to find her the perfect outfit. Luckily, there were several dealers specializing in vintage doll clothes also in the showroom. Steiffgal located a few options for Penelope, but quickly realized a combination of dark blue velvet pants, a light blue Peter Pan collar shirt, and a blue and white striped apron suited her to a T.  Don't you agree?

Steiffgal hopes this red, white, and blue bear discussion has put you in colorful - and festive - state of mind. Happy birthday, America!

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

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