Sunday, September 17, 2017

This Sample Steiff Alien Is Truly Out of This World!

Well, it appears that Steiffgal has had a close encounter of the Steiff kind!  She has recently had the pleasure of welcoming a new Steiff rarity to her collection, one that sent her to the moon and back! But please don't think she's a space-case, but she's not really sure of too much concerning his background or origins. Focus your telescope on this out-of-this-world Steiff creation. Can you believe your eyes?

There's no need to phone home over this Steiff alien.  He stands 30 cm tall and is made from a high quality, brown faux leather.  Most of his visible, decorative stitching is done in orange thread. His head/body is basically round with three "horns" on its top edge.  The middle one is the largest and about twice the size of the ones to the left and right.  It is possible that the middle one is supposed to represent his "nose" while the other two are his eyes. His "face" is defined by a separate rectangular mask of faux leather which is detailed with a small orange patch of orange velour or velvet. This mask can be moved slightly up and down, and is attached to the alien through the his arm joints. 

Alien's body is also of interstellar proportions. His arms are jointed in the traditional Steiff way, with double round cardboard disks and metal wire connectors. His hands are made of two digits, sort of like two thumbs. His legs have thin thighs and thick calves and ankles - the opposite of a typical human form! They not jointed. Both his arms and legs are lined in some sort of metal wires or chains. They are posable and "creak" when moved about. Alien stands on flat circular feet that have magnets on the bottom. These probably help weight him, as well as add a playful touch to where he can stand and how he can be posed. His construction and detailing are really quite spectacular and it is clear that he was made with a most loving, and exacting, touch.  

Also of note is his Steiff ID.  It consists simply of the company's yellow, double sided ribbon tag and a gold, rivet style button. It is pictured here on the left. The back of the tag reads, "Not for Sale!" and "Property of Margarete Steiff GmbH" in both German and English.  It also has a field for a date and a number, but these are not filled in. It is Steiffgal's best guess, based on this ID, that this item was indeed a sample or prototype from the c. 2002 time frame. She has another item with this identical tag and ID arrangement; in that case, the date on the tag is 7.03.02 and the number is 7.  Steiffgal is not sure if "number" refers to the total number of samples produced, or the order of the samples produced; but it is not an EAN or product number.  

So now the questions as big as the universe. Why was he made, and how did he arrive in Steiffgal's collection? Well, only he knows the answers for certain, and he's not talking.  So here are a few down to earth possibilities.  

First, why was he made?  Steiff employs the finest doll and toy designers in the world, and great people do great work. Perhaps the Steiff designers were asked by management to come up with truly out of the box ideas, and this was one result of that challenge. Maybe this design was the result of an independent vision a designer had, or maybe they wanted to test out the faux leather fabric and/or creaking metal skeleton for its toy-making potential. It is a possibility that the company was exploring a collection theme or idea (in this case, space travel or extraterrestrials) but decided not to move forward with it. Or perhaps it was created in response to a customer special order or inquiry which did not make it beyond the prototype phase.  

Steiffgal suspects that the big reason this little guy did not make it into the Steiff line was cost.  After all design, materials, and manpower factors were analyzed, this alien's production expenses were probably astronomical.

And how did the alien make the interstellar journey from Giengen to Steiffgal's hug?  It is Steiffgal's best guess that this item might have been sold during one of Steiff's Sommer Festivals a decade or so ago.  It is at these wonderful annual gatherings where Steiff offers samples, overstocks, overproduction models, and other "oddities" under a giant circus style tent.  Sometimes fantastic finds like this make their way to this sale. This item was purchased from a collector in Europe who found him at a German toy show.  As such, at least geography wise, it is possible that this was his map from there to here.

Steiffgal hopes this story on this unusual Steiff creation was as exciting as a UFO sighting!

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1 comment:

  1. I wondered about this guy when I saw him coming out of the box on your FB! So well made. The faux leather looks real! I LOVE HIM! So unique. You are so lucky!!!!


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