Saturday, December 23, 2017

Reminiscing About Christmas, Steiff Style!

There's no place like home for the holidays - no matter where home may be at the moment! Steiff has always helped to make our annual wintertime celebrations even more special, by finding its way in to stockings, under trees or around the menorah or kinara. Check out this photo and brief story from the December/January 2018 edition of the magazine Reminisce. According to its website, this publication is "The nation’s premier nostalgia magazine, Reminisce celebrates what we loved then and how it shapes our lives now." Do you recognize a few special friends here?

Look what can happen when you get onto Santa's "nice" list! Here we have a vintage photo of two charming young girls and their father posing next to a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. You can click on it to make it larger. The copy reads, "Joyous Noel. In 1960, the year I turned 5, my family celebrated Christmas in Karlsruhe, Germany, where my father, Gabby, an engineer, worked for the Singer sewing machine company. My other sister, Phyrene, 13, loved stuffed animals as much as I did. My mom, Fernanda, took the photo. Phyllis Gebhard, Milwaukee, WI." And dog-gonnit, you can't help but notice the pretty pooches the girls are holding - they are "button in ear" dogs made by our pals in Giengen.  It doesn't get much better than this!

These Steiff dogs would have any collector's tail a-wagging. Phyrene's gift is Steiff's happy Hexie the Dachshund. Hexie is standing and made from light and darker tan mohair which has been detailed with copper colored airbrushed highlights to give her more dimension. She has really jolly black and white google eyes and a black hand embroidered black nose and mouth. All Hexies left the factory wearing a thin red collar. This delightful doggie was originally manufactured in 9, 13, 20, and 25 cm between 1954 and 1974. It is interesting to note that the German word for "witch" is "hexe." Perhaps she was given this name because she was designed to cast a magic spell over collectors with her irresistible looks and impish personality?

Phyllis has it made in the shade with her new friend. Her pup is Steiff's Maidy the Poodle. Maidy is standing, unjointed, and made from Steiff's lovely and unusual black "Persian Lamb" textured mohair. She has a slightly longer mohair "beard" around her chin. Her eyes are lovely and distinctive; they are large hand blown almond shaped and feature a black pupil, brown iris, and white corners. Her ears are lined in black mohair. Maidy is one of those Steiff "One-derful" items, made for just a year or so. Specifically, she appeared in the Steiff catalog in 1959 only in 25 and 30 cm. Collectors may recognize Maidy's distinctive fabric as almost identical to the covering of Steiff's larger "Swapl" Persian lambs. These baa-ing black beauties appeared in the line in 10, 14, 22, 28, and 35 cm from 1957 to 1964 overall.

Stitching thing up here, a little research shows that the Singer factory in Karlsruhe did indeed manufacture sewing machines from 1954 until 1982. This timing perfectly aligns with Phyllis' story. According to, "The Singer factory in Karlsruhe, Germany was in production from 1954 until 1982. In 1954 Singer purchased the factory and sewing machine business of the Haid-und-Neu company in Karlsruhe, Germany. Haid-und-Neu had been manufacturing sewing machines in Karlsruhe since the 1860’s and had purpose built the existing factory in 1893... Machines produced at the Karlsruhe factory were identified by a suffix G added to their model numbers. i.e. 215G. Serial numbers took the form of PA, PB, PC etc. followed by 6 digits starting at 000001 up to 999999." 

Steiffgal hopes that this special season celebrating peace, love, and joy helps bring more of those essential things to the fabric of our lives in 2018.  

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

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