Saturday, March 3, 2018

This Tiny, Turn of Last Century Steiff Pomeranian Is The Wheel-Deal Indeed!

What's the "best of all worlds" Steiff find for you? Everyone certainly has their own take on what that might be. For Steiffgal, that would include a small, prewar dog on wheels with ID with an interesting history. So it was a real treat when she was recently asked to help rehome just that from a fine estate in Ohio. Apparently his previous owner had a real life Pom, so its clear why this treasure was a crown jewel in her collection. So without further "pom" and circumstance, check out this petite treat and see what makes her so interesting from the design and historical perspectives.  

This little gal is the wheel-deal indeed. She's an early standing and unjointed 17 cm Steiff Pomeranian on wheels. Her legs, face, and ears are made from felt and her body and tail are made from lovely long mohair. Both started out more white but have mellowed to a vanilla color over time. Pom's adorable face is detailed with prominent seams, early black shoebutton eyes, a thin hand embroidered brown nose and mouth, and a touch of tan paint on her nose. Her legs are quite firm and appear to lined in metal rods to support her. These rods end at the tips of her paws in loops. These loops in turn secure her to the axles that connect to her metal wheels. Each wheel measures about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, and has four spokes.

In terms of age and marks, this pretty Pom retains her tiny long trailing "F" Steiff button in ear as her ID. She was produced in 17, 22, 28, 35, 43, and 50 cm (measured top of head to toe, sans wheels) from 1902 through 1929 overall. This design appeared exclusively on metal wheels through 1916/17; as such, she was certainly made at the beginning of her manufacturing time frame.   

Pomeranian dogs are a legacy design for Steiff. The company's earliest felt and mohair Poms were manufactured in many configurations, including sitting, jointed, on a pincushion, and on wheels - like the example under discussion today. An interesting, unusual, and rare five ways jointed version was produced with its legs jointed and attached to the back end interior of the body torso - not along the outside of the hip area as typically seen. A great example of Steiff's Pom pincushion is shown here on the left; this item realized $700 in January, 2018 at a Theriaults doll auction. The photo is from Theriaults.

It goes without saying these antique Poms are charming - and charmed! Every turn of last century Pom that left the Steiff factory in Germany was decorated with a red cord with two pom-poms or tassels. This gave the dogs an undeniably “regal” appearance. The breed does have some connections to German royalty, which may explain why Steiff decorated them like “little kings.” Steiff's earliest Poms also have enormous appeal to vintage doll collectors, who love to pose them alongside antique dolls from the same era.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's early Pomeranian dogs has unleashed your desire to add one to your collection someday!

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

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