Sunday, July 8, 2018

Come Learn Moor About This Wonderful Steiff Studio Sheep

Let's not be sheepish here - this week's find is truly awesome. Steiffgal recently added this lovely beast to her collection. He was listed on eBay and with a little luck, she placed the winning bid. However, it wasn't clear from the photos just how large, or how well made he was. It's always a treat to be surprised about those things. Take a look at this fuzzy friend to learn moor!

Let's sound the horn over this amazing rarity. Here we have Steiff's studio Moorland Sheep. He is standing on all fours and unjointed. He measures about 18 inches tall (measured vertically, head to toe) and 27 inches long (measured horizontally, nose to end of tail.) His body is made from ultra long white fuzzy mohair. His tail, ears, legs, and face are made from short black mohair. His huge, curling, 3D horns are made from felt, stuffed with excelsior, and have airbrushed highlights. And his face comes to life with green and black glass pupil eyes and a simple pink hand embroidered nose and mouth. Steiffgal had to provide replacement eyes as he arrived without any at all! This studio Moorland Sheep was produced in 1960 only and technically at 50 cm, which roughly corresponds with his height measurements. 

Buttoning up his Steiff identity is his great hand written yellow tag and raised script button. The tag reads 1350,90. This translates to 1=standing, 3=mohair, 50=size of 50 cm, 9=display animal or special edition, and 0=normal coloring (probably meaning color found in nature.) So his article number pretty much captures his characteristics in a nutshell! Often times unusual items, rarer studio items, or special orders have hand written tags. This is so because so few are/were produced, it is not worth the time, effort, or money to have just a handful of eartags printed up for these editions. 

Moorland sheep are native to Germany and come in a few genetic variations. This one created by Steiff is based on the "German Grey Heath" sheep, which are known for their distinctive black and white coloration, as well as prominent horns. They are born all white but their ears, face, tail, and legs become black at around two years old. You can see a real German Grey Heath pictured here on the left. Steiff's version is certainly cuter, don't you think?

Now let's play the name game. It is interesting to note that the scientific name of Moorland sheep is "Heidschnucke." Steiff has produced a number of horned black and white sheep over time, the most famous being their "Snucki" mountain sheep. This design, which also features shaggy white mohair, short black mohair, and fantastic horns, was produced in 12, 17, 22, and 28 cm from 1959 through 1974. The 22 cm Snucki is pictured here on the left. Although not identified SPECIFICALLY as a Moorland sheep, it is Steiffgal's best guess that the company's Snucki is based on the design and details of this great German native species.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's Heidschnucke didn't have you counting sheep.

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

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