Saturday, January 5, 2019

Snips and Snails And Puppy Dog Tails - Steiff Style!

Oh boy! Look what we have here... a delightful dolly inquiry from far away! Check out this note from a new friend about her lovely little fellow. Just who could he be? Adriana writes...

"I mail you from Netherlands. I have this beautiful doll and would like to know more about age and price. All the information you could give me would be very welcome. How old is my piece? What is some of the history around my piece? Is my piece really a Steiff? I would like to thank you for your efforts and wish you a nice day."

Let's button up what we know, and what we don't, about this beautiful boy. For sure, he is made by Steiff, given his general presentation, center seamed felt face, and Steiff button (which can be seen in a photo that does not appear in this blog post.) However, because it is Steiffgal's best thinking that some of his clothing is original to him, and some is not, his EXACT identify is more questionable. Having handled a number of first quarter 20th century Steiff boy dolls, Steiffgal suspects that his socks, pants, and shirt are most likely original to him, while his vest, hat, and necktie, are not. 

As it turns out, Steiffgal has an all original boy doll in her collection who is wearing a very similar shirt, pants, and socks as Adriana's little love. As such, it is possible that they are the same model, although it is not clear from the photos just how tall Adriana's boy is. Steiffgal's doll is 28 cm. This boy doll's name is Harry, and according to Steiff records, he was made from 1908 through 1925 in 28, 35, 43, 50, and 60 cm. Harry is made entirely from felt, is fully jointed with truly human proportions, and has a short, blond mohair wig. He is described as "felt, jointed, Dutch fisherman, original costume." By "original costume" Steiff means that the dolls are dressed in apparel that is traditional to a country - in this case, the Netherlands. You can see Steiffgal's Harry here on the left. Check out his original felt clogs and silk neckerchief.

One thing that is a little different between Adriana's doll and Steiffgal's doll is their age. And you can detect that through a simple, but subtle difference between the two. Steiffgal's doll has black shoebutton eyes, dating him at the earliest part of the production run, say around 1908 to 1910. Adriana's doll has stunning blue and black glass pupil eyes, dating him from roughly 1911 onward. Here on the left you can see Steiffgal's Harry posing with his lifelong friend Alida, a sweet Dutch girl who also sports fine felt clogs. Given her blue and black glass pupil eyes, it is safe to say she's a handful of years younger than handsome Harry.

Adriana also asked about the possible "value" of her doll. As always, something is worth what someone will pay for it, and Steiffgal has not handled this doll in person to fully view and access its condition. What is clear is that he does have a little damage to his face, and that his clothing is not entirely original to him. After doing a little research on current auction sales of antique Steiff dolls in somewhat similar condition, it appears that an example like this could trade hands in the $800-1,200 range.

Steiffgal hopes you enjoyed learning about Adriana's mystery man!

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

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