Friday, February 8, 2019

Getting A Leg Up On This Midcentury Steiff Mystery!

This inquiry from a new friend is simply ele-phantastic! Kati has something very special in her collection, but one that so far has defied identification.  Let's take a look at her note and use our grey matter to figure out what this mystery item just might be! 

Kati shares,

"I have a very unusual Steiff that I am having a hard time identifying. Not sure if you can point me in the right direction. I am not in anyway wanting an appraisal but just a little bit more information on the piece. I have searched EVERYWHERE and have not been able to come up with anything. 

It is an elephant with a Steiff tag and he has extremely long legs. The number on his tag is 7330. He measures 12.5” inches tall and 12” from trunk to tail. His legs alone are 7.5” tall. He has wood tusks and a red felt bib/collar. 

I am hoping you either know a little about him or can point me in the direction to a site or someone who might. Thanks for your time!"

There's no junk in the trunk when it comes to this absolute rarity. What we have here is Steiff's wonderful and seldom seen Lulac elephant. He is as Kati describes above; his delightful details include a jointed head; a smiling, open, felt lined mouth; and playful black and white google eyes. His upturned trunk is a sign of good luck, too. "Lulac" refers to his goofy, exaggerated form consisting of really long arms and legs. Other Lulac style animals produced at or around the same period include a Zotty bear, rabbit, Cocker Spaniel, donkey, zebra, tiger, lion, and poodle. This particular Lulac elephant was made as an exclusive for the United States market in this size only in 1958.

If you look hard enough, you can find jumbo clues about a Steiff treasure by examining its small details. In this case, check out what Kati says about his ear tag. The code on it reads 7730. According to Steiff reference materials, this corresponds to... 7 = in caricature, 3 = mohair, and 30 = 30 cm tall. But these numbers don't shed any light on how unusual this pattern truly is. To put things in context, the only other example Steiffgal has even come across was one at auction in 2010 at Christies. You can see that auction listing by clicking here.

Now for that "elephant in the room" question that everyone undoubtedly has on their minds about now. How does this great item value in today's marketplace? As always, something is worth what someone will pay for it, and Steiffgal has not seen the item firsthand to inspect for condition. Many critical condition items, like dry rot, odors, insect damage, etc., do not show up on photos, and that's why it is essential to see an item firsthand to give it a fair review. Given the Lulac elephant is as described and as presented, with no essential structural or aesthetic issues, it is Steiffgal's best guess sight unseen that this item may sell on an online channel or auction in the c. $1,000-2,000 range.

Steiffgal hopes that you found this discussion on Kati's elephant absolutely unforgettable.

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

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