Saturday, November 30, 2019

Care To Feather Your Nest With This Steiff Prewar Woolen Miniature Owl?

Whoooo loves ya babe? Well, perhaps this remarkable and very rare miniature marvel is best suited to answer that question! Steiff launched its very successful series of tiny Nomotta yarn animals in the early 1930s. This particular bird is amongst the most eye-catching, and desirable, of the company's prewar collection. Check out his story to see what makes him so fantastic from the design and historical perspectives.

This fine feathered friend is Steiff's owl.He is 8 cm tall, head jointed, and made of dense, high quality woolen yarns. His coloring includes white, yellow and purple/grey threads. His tiny, wise, and inquisitive face comes to life with black and brown glass pupil eyes and a perfectly to scale single-thick tan felt beak. He stands upon two metal legs and feet that have been painted dark brown. His original IDs, which have been lost to time in this case, consisted of a red or white tag held in place with a Steiff button around one of his ankles. Woolen miniature owl was produced in this size and this color set only from 1934-1939.

It is simply astonishing how real this tiny treasure looks compared to his real life inspiration. Woolen threads interpret well into feathers, and in this case, a light touch of airbrushed dots and specks on his back and chest truly help him take flight. His jointed head, when slightly cocked at an angle, suggests he's thinking about ways to solve for world peace or another major global issue! And his playful and prominent feet and legs are a marvelous take on those oversized features seen on owls in the wild.

Steiff's prewar woolen miniature birds debuted in 1931, and were an immediate sensation with children and collectors alike - given their low price point and incredibly appealing presentations. It seemed like everyone wanted to feather their nests with these happy handfuls! Steiff's first woolen miniature songbird-style birds were quite simple and generic. They had felt beaks and tails, metal legs and feet, and were produced in six basic color combinations in 4 and 8 cm. Starting in 1933, specific songbird breeds in the form of robins, woodpeckers, finches, blue tits, sparrows, and gold buntings were introduced. 

More detailed,"exotic" bird woolen miniature rarities - including a canary, parakeet, and this owl - were Steiff catalog highlights from 1934 through 1940. These three beaked beauties featured proportional, elongated bodies and extraordinary, true-to-life shaded coloration. The canary and parakeet sported lifelike, long felt tail feathers and were also available as a novelties perched on wooden and metal stands. Today, these prewar pretties are as rare as crow's teeth!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this handsome prewar Steiff woolen miniature owl has been a great learning experience for you.

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