Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Mark Your Calendars For This Can't Miss June, 2020 Steiff Auction!

How exciting... a major event has just been announced for June! And no, it’s not a royal wedding - but everyone is invited to attend, and fascinators and white gloves are appropriate. It's been SOOOO long since a large Steiff collection has come to auction here in the USA, but that wait is over. Potter & Potter Auctions of Chicago, IL just announced its Eclectible Collectible Auction on June 20, 2020. It includes over 120 lots of neat Steiff treats and treasures, including a ton of prototypes, one-of-a-kinds, hand samples, and unproduced items. In honor of wedding season, here are four lots that caught Steiffgal's eye to the theme of "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue."

What's old is new again with lot #29, a pre-production sample of Steiff's "Paper Teddy Bear" replica from 1919. Its auction cataloging reads, "Steiff Club 2010 Teddy Bear, a pre-production example with “Not for Sale” text on verso of tag. Chest tag. 12”. This fully jointed and very appealing example has all IDs, including its black and white "sample" ear tag. This Ted is estimated at $80-150. 

There is so much to love about this "oldie." His IDs, size, and classic presentation are great, and he would fit in perfectly with a new or vintage Steiff, bear, or toy collection. His history is also fascinating. In order to continue soft toy production immediately after WWI, the Steiff company was forced to come up with some alternative fabrics as felt and mohair were not readily available on a commercial scale. Given the abundance of wood in the area, the company started producing things like building sets and furniture for children. Steiff also found a way to produce a tweed-like material from local natural products, including nettles. This engineered fabric was called "paper plush." Paper plush items appeared in the line from 1919 through 1921, and included popular models of the company's standard line bears, dogs, cats, and rabbits. This Ted is a replica of bears from this era. Given there is about a billion to one chance you would find an original c. 1919 paper plush animal, this bear is a sure bet for your collection. 

The "new" kid on the block here is lot #43, a petite pink bear made as an exclusive for the annual "Steiff Sommer" event of 2015. Its cataloging reads, "Steiff Summer 2015 Limited Edition Mini Teddy Bear. Number 19 of 135 bears. Pink and light brown mohair. Black ribbon tie. White tag. 6”. This happy handful is in like new condition and has all of her original IDs. She is estimated at $50-80.

This cutie is a perfect choice for both doll and bear folks. Imagine "Pinky" in the arms of your favorite doll or Ted! How totally adorable would that be?! Her color and presentation are really charming. Her tiny edition size is hugely desirable. And much about her is "debut," at least as far as Steiffgal can tell - most notably, her amazing and almost psychedelic mohair!

It's ok to borrow, especially when the results get everyone feline groovy. A hands down choice for this highlight category is lot #83, a pair of Steiff cats. Their cataloging reads, "Pair of Steiff Cats. Including Kitty limited edition (musical), yellow tag, without EAN or limitation on verso (for 2010 edition), length 12”; and Bagpuss Danbury Mint (yellow tag, EAN 662294), length 13”. The pair is conservatively estimated at $125-225.

Who would not want to add these kittens to their meow mix? It is Steiffgal's best guess that the lovely and almost life-sized musical Kitty is an overproduction of the company's grey and white alpaca cat made in an edition size of 2010 in 2010. When wound up, she plays music and moves the pom pom ball she holds between her two front paws. This may have been originally purchased at the annual tent sale held on the grounds of Steiff in Germany every summer. The Bagpuss is a SUPER COOL rarity that is based on a beloved British TV character cat of the same name. He is made from pink stenciled alpaca which apparently was very difficult to produce, so few actually were distributed. A VERY long time ago, Steiffgal made a video about Steiff's Bagpuss, and all of that information presented is still true today. Take a look here if you can!


And finally, it's time to sing the blues over this last Steiff auction highlight. Here we have lot #13, a pre-production sample of the universally beloved Peter Rabbit. This begging beauty is cataloged as, "Steiff Peter Rabbit Pre-Production Sample. A sample/prototype example of the replica of the 1904 Peter Rabbit, marked “Not for Sale” on ear tag, leather slippers marked on underside: “Regstd. No. 423888/Made in Germany,” height 9 ½”. Peter is estimated at $80-125.

There's not a hare out of place with this wah-hoo good bunny. Most Steiff collectors (including Steiffgal) have an original turn-of-last century Peter Rabbit on their bucket list. Given their absolute rarity and costs... this example just may be a good fix. This toy, of course, is based on English author Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit book which debuted in 1902. This tail - oops, tale - became a worldwide sensation due to its simple story and beautiful illustrations. Ms. Potter created a little Peter Rabbit doll and registered it in the London patent office. Despite numerous attempts, she could not find a manufacturer in England to produce her toy. Steiff got wind of this, and soon became the producer of the "official" Peter Rabbit doll for the English market. Steiff's Peter Rabbit was based on an existing begging rabbit pattern and appeared in the line in a number of sizes through about 1919. All version wore a felt topcoat and slippers.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on some of Potter's June 20, 2020 Steiff sale highlights has been almost exciting as a live auction event! You can learn more about this sale and check out the entire catalog by clicking here.

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

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