Monday, January 23, 2023

The Top Lot Winners From The Susan Kilgore Wiley Steiff Auction Are...

Wow! Talk about a bear-affair! Steiffgal's head is spinning over the results of the Steiff auction held on January 21st through Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion GmbH. This sale, which included the first half of the Susan Kilgore Wiley collection, included 195 premier lots, lasted nearly 5 hours long, and had a 99% sell through rate! It hammered at $381,000, with buyer's premiums varying across different selling platforms. Here are the three top selling lots from the sale, and what might have made them so sought after from the collector's perspective.

Here's a hot tip... Steiff's Petsy bears seem to continue to capture the hearts, imaginations, and wallets of collectors worldwide! 
Lot #6115, a magnificent Petsy the Baby Bear, was the gold medal winner in this exciting sale. He generated 50 bids and hammered at a breathtaking $57,772. He was cataloged in part as:

"One of the highlights of the auction, Petsy-bear, in unused condition, with button, block letters, long trailing f, minimally rests of the white cloth tag label, big ears, seam at the middle of the head, felt paws in very good condition, long snapped off arms, clearly hump, 45 cm, very nice strong colors, exceptional."

So what made this Ted so desirable at auction? 
Most importantly, more than one collector was determined to add him to their hug! Clearly, he was in wonderful condition, with great coloration, and IDs. He also must had that "X" factor that really called to his new owner. Petsy bears traditionally do really well at auction, especially at Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion. In July, 2022, they sold a most impressive 74 cm version of Petsy for $45,782. Steiffgal also believes that Mrs. Wiley's Petsy has set a new world's record price for a Teddy bear sold at auction in the 21st century.

Taking the silver slot at this Steiff sale was another version of Petsy, this time on a four wooden wheeled cart.
This was lot #6071, an astonishingly rare Record Petsy. It hammered at $21,801 and generated nearly 100 bids! He was cataloged in part as:

"Rare Record-Petsy, produced around 1928-1929, length: 25 cm, brown pointed mohair, blue glass eyes, bright embroidering at snout, with seam at the middle of head, with button, block letters, long trailing f, minimally rests of the white cloth tag label, smaller mohair loss at the thighs and at the hand, very nice strong colors of the mohair, red wood wheels, extremely expressive."

Clearly, this Petsy on the go was the wheel deal!
Record Petsy was made in 20 or 25 cm from 1928-1929 only. According to Cieslik's Button In Ear reference book, only 1,462 examples were made. Steiffgal has only seen two of these - ever! Unlike full bodied Petsy bears which do appear with some regularity on the secondary market, this prewar pull toy version is the only example Steiffgal can find that EVER appeared online at public sale. That - plus his irresistible presentation - certainly help to explain why he raised so many paddles during this amazing button-in-ear event.

The bronze medal at last weekend's event goes to lot #6187, Steiff's smallest (and arguably cutest!) prewar Record Teddy.
It hammered at $8,829 and generated 90 bids. He was cataloged in part as:

"Rare Record teddy, in the small manufactured size, height: 10 cm, 1924-1927, on a self-propelling vehicle with motion, with original drawstring, with button, block letters, long trailing f, glass eyes, a little bit flash rust, mohair is a bit thin."

Again, collectors always seem to go into fifth gear when it comes to Steiff's prewar wheeled novelties.
This is the smallest sized version Steiff ever made of its legacy Record Teddy pattern. He really translated well into miniature form, so his petite scale and irresistible presentation most certainly added to his bottom line at this sale. Like his cousin Record Petsy, this guy is amazingly rare - The only other tiny Record Teddy Steiffgal nows of sold at Christies in 2010 for 6,250 GBP.

Steiffgal hopes this auction review has perhaps bid up your interest in future Steiff sales!

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

Thursday, January 19, 2023

This Marvelous Prewar Steiff Girl is Made of Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice!

A "rosa" by any other name... would ALMOST be as beautiful as this sweet Steiff doll! Steiffgal recently had the pleasure of handling a very vintage button-in-ear doll that came from a fine and well curated collection down south. Take a look at this lovely lady in red... and be tickled pink, for sure!

Here we have Steiff's charming Rosa girl.
She is 28 cm tall, fully jointed, and made from felt. She has a short blonde inset wig, proportional blue and black glass pupil eyes, and a prominent vertical facial seam. Her perfectly to scale nose is dimensional and she has painted eyebrows. Rosa wears a red felt dirndl style dress with black trim, a white cotton blouse, white apron, a white underskirt and underwear, knit socks, red shoes, and a red felt hat that perfectly matches her dress. Steiffgal believes the tan lace on her dress is probably replaced. Rosa retains her tiny long trailing "f" Steiff button in-ear. This beautifully attired doll appeared in the line in 28, 35, 43, 50, 60, and 75 cm from 1908-1926 overall. So this example is the smallest standard sized produced.

Rosa has a few features that make her particularly interesting from the timeline and product development perspectives.

First is her facial stitching.
In addition to her vertical center seam, she has small horizontal seams near her eyes. Steiff specifically added in this design feature to their line of proportional and endearing "children" line, starting around 1908. These extra seams gave the face a pleasing roundness and further emphasized its youthful symmetry.  

Second are her hands.
Rosa has simple, rounded embroidered style hands, suggesting that she was made at the earliest point in her production timeline. Steiff's first dolls had hands that looked more like fists; "fingers" were indicated by embroidery stitches. You can see this in the photo here on the left. By 1910 or so, most Steiff dolls had "conventional" style hands, with prominent and individual fingers.

And finally is her blouse.
Her white cotton shirt fits perfectly, and is correct to her period and design, but is slightly different than the one pictured in the standard Steiff reference books. Rosa's shirt has lace and lots of tucks and details; the one pictured in Pfeiffer's Sortiment is much plainer. Rosa's shirt may be a replacement, or not. This doll model appeared in the line for nearly two decades. Over the years, clothing styles on dolls tended to be updated a bit, and generally were simplified over time. This was usually for cost savings, labor savings, and/or supply chain management issues. Because Rosa was probably "born" around 1908-1909, it is possible that she is wearing a fancy, original blouse that was streamlined to a more simple version over time. Only she knows for sure!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's Rosa has brought a bouquet of happiness to your day.

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

Saturday, December 31, 2022

These Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion Auction Highlights Are Dressed To The Nines!

Three's a charm when it comes to the third post in this blog series of auction highlight from Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's January 21st, 2023 Collection of Susan Kilgore Wiley sale. It's no secret that Steiffgal goes all hubba-hubba over Steiff's utterly charming dressed dolls and animals. And, this sale offers some of the most appealing ones in memory. Check out this trio of well attired prewar offerings from this auction. Steiffgal is certain you will consider all of them a clothes call indeed.

This first dressed highlight doesn't have a hare out of place.
It is lot #6152, an all original and early Steiff Peter Rabbit. It is estimated at €650-€1,300, and is cataloged in part as:

"One of the highlights of the auction, exceptional hare, Peter, around 1910, with small button, block letters, long trailing f, shoe button eyes, underlaid with red felt, fine brown/beige velvet, attending, with original felt jacket, decorative seams and golden buttons, red slippers, 1 leather sole with original stamp, 1 felt slipper is a bit holey, and small holes on the blue felt jacket, standing height 26 cm, extremely rare, exceptional."

Steiff's turn of last century Peter Rabbit dolls top many collector's bucket lists. This well coutured example is in lovely condition and is a marvelous size. It is interesting to note that the exact details that make up a Steiff "Peter Rabbit" are not specifically identified in Pfeiffer's Sortiment books. It is generally understood amongst collectors that a "Steiff Peter Rabbit" is standing, unjointed, and wears a felt topcoat with buttons and embroidery and felt slippers with leather soles. The Sortiment book pictures two versions of standing rabbits wearing felt topcoats and slippers, but does not identify them as "Peter Rabbit." The first is a spotted velvet version wearing a red or navy topcoat and red slippers; he was produced in 10, 22, and 28 cm from 1904-1919. The second is a white wool plush version wearing a green felt topcoat and red slippers; he was produced in 22 cm from 1904-1918.

This next auction highlight is a pair with flair!
Here we have lot #6181, two early 20th century, fully jointed, center seamed Steiff felt dolls. They are estimated at €330-€660 and are cataloged in part as:

"Felt dolls, Anton & Lisl, Upper Bavarian, produced between 1909 and 1926, 28 cm, with traditional costume, felt-head, mohair-hair, felt body, jointed, arms and legs, original, clothes, very nice condition."

This darling duo are textbook examples of   Steiff's "children" style dolls. 
These guys appeared in the line from 1909 through the late 1920's. Unlike earlier Steiff dolls that were more caricatured, harsh, and designed for adult collectors, these dolls were realistically proportioned, had gentle personalities, and angelic, rosy faces. They truly were designed for child's fun and play. These models were all fully jointed and had felt heads and bodies - except right around WWI when felt was scarce and the bodies were sometimes made from rough cotton or linen type materials. Steiff's children dolls were all dressed head to toe in handmade clothing that included school uniforms, ethnic costumes, sporting attire, and “Sunday best." Steiffgal is certain that the boy is Anton, based on his outfit and presentation. However, she is not 110% certain the identity of the girl is Lisl as her outfit does not match the one pictured in Pfeiffer's Sortiment. Steiffgal also suspects that her clothing, however charming, is not entirely original to her. Nonetheless, the pair is simply wonderful.

And it's tag, you're it! when it comes to our final well dressed auction highlight.
This is lot #6114, a late prewar standing and dressed rabbit doll, estimated at €180-€360. She is cataloged in part as:

"Pupp-hare, Mike, with button, block letters, long trailing f, very nice good preserved, yellow cloth tag label, No. 22, wool plush at hands and feet, original traditional costume, 27 cm, very nice condition."

And just want makes this lovely lady a 10?
She's got a fantastic presentation, and is in delightful, all original condition. And if you look closely at her tag, it is says "22,11." Numbers don't lie here! Her digits mean 22 cm tall (measured without ears), while the number 11 corresponds to her costume as described by the company. Outfit #11 translates to "traditional costume with green checkered skirt, green corsage, and white shirt." Spot on! These utterly charming, dressed rabbit dolls appeared in the line in 14, 22, and 28 cm in maize or white plush from 1932-1943 overall. Eleven total outfits for these rabbits were produced; they ranged from pajamas to playsuits to trousers and dresses through regional outfits like the one featured on this premier example. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on these well dressed auction highlights has contributed to the fabric of your collecting life. 


For more information about Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion GmbH's upcoming Special Steiff Auction event on January 21st, please click here!

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

Monday, December 26, 2022

These Wheeled Wonders Up For Auction Soon Will Send Your Pulse Into 5th Gear!

We continue our series on auction highlights from Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's January 21st, 2023 Collection of Susan Kilgore Wiley sale with a focus on AMAZING pull toys. It goes without saying that all the temptations in this sale are simply WAH-HOO good, but some are the "wheel-deal," too! Check out these three breathtaking rarities on the go that send Steiffgal's pulse into fifth gear!

Size defies with this first auction highlight.
Here we have lot #6187, a happy handful of a bear who is clearly off to the races. He is cataloged in part as: 

"Rare Record teddy, in the small manufactured size, height: 10 cm, 1924-1927, on a self-propelling vehicle with motion, with original drawstring, with button, block letters, long trailing f, glass eyes, a little bit flash rust, mohair is a bit thin." He has an opening bid of 280 €.

Many of us are familiar with Steiff's charming "Record" animals - those sitting sweeties on a four wheeled cart
. They appear to move back and forth as their vehicles are pulled along. This is due in part to their slightly looser jointing and clever engineering. Record animals and dolls are mostly seen in the c. 20 cm+ size. This one is really, really charming given its teeny, tiny proportions - he's the smallest sized Record bear made by Steiff, ever. His pattern was produced in 10 and 15 cm in blond or gold mohair from 1924-1927. He literally fits in the palm of your hand, and would be insanely adorable as the prized toy in the arms of a very lucky medium to larger scaled bear or doll from any era. And he is RARE! The only other tiny Record Teddy Steiffgal knows of sold at Christies in 2010 for 6,250 GBP.

Our next wheeled highlight proves the saying, "two heads are better than one."
Here we have lot #6050, a stunning Steiff Roly Droly. This bear-pair is cataloged in part as: 

"Tricycle, wood, with 2 turning pre-war bears, 1x golden yellow, 1x white, with button and red cloth tag label, block letters, long trailing f, very nice condition, length: 20 cm, depth: 19 cm, height: 16 cm, extremely rare, sticks were later glued." The Roly Droly has an opening bid of 550 €.

This fantastic novelty is head spinning for a number of reasons, including its rarity, presentation, and condition.
Roly Poly pull toys were made in the mid-1920s through the mid-1930s, and were produced with a number of different "passengers." These included two chicks, two bears, a chick and rabbit, a dog and a cat, and two rabbits, among others. These novelties were specifically produced and designed as hands-on play toys. And toys - especially with moving parts or designed for rough play - wear out, fall apart, or just get lost to time. For example, think about Steiff skittles. Those were designed as a sporting game, so losses and wear on skittle pins and balls are almost expected! This Roly Droly shows just a touch of playwear, and has, or needs, some simple restoration with one of its poles. Nonetheless, this example is so appealing, and so seldom seen, that it just may go into overdrive when the bidding begins.

And finally, let's take a look at just what may be the Maserati of this wheeled category - and maybe the entire sale.
Here we have lot #6071... a breathtakingly rare Record Petsy. It is cataloged in part as:

"Rare Record-Petsy, produced around 1928-1929, length: 25 cm, brown pointed mohair, blue glass eyes, bright embroidering at snout, with seam at the middle of head, with button, block letters, long trailing f, minimally rests of the white cloth tag label, smaller mohair loss at the thighs and at the hand, very nice strong colors of the mohair, red wood wheels, extremely expressive." It has an opening bid of 1,300 €.

Collectors can't seem to get enough of Steiff's Petsy the Baby bear.
 In July, 2022, Ladenburg sold a 72 cm version of this blue-eyed beauty for 42,000
 €! This classic bear design only appeared in the line for a few years in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Like several of the company's mid- to late 1920s popular designs, Petsy was made into several theme and variation novelties, including a music box, a puppet, a purse, and this pull toy. Record Petsy was made in 20 or 25 cm from 1928-1929 only. According to Cieslik's Button In Ear reference book, only 1,462 examples were made. Steiffgal has only seen two of these - ever! One was at the Steiff museum in Giengen (pictured here on the left along with some other fantastic "high rollers") and one at the Spielzeug Welten Museum in Basel. So this Record Petsy is in remarkable, and exclusive, company indeed.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on these wheeled auction highlights has been thrilling, in a round-about sort of way.

For more information about Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion GmbH's upcoming Special Steiff Auction event on January 21st, please click here!

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