Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Steiff Bearded Beauty

Great Scott! Check out this note from a reader that really got Steiffgal's tag a-wagging. Chania from Canada writes...


I purchas
ed this sweet little Scotty dog.

She is 9" long and 6" tall. She has a little leather collar and a Steiff metal button, but no label. The button is metal and looks like pewter, and has "Steiff" written on it in thin script letters. She has glass eyes; they are round and amber with black centers. She is solidly stuffed and made from mohair.

Can you tell me something about her and her value?

Thank you so much!


Doggonit, what you have here is Steiff's lovely Scotty. She is standing, made from black mohair, and is head jointed. She left the factory in Giengen, Germany with a red leather collar. Scotty was produced from 1949 through 1957. If she has a white "US Zone" tag in one of his seams - which Steiffgal could not determine from the pictures sent in - that would mean she was made on the earlier side of this time frame. Her pewter metal button with the word "Steiff" in raised skinny script letters also confirms her production time frame. This bearded beauty was made in 10, 14, 17, 22, 25, 28, and 35 cm; sizes over 17 cm came with a squeaker.

Scotties are a longstanding, beloved breed in the Steiff product line. The first Scotties appeared in the Steiff catalog in 1930 in both sitting and standing models, ranging in sizes from 8 through 35 cm. These early versions were produced in gray as well as black. Soon after their debut, Scotties began being produced as hand puppets, pull toys on wheels, pom-pom pets, dressed dolls, purses, and pajama bags, and other items. It is not surprising that right after the war, when production resumed, that Scotties were among the first items Steiff reintroduced to the marketplace.The reader's early postwar Scotty very closely resembles those produced in the late 1930's and early 1940's... except for one very interesting detail.

If you eyeball this dog closely, you will see that one of her most "eye"-pealling features presents an interesting mystery. What is different about this specific Scotty relative to Steiff's "standard" Scotty of the early 1950's is her eyes. According to Steiff reference books and catalogs, Scotty should have glass almond shaped eyes that have white on the outer ridges, then a circle of brown, and then a black pupil. From what Chania described, her Scotty has round pupil eyes.

Upon further research, Steiffgal found a picture of two black Steiff Scotties, one with the almond eyes and one with the round eyes. This photo is taken from the Koskinen's very informative German language Steiff Teddybaren, Tiere und Puppen 1992 priceguide book. As you can see, the Scotty on the far left has round eyes, while his Scotty brother on the far right has almond eyes. (Of course, their white Sealyham cousin in the center only cares about his next doggie-dinner!) Perhaps the early postwar Scotties could have come with round OR almond eyes? It is possible that right after the war, the company used the eyes they had on hand as materials were very hard to come by, and maybe all they had the day they were making the reader's Scotty were round ones? Only her Scotty knows...

Now, what about her value?
As always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and strongly believes that something is "worth" what someone else will pay for it. Thankfully, at least around these parts, the economy is finally moving from first to second gear, and prices seem to be slooooowly inching up at auction. This is starting to level the playing field for buyers and sellers. That all being said, Steiffgal has recently seen comparable early post-war Scotties sell in the $125 to $250 range.

Chania, Steiffgal hopes that this overview of your Scotty and his wonderful eye mystery helps you see her in a whole new light!

Care to have Steiffgal eyeball one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.
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