Monday, February 6, 2012

Green With Envy Over This Unusual Steiff Crocodile

There's nothing Steiffgal enjoys more than a big Steiff smile in her email inbox!  So this particular inquiry got her particularly beaming about the wonder of the Steiff product range.  Take a look at this note from a reader who asks about one of Steiff's more unusual green gentle giants.  Peter writes,
"Hello Steiffgal,

We have a crocodile with a Steiff label on it but no Steiff button. We have had it since new when we won it in a raffle in 1984/85.

Did they ever have any items without the button or does this mean it is not a real Steiff?

It is a large crocodile with an open mouth and the tail returns over the body.

Do you know anything about this item? I have attached a photo of it. 

Yours in anticipation, 

No need to "dial" up the excitement over this rare and unusual Steiff Crocodile!  What we have here is a very large promotional item made for the company LaCoste.  And it just so happens that the logo for this French apparel company - started in 1933 - is a big grinning crock!   This grinning greenie is standing on all fours and has his tail resting on his back.  He made from soft plush woven green fur.  Crock has an open, red plush lined mouth and pert, machine embroidered eyes. His back and tail are highlighted with white airbrushing to resemble the original logo.  This great item was produced in two waves at Steiff.  In 1984 it was produced in 45 cm, while in 1993 he appeared in a whopping 115 cm.  Because Peter says he won the crock in 1984/1985, Steiffgal assumes that his is the 45 cm version.

Now let's button up his details and branding.  According to Peter, he has a Steiff tag, but no button.  Is this possible?  Well, with Steiff, anything is possible.  But buttons are pretty sacred with Steiff.  Steiffgal knows of only two or three products post the early turn of last century that left the Giengen, Germany factory without a button.  And that was because these items were so darn tiny there simply wasn't a place to affix it.  These items included the really small woolie ladybugs and tiny woolen hedgehogs.  On other item, like birds, Steiff would attach the button via an "ankle" bracelet style of identification.  And some dolls with tiny or logistically challenging ears bore a red rubber bracelet with their button and yellow Steiff identification tag; an example of that is pictured above.  Although Steiffgal has not seen Peter's crock first hand, it is her strongest suspicion that he had a button attached at the base of his tag, or placed somewhere around his fingers or toes

Steiffgal hopes this discussion of Peter's giant crocodile has left you grinning from ear to ear! 

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