Friday, February 5, 2016

"Lots" Of Outstanding Steiff Treasures Up For Sale At The Upcoming Steiff Sonder-Auktion On February 19th!

February unquestionably is a short, dark, and cold month. But a number of fantastic auctions starting mid-month should really heat things up for collectors. Over the next few weeks, Steiffgal will present highlights from three upcoming world-class Steiff-centric sales events that should be on the calendar of every enthusiast. Let's start with the "Steiff Sonder-Auktion" at Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion. This exclusively Steiff sale will be held on February 19th, 2016 in Germany. 

The items for sale at this upcoming auction are simply amazing, and read like a "who's who" of the most sought after Steiff rarities.  So it is all but impossible to pick out three highlights as each item is outstanding in its own way.  So Steiffgal will share three selections that simply catch her eye - as well as call to her heart. 

It's hard not to notice lot 1339, a standing Steiff Putzi. He is cataloged as... 

"Putzi, dog caricature, produced between 1932 - 1935, wool plush, white, attending, with button in ear, long stretched F, used condition, swivel head, very rare, unusual." 

This adorable character was produced in 17, 22, and 28 cm and was modeled on the well known "Putzi" comic strip of the time.  His chest tag reads, "I am Putzi, of the TAZ." TAZ is the name of a German newspaper publisher. According to Steiff records, a total of 2,542 Putzi dogs were manufactured overall. This is only the second one Steiffgal has ever seen come up for sale on the secondary market.

In addition to his playful presentation, Putzi has two interesting design features.  The first is his glass nose.  Of course, it is not unusual for Steiff items to have glass eyes.  But this is only one of a handful of items Steiffgal has come across that features a glass nose.  A few of the company's early 1950-era poodles also have this distinctive facial detail.  The second feature has been lost to time on this Putzi, but is important to note nonetheless. Every Putzi dog that left the Giengen factory had distinctive eyebrows placed high on his forehead. This was done to mirror Putzi's appearance in print. 

It's time to roll forward to Steiffgal's second auction pick.  It would be hard to outfox lot 1381, a charming fox on wheels.  He is cataloged as... 

"fox on excenter-wheels, c. 1925, with button, long stretched F, height 14 cm, length 20 cm, copper-colored mohair, at single places with slight mohair loss, otherwise good condition."   

This field and forest favorite was produced in 14, 17, and 22 cm on eccentric wooden wheel from 1915 through 1933.  

Admit it, you also have a plush-crush on this fantastic fox.  His outstanding, vibrant copper coloring makes perfect cents in bringing him to life. And it's impossible to resist his "Teddy bear" style face, black mohair detailed ears, and charming presentation. 
Steiffgal's third pick may just surprise you - but remember, sometimes less is more!  Have a ball and check out lot 1456.  This simple lot of two cats is cataloged as...

"2 cats, sitting, 1x pre-war era, with button, 1x without button, ear damaged, 10 cm, otherwise good condition."

This "hidden gem" duo consists of what appears to be a sweet, well loved mid-century Susi cat plus a most unusual Steiff "Ball Cat."  The Ball Cat, which has a distinctive, simple, rounded body shape, was produced in 9 and 15 cm from 1934 though 1943 overall. 
Let's get around to discussing what makes the Ball Cat such a find.  Steiff made a series of small "ball" style animals starting in the early 1930's.  These included a lion (1934 to 1935), Teddy (1935 to 1940), Chin-Chin (1932 to 1935), Molly (1934 to 1935), rabbit (1932 to 1943), duck (1932 to 1943), and elephant (1932 to 1940).  All were simple versions of popular line items; many, like the cat, had pom-pom front limbs. What's amazing about these items is that any survived at all given they were made to fit in the palm of a child's hand and designed as toys for youngsters! As such, examples in good condition seldom, if ever, appear on the secondary market. A not so good example of the Ball Lion from Steiffgal's collection is pictured here on the left.

This is the first time Steiffgal has featured auction selections from Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion in this blog. As such, here's a little interview with the company's owner and auctioneer.

Steiffgal:  Tell a little bit about yourself and responsibilities at Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion.

Mr. Seidel:  My name is Götz C. Seidel. I am the owner of Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion. My responsibilities include describing the items, customer contact and service, and running our auctions and business along with my daughter and son-in-law.

Steiffgal:  Tell us about your auction house and its history. How long has the company been in business? What type of things does the company sell? How many does the company have per year?  

Mr. Seidel: We are a family company and have been in business since 1989. We sell historical toys and important items ranging from the Biedermeyer-time (an era in Central Europe between 1815 and 1848 when the arts and decorative items had wide appeal) to the greater 19th century through the beginning of the 20th century.  These would include things like tin toys, trains, traditional German folk art items, Christmas decorations, Steiff animals and bears, doll houses and furniture, and dolls.  We have four main auctions, plus several specialty auctions, per year.     

Steiffgal:  Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's upcoming Steiff auction has many remarkable treasures. Are they from one collection, or from several consignors?

Mr. Seidel: Many of the fine consignments are from one person, who wishes to remain anonymous.  This person inherited the collection from a relative who authored several books on Steiff.  

Steiffgal:  In your opinion, what is the most special item in the auction? What is your favorite lot in the auction? 

Mr. Seidel:  For me there are two.  The first is lot 1369, the baby Mimocculo orangutan with movable eyes, and the second is lot 1170, a charming white Teddy bear with his original white ear tag. (Both of these outstanding sections are pictured here on the left.)

Steiffgal:  Are there any items in Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's upcoming auction that were new to you or your team - things that you had never seen before? 

Mr. Seidel:  Oh yes!  Lot 1398, the "Krinoline" coffee warmer was new to all of us!  She is cataloged as...""Krinoline" coffee warmer, felt, multicolored, standing, arms and head are movable, for warming coffee- or teapots, thick felt lining, item description "KR 43", exceptional inset eyes, shiny button, wool hair, color is faded, 43 cm, produced between 1908 - 1912, rare." (This amazing rarity is pictured here on the left.)

Steiffgal:  Wow, I had never seen her before, either!  One last question for you.  If your auction house could sell any Steiff piece ever created, which one would that be and why?

Mr. Seidel:  Margarete Steiff's
elephant pincushion, of course.  That's because it's the most historical Steiff object of all. 

Steiffgal:  Thank you so much for your time, and best of luck at this sales event!  Readers, you can participate online in this auction through LiveAuctioneers.  For more information, click here!

Steiffgal hopes this Steiff related discussion and interview has been the highlight of your day.
Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.
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