Saturday, June 12, 2021

What's The Tattle On This Unexpected Steiff Rattle?

Don't you just love a good surprise? Like when you buy something online, and when it arrives, it's even BETTER than your wildest hopes? That just happened to Steiffgal today, and she can't wait to share this auspicious treat with you. So 'ears what's happening....

Steiffgal took a leap of faith with this purchase. The electronic pictures weren't so great, and the description wasn't glowing. Yet, it called to her!

What we have here is Steiff's late 1920s sitting rabbit. He is head jointed, about 13 cm sans ears and 19 cm with them, and made from faded purple and cream colored velvet. His pert ears are lined in wires and are posable. His darling face comes to life with oversized brown and black pupil eyes, a wide forehead, and Steiff's legacy 1920s era rabbit nose and mouth embroidery. This consists of a horizontally stitched, triangular shaped nose, outlined in a slightly different color floss, and a simple "v" shaped mouth. He retains his long trailing "f" button and bits of his red ear tag. These hoppy handfuls were produced sitting in 11, 15, and 18 cm (measured without ears) in blue, purple, maize, orange, and white velvet from 1927-1933 overall.

So just what makes this purple bunny such a royal find? Two things come to mind. 

The first is his monarchal color - lilac - which is so lovely and typical to Steiff's 1920s era production. In the late 1920s through early 1930s, Steiff made a series of "jellybean" colored velvet and mohair rabbits. In addition to this sitting, velvet version, the company also produced sitting mohair and begging velvet or mohair rabbits in playful colors including orange, pink, yellow, and light blue, among others. These were made to match the aesthetics of the "Roaring 20s." 
You can see a Steiff catalog image from 1929 featuring a number of these "jellybean jumpers" at the bottom of this blog post. Today, many of these items have faced a bit, much like this rabbit. You can usually tell their original color by looking in their cracks and crevices. In this case, the folds in his ears retained their vivid violet color.

And now let's make some noise over his second highlight. Believe it or not, this beautiful bun is also a RATTLE! Yes, when you shake him, he makes a happy plink-plinka noise! This feature was not noted in his listing, which makes it even more thrilling to discover.

To keep things moving and shaking, Steiff sometimes tucked a rattle into some of the smallest or almost smallest versions of its most popular prewar models. As far as Steiffgal can tell, there is/was no formal numbering or ID system to identify those items specifically produced with a rattle feature. In her personal collection, Steiffgal has a velvet sitting Pip dog rattle, a lying wool plush rabbit rattle, a white mohair Teddy rattle, and a velvet and mohair begging squirrel rattle. All were discovered to be rattles by accident... in the best possible way. Next time you handle a small, prewar item, shake it gently.... and you may happily surprised as well!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this princely purple rabbit reigned supremely well with you.

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