Tuesday, September 14, 2021

This 1960s-Era Steiff Polar Bear Is Footloose And Fancy Free!

Is it possible to be naughty and nice at the same time? And no... this isn't a trick question or have anything to do with Santa Claus! It is in reference to a little known, but very interesting, 1960s era Steiff polar bear. Take a look at this cold weather cutie and see what makes him so cool from the design perspective.

This polar pal's name is Cosy Nauty.
He is standing, unjointed, and measures about 15 cm tall and 27 cm wide. He is made from longer white dralon plush, while his inset muzzle is made from shorter white dralon. His paw pads are made from peach colored felt. His face comes to life with black button eyes, a black hand embroidered nose and mouth, and a touch of airbrushed highlights. His feet are detailed with tiny white felt claws in the shapes of triangles. Nifty Nauty appeared in the line in this size only from 1963-1966.

This polar bear pattern has two really interesting details associated with it.
The first is its unusual claw detailing. Steiff most often indicates claws by stitching or paint. In this case, Nauty's claws are three dimensional and made from white felt. You can see a close up of that detailing here on the left. Steiff may have been experimenting with this treatment in the mid-1960s. It is curious that their beloved Zooby Circus bear - produced in 1964 and 1966 - also had white felt triangular claws, while its 28 cm white Cosy Bear from 1964 only featured brown felt triangular claws. These three bears with this similar design element were all the line for only a handful of years. This suggests that this feature was not terribly attractive to buyers, and/or was too costly from the manufacturing perspective.

The second noteworthy thing about Nauty is that he was also produced as an even lesser known novelty item.
In 1964, Steiff produced a series of smaller scaled pajama bags. These included a Zipper Cockie (a cocker spaniel) Zipper Zotty (a Zotty bear) and Zipper Nauty (a polar bear). All were 30 cm. Cockie and Zotty were made from mohair while Nauty was produced in white dralon - similar to the full bodied version. And like his namesake, this polar bear PJ bag also featured felt claws. You can see Zipper Nauty and Zipper Zotty pictured here on the left. These Zipper animals appeared in the line through 1966 overall.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's little known Nauty polar bear has helped you to chill out just a bit today!

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