Friday, October 22, 2021

One-derful Highlights From Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion November 6th Auction!

The countdown continues towards November 6, 2021 for Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion GmbH's Special Steiff Auction! This amazing sale, offers 367 OFF THE CHARTS vintage button-in-ear temptations. It's so hard to pick highlights here as practically every lot qualifies as a headliner. Steiffgal offered her top Teddy Baby selections a few days ago; now here are her WAH-HOO good favorites. To qualify for today's elite list, these items (as far as Steiffgal can tell) were not produced on a commercial scale and/or have not appeared in any standard Steiff reference book, such as the Sortiment tomes. So here we go!

There's no monkeying around when it comes to lot #3967, a Steiff monkey made from paper plush.
The cataloging for this item is: "paper monkey, probably produced from 1919-1920, exceptional monkey, in paper plush substitute, wood pulp plush, jointed, with small button, block letters, long stretched F, glass eyes, seat height 18 cm, used condition, exceptional, extremely rare." The presale estimate for this little guy is €220-€440.

There are many things that make this five ways jointed chimp such a champ. His design, scale, and presentation are really appealing. But of course, you can't help but notice his "unconventional" construction of paper plush and linen. Steiffgal has seen, or has known about, a few paper plush Teddy bears. But nothing like this monkey, ever!

During and immediately following the First World War, Steiff was unable to procure adequate supplies of high end fabrics.
Mohair and felt manufacturing had decreased, and the materials produced were allocated towards military purposes. In order to continue some production, Steiff was forced to come up with some alternative products, as well as materials. Given the abundance of wood in the area, the company started producing things like building sets and furniture for children. Steiff also found a way to produce a tweed-like material from local natural products. This "paper plush" was made from nettles and called "Brennessel." Paper plush items appeared in the line from 1919 through 1921, and included popular models of the company's standard line bears, dogs, cats, and rabbits... and apparently this monkey, too!

Next, size defies with this teeny tiny Lulac rabbit, lot #3993.
This is kind of an oxymoron here, as Lulacs are famous for their size and cartoonishly long limbs. He is cataloged as: "Lulac, '60s, with button, chest label and cloth tag label, number on cloth tag label 1322,00, without damage, this size couldn't be found in the STEIFF-catalog, it is probably a sample item." His presale estimate is €250-€500.

It's difficult to tell just from the photo here, but this guy is like an extra from the movie "Honey I Shrunk The Kids!" This bitty bunny really is only a petite 22 cm tall, measured vertically from the top of his head to his toes. As noted, he probably was a small scaled sample of a popular pattern of the time - created as a possible product line extension. And there is precedent for this; Steifgall has a 15 cm version of Steiff's sitting Jumbo elephant which appeared in the line from 1952-1975. Jumbo was produced commercially at 22 and 35 cm. You can see this little guy along with his 35 cm mama below.

Steiff's wonderful five ways jointed Lulac rabbits debuted in 1952.
It is Steiffgal's best thinking that their name derives from the German verb “to laugh” which is lachen, and the word "smile" which is l├Ącheln. Lulacs are famous for their comically long arms, legs and torsos, goofy eyes, and playful personalities. Standard line Lulac rabbits were produced in produced in 43 cm from 1952-74 and 60 cm from 1964-66. So this 22 cm version is one rare rabbit indeed.

And finally, this last auction rarity is certainly a shoe-in for WAH-HOO good status. Check out lot #4318, a pair of fancy mohair kicks for kids. They are noted as, "exceptional children's hares shoes, probably '50s, very nice, strong colors, sole is 16.5 cm long, unused condition, rare, collection Koskinen." They carry a presale estimate of €120-€240. 

These shoes are worthy of walking the red carpet. And Steiffgal so wishes they were made in her size! They feature a rabbit design which is somewhat like Steiff's lying rabbit pattern. This little cutie is known for her stretched out body position and black and white google eyes. These often have the appearance of giving a side glancing "stink eye." Lying Rabbit was made in 6, 9, and 12 cm from 1953 through 1970.

Steiff's tradition of creating innovative product line extension items goes back to the turn of last century. The company has a long history of creating unusual novelties based on their most popular designs of the time. These things include purses, puppets, tea cosies, roly polys, tail moves head items, music boxes, and other functional and/or fun treasures.

It is entirely possible that someone at Steiff made these shoes as an experiment, for fun, or as simply an end of day or whimsy item - perhaps as a birthday or even Easter gift for a child or grandchild. It is also possible, given that the rabbit pattern's detailing is not exactly identical to Steiff, that they don't seem to have any IDs, and the painting and detailing of them is so unusual to Steiff, that they were made by another very high quality manufacturer also producing really appealing midcentury novelties. For example, the company Felpa Zurich MUTZLI created a series of children's hangers; they were covered in mohair and featured the face of a soft mohair Teddy bear or other animal. Only the shoes know for sure - and it is clear they are keeping their origins deep within their sole!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on these WAH-HOO good auction picks has totally energized your day!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more!
The teddy bear search engine