Sunday, November 21, 2021

Good Things Come In Threes At Teddy Dorado's December 4th, 2021 Sales Event!

Care to go for the gold? Then check out the upcoming Steiff auction presented by our friends at Teddy Dorado auction house! Their signature winter sale, to be held on December 4th, 2021, features more than 400 new, vintage, and antique button-in-ear temptations - with new goodies being listed regularly. Here are three outstanding lots that caught Steiffgal's eye - and why. 

The first lot is a sweet-tweet-treat indeed.
Steiff's earliest prewar woolen miniatures are loved and collected universally - with the rarest ones frequently realizing four figures at auction. Its hard to resist lot #28-4023, which is cataloged as, "Songbird made of white & pink Nomotta wool; black glass eyes; Beak made of skin-colored felt; white felt tail with pink stripes on both sides; Metal legs painted yellow & in perfect condition; Head rotatable & body tillable; approx. 4 mm large FF button slightly rusted, but not visible to the naked eye; red Steiff flag preserved in the best possible way; very clean, absolutely lightfast, odorless & completely unplayed; Premium top condition. approx. 4 cm high." 

This pretty-in-pink treasure has an opening bid of 1,000 Euro.

Bird's the word with this lovely treasure which is fantastic on so many levels. It is amongst the absolute earliest woolen miniatures ever made. This sweet bird design debuted in 1931, the first year Steiff's woolen miniatures were produced on a commercial scale. It was manufactured in six color combinations in 4 or 8 cm. Don't you think his color - pink - is WAH-HOO good? This example is the only Steiff woolen miniature prewar bird that Steiffgal knowns of featuring this great and novel hue. And the condition looks to be as close to like-new as humanly possible. 

You'll be all ears over this next auction highlight.
His expression, era, and materials are all so ele-phantastic. He is lot #28-4021, and is cataloged as, "Play elephant, made of light gray rayon plush; black glass eyes underlaid with pink felt; open mouth made of skin-colored felt; Tail tip made of mohair; tightly stuffed with wood wool; large double pressure voice defective; Saddle pad made of red, yellow & dark green felt; approx. 6 mm large, bright silver, shiny & shiny button in the ear; white paper ear tag missing; Artificial silk plush & felt without annoying flaws; very clean, absolutely lightfast, odorless & unplayed; Top condition approx. 21 cm high & without tail approx. 27 cm long." 

This playful pachyderm has an opening bid of 200 Euro. 

It's interesting to note that this distinctive elephant's "birthdate" is not specified. This great design bridged the pre- and postwar periods. It was produced in artificial silk plush in 17, 22, and 28 cm from 1938 through 1943 overall, and postwar in 22 cm only in 1948 though 1949. Given this big baby has a blank button and traces of his yellow ear tag, it is a safe bet that he is a postwar version. He's unforgettable for sure, don't you agree?

And good things come in threes with this final auction highlight.
Steiff ephemera - catalogs, photographs, sales sheets, postcards, and other paper items associated with the company - is a fun, educational, and visually exciting complement to a button-in-ear collection of any era. If you are interested in the company's 1920s era production and aesthetic, be sure to check out lot #28-4003, which is cataloged as, "Customer brochure "The good toy" A6 +, 36 pp. 1925–1926 without Steiff printed matter no. German Premium Steiff customer brochure "The good toy" for Germany in the format approx. A6 plus landscape with 36 pages; inside black and white with a light green border; Text in German & without prices; Title shows Schlopsnies doll Theo with two yellow mohair (pulling) ducks, each lying on eccentric wheels; without printer's note or Steiff printed matter no .; original Steiff brochure & no reprint; very clean, absolutely lightfast, odorless & completely unread; Premium top condition." 

This time capsule quality brochure has an opening bid of 100 Euro. 

It's hard to picture a more interesting collection of images than those that appear in this great catalog. It features illustrations of the company's very rare mid-1920s white chimp with a tail, little known wooden toys on wheels, and charming, lifelike, and toddler-esque Schlopsnies dolls, among many other outstanding characters. And what makes these visuals so heartwarming is that they show our favorite button-in-ear favorites in playful and interactive vignettes... as if they were truly alive! Flipping through this period catalog is like taking a trip back in time, in the best possible way.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on some of Teddy Dorado's upcoming sale highlights has been almost exciting as a live auction event!  Check out the entire catalog for this December 4th sale by clicking here. 

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Hans Down, This Prewar Steiff Teddy Bear Has Amazing ID!

This Steiff blog entry is designed to test your "metal" in the most interesting way possible. Check out this delightful and purely period prewar Steiff Ted that Steiffgal has named Hans. He recently joined Steiffgal's hug and previously belonged to a Canadian collector. Can you believe he's close to 90 years old? Indeed, he does check out in every way as a late prewar cub... with a very special and little known detail that helps to narrow down his dating. But more about that in just a bit.

This little love of a cub is a wonderful time capsule of Steiff's mid-1930s to mid-1940s Teddy bear design directives. In terms of his physical properties, Hans stands at 10 inches/25 cm tall and is made from yellow-blonde mohair. He has a back hump, but it is less pronounced than the company's earlier bear editions. He is fully jointed and has both felt hand and foot pads. Each pad is detailed with four black claws. His feet are long and narrow, and his wrists turn slightly upward. Hans' face comes alive with proportional black and brown glass pupil eyes, an unshaven muzzle, and a black hand embroidered nose and mouth. Hans' side-squeeze squeaker works, once in a while.

Hans also has a few "intangible" properties that tie him to the late prewar period. 
He has a very distinctive long, lean, and somewhat "pensive" appearance. He's a "no nonsense" Ted indeed. This "look and feel" is often seen on Steiff's prewar bear production from the early 1930s onward. It is possible that bears created at this time reflected the feelings of the seamstresses making them, as the 1930s and 1940s were very stressful decades in Germany due to challenging and ongoing social, political, and economic realities. In contrast, consider Steiff's early postwar bear production - from the early 1950s onward. Newly introduced midcentury patterns like Zotty and Jackie and the company's re-engineered "Original Teddy Bears" are noted for their jolly faces, rotund bodies, and playful personalities.

Perhaps the most concrete metric in terms of dating Hans is his unexpected branding. He sports an unusual BRASS colored Steiff button. It is the short trailing "f" style and 6 mm in diameter. This button appeared on a few items from 1933/34 through 1943. He also has traces of his yellow linen ear tag, but the information on it is not legible. The yellow tag was introduced around 1934, which suggests Hans' birth year falls roughly between 1934 and 1943. This is one of a handful of times Steiffgal has ever seen this brass button, and Hans is only the second item in her collection of antique Steiff treasures bearing this distinctive trademark. Most of the time, for items produced in the mid 1930's through early 1940's time frame, Steiff used a silver colored short trailing "f" button. It is possible that Steiff substituted brass buttons for silver colored ones during this time for economic or supply chain reasons, but Steiffgal does not know for certain. Whatever the reason, finding items like Hans with this late prewar branding is a rare and wonderful experience for sure!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on the company's rarer prewar brass buttons has brought the topic full circle for you.

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.
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