Sunday, June 19, 2022

This Steiff Special Edition Chin Chin Is A Win-Win!

The Steiff Sommer Festival will be here before you know it!
This annual celebration, held this year from June 24th-26th, 2022, will be the first live gathering of its type on the Steiff factory campus in Giengen since 2019! One of the exciting components of this happening - or at least it was in the past - was an extremely limited edition produced in honor of the event. These editions have taken a number of forms over the years, including a series of colorful Teddy baby bears. After several years of searching, Steiffgal finally got her hands on one of the lesser known event editions - a dog modeled on a prewar era button-in-ear-buddy. This pretty pooch was made during the manufacturing demonstration held at the Steiff Festival of 1998. Come take a look at this bow-wow beauty!

This Chin Chin is a win-win!
She is standing on all fours, head jointed, and measures 17 cm tall and 22 cm wide. Her tail, sideburns, and bib are made out of outrageously long, soft blonde mohair. Her body, forehead, ears, and legs are made from shorter blonde mohair, and her feet are made from very short mohair. Her delightfully detailed face comes to life with oversized brown and black eyes; a dimensional, grey and tan mohair inset muzzle; a black and embroidered nose and mouth; and a spot of airbrushed highlights. She has three hand embroidered claws on each foot. Her special event chest tag reads, "Pekinese Chin Chin 1931 Replica." She also has her special ear tag, indicating she is #149 of 300 produced, and the date of the Steiff event. Her hang tag doubles as her certificate. 

Tag- you're it - when it comes to deciphering this dog's somewhat cryptic design inspiration.
She is documented as a "Pekinese Chin Chin" on her chest tag. Let's dig a little deeper into this name game - as these really are two very different dog breeds! Steiff did produced a Pekingese, as well as a Chin Chin, in their prewar line. The company's Pekingese was made in 10, 14, 17, 22, and 25 cm from 1938 - 1943. You can see an example of this dog here on the left. Their Chin Chin was produced in 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 25, 28, and 35 cm from 1931 - 1939. The designs in many ways were similar - both dog patterns were standing on all fours, head jointed, and featured dramatic tails that curved over their rumps and were stitched in place. However, Peky the Pekingese had short, cropped ears while Chin Chin had long, floppy, triangular shaped ears. So it's not entirely clear why this Festival edition was called both a "Pekinese" and a "Chin Chin"... maybe to appeal to owners of either dog breed?

It is also interesting to note what happened to Steiff's similar Pekingese and Chin Chin patterns over time.
Despite her delightful appeal and personality, a Chin Chin did not appear in the line postwar. Her cousin Peky did, though. The company's Pekingese had a major makeover post war and was reintroduced to the collector's world in 1953. This updated Peky was produced in 8, 10, 14, and 22 cm though 1977. The post-war Peky was standing, made from light brown mohair, had a detailed black muzzle (mostly velvet in the smaller sizes; mohair in the larger ones), and a darling, pouty mouth. This pattern was also produced as an 18 cm hand puppet from 1963 through 1964.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this special event dog has put you in a festive mood indeed.

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