Thursday, September 29, 2022

Breakthrough Bear Surprises At Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's Fall 2022 Event!

Auctions always deliver surprises, and that's one of the reasons many collectors love them! Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's recent Steiff sale, held in the wee hours (at least on the East coast!) of Saturday, September 24th, 2022, produced some really outstanding results - especially on some "under the radar" items. Here are three that bubbled to the top, in the most delightful ways possible.

The first head-spinning highlight from this sale was also the top lot in the entire button-in-ear offering. This was lot #3047, a large, lovely, and important prewar white center seamed bear. It was cataloged in part as, "...bear with seam at the middle of head, with button, block letters, long trailing f button, shoe button eyes, white mohair, bright embroidering at snout, 60 cm, felt paws in very good condition, long snapped off arms, hump, nice bright mohair, voice isn't intact, extremely expressive." 

This bear was estimated a €2,500-€5,000, generated 70 bid, and hammered for a whopping €38,000!

This big beauty was certainly the package when it comes to all the things vintage Steiff enthusiasts adore. His white mohair, black eyes, and center seam facial construction checked all the boxes. He also retained his original Steiff button-in-ear, which only added to his appeal. And then of course was his adorable personality and presentation - classic, timeless, and just plain irresistible. It is interesting to note that this cub hammered almost twice that of a Happy Teddy bear (€20,000) or a fine rod bear (€20,000) also sold through this sale.

This next auction highlight is certain to bring a smile to your face.
Here we have lot #3049, an impish, blonde mohair Steiff Dicky bear. He was cataloged in part as, "...with button, red cloth tag label, No. 5322,2, glass eyes, velvet paws, airbrush is partially a bit subtle visible, 34 cm, long snapped off arms, very expressive, mohair is a bit thin at minimally places, otherwise beautiful." 

Dicky was estimated at €950-€1,900, generated 81 bits, and hammered for €14,500.

Dicky bears are among Steiff's most desirable prewar novelty cubs. Steiffgal suspects, but has no proof, that the pattern may have been named in honor of Richard Steiff. Dicky bears were produced at a challenging socio-economic period in Germany and designed with features which made them faster and more efficient to manufacture than Steiff's standard line Teddy bears. Steiff's marketing materials described them as, "A new, improved, and less expensive Steiff Teddy Bear. Attractive design, newly formed head, strong squeeze growler, soft filling, blond or white mohair with painted pads, movable head and joints, famous workmanship." This fine example had a great attitude, retained its premier and fully legible red ear tag and Steiff button... and clearly radiated an "X" factor which spoke to many bidders!

And three's a charm with lot #3037, a terrific Ted from the mid 1920s to early 1930s timeframe.
He was cataloged as, "...exceptional, pre-war era, with button, block letters, faded, red cloth tag label, glass eyes, bright embroidering at snout, white mohair, exceptional size, 75 cm, clearly damages at the felt paws, long snaped off arms, hump, nice, bright mohair, scattered mohair loss, very expressive." 

Big Ted was estimated at €1,200-€2,400, generated 55 bids, and hammered for €6,700. 

This cute cub is good for a few supersized Teddy hugs! He was the second biggest standard sized prewar Teddy bear produced, with the largest being 115 cm. This example - with his oversized glass pupil eyes, fuzzy muzzle, and toddler-esque proportions - perfectly embodied the playful and upbeat aesthetic of "the red ear tag" era. In retrospect, it should have come as no surprise that he caught the hearts, eyes, and wallets of collectors worldwide. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on these three top auction lots has you going for the gold today.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Check Out All The Doggy Details On This Rare Prewar Steiff Wolfspitz!

What a prize winning beauty!
Steiffgal recently had the pleasure of handling a beautiful prewar pup with the most appealing facial expression and presentation. And she really did come with a blue ribbon - but more about that in a moment! Take a look at this simply lovely sitting sweetie and see what makes her such a top dog in so many ways.

Here we have Steiff's simply wonderful Wolfspitz. She is 22 cm tall, sitting, unjointed, and made from tawny colored mohair. She is solidly stuffed with excelsior. Her face, ears, and legs are made from shorter mohair while her back, tail, back legs, and torso are made from very long matching mohair. She has lifelike brown and black shading on her back and tail. Wolfspitz has three hand embroidered black claws on each paw. Her face comes to life with felt lined ears, brown and black glass pupil eyes, a black embroidered nose and mouth, and brown airbrushed highlights. You can feel her nonworking squeaker in her belly.

This lovely lady was made in 17, 21, 22, and 25 cm from 1934
- 1943 overall. She was also made standing on all fours in 22 and 35 cm from 1934 - 1943 overall, and standing on eccentric wheels in 22 cm from 1934 - 1943. You can see a picture of the Wolfspitz on wheels as pictured in a 1938 company brochure here on the left; she is in the middle row and on the very right hand side of the page. Just click on the image to make it larger. The caption under her reads Wolfspitz, Mohair, 1322 ex, 6.-. The ex refers to her eccentric wheels and the 6.- refers to the price in German marks. Today, 6 marks in 1938 is ROUGHLY the equivalent of $50 in 2022, according to the US Inflation Calculator.   

Besides her striking good looks, this Wolfspitz also is in wonderful condition and retains her long trailing "f" button as well as her all original red ear tag as her IDs.
Her article number is 3322,2. This stands for 3=sitting, 3=mohair, 22=22 cm tall, and ,2=squeaker. According to Pfeiffer's Steiff Sortiment 1892-1943 book, this particular Wolfspitz with this exact numbering only appeared in the line from 1934 - 1936.

Now - what's with her blue ribbon?
Wolfspitz retains her all original red leather collar. She also has a light blue ribbon tied to a metal ring which is part of her collar. When Steiffgal first saw this, she thought maybe a previous owner had put that onto her as a decoration. It turns out that all the Wolfspitz dogs pictured in Pfeiffer's Sortiment also are decorated with a blue ribbon. You can spot the blue ribbon on the photo from that book her on the left. As all collectors can attest, it’s very exciting to find an "almost" antique item which retains this sort of factory original accessory!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this stunning Steiff Wolfspitz has added a beautiful spot to your day.

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

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Fantastic Steiff "Firsts" On Offer Through Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's September 24th, 2022 Event!

Love at first sight! That's the best way to describe some of the temptations coming up for sale at Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's Fall event. This can't miss auction features 107 delightful vintage to antique Steiff selections and will be held on Saturday, September 24th, 2022. Here are three wah-hoo good treasures from this auction that Steiffgal has never seen come up for sale before. Enjoy this "one-derful" eye candy!

Bird's the word when it comes to this first auction debut item highlight. It is lot #3097, a most unusual woolen miniature bird display, estimated at 220-440 euros. It is cataloged in part as:

"Cheerubirds, rare bird tree, 4 x paradise birds, 100 % wool, with rare original breast sign, Blue Bird No. 1509,2, St. Patrick Bird No. 1509,3, Birthday Bird No. 1509,1, St. Valentine Bird, No. 1509,4, 22 cm, probably special design for the American market, extremely rare, unusual."

Who wouldn't love to feather their nest with this fantastic display? According to the Sortiment, this item appeared in the line from 1953-1956 with its own article number of 5204 Ch. Its overall design gives off a great midcentury vibe. But what makes this rarity so special - in addition to its amazing condition - is that each of the birds not only has a chest tag, but a very custom one. Steiffgal cannot think of any other woolen minis that have chest tags, probably due to their construction and size. The birds featured on this display are otherwise standard line "woolen exotic birds" which appeared in the line from 1953-1966; the earliest ones had red metal feet and legs and those from 1956 onward had plastic feet and legs. 

Now let's take a tumble for this next auction debut highlight. This is lot #3073, a felt, fully jointed circus performer doll, estimated at 280-560 euro. It is cataloged in part as:

"Acrobat, produced between 1911-1918, felt, jointed, from the circus series, with button, block letters, long trailing f, blue glass eyes original clothes, 40 cm, felt is a bit darken, small felt faults at 1 hand, and at stomach and at 1 shoulder, otherwise nice condition, exceptional, rare."

This fine, flexible fellow is a wonderful and seldom seen acrobat doll from Steiff's legacy "Schlopsnies Circus" display. This large scale, dynamic, and extremely popular exhibit was designed and created by Steiff doll freelancer Albert Schlopsnies in the c. 1910-1920 time frame. It consisted of over 30 circus themed dolls and acrobats, based on real life performers at the world famous Circus Sarrasani of Dresden, Germany. The acrobat dolls were often posed in death-defying or upside down poses in the displays. Sometimes they were even animated via camouflaged mechanisms. Steiffgal has seen or handled several of this acrobat's colleagues, including clowns, stagehands, and other performers, but she has never seen or handled this acrobat before. 

And last but hardly least, this final debut auction highlight just begs for attention. Here we have lot #3069, a charming prewar canine themed display, estimated at 280-560 euro. It is cataloged in part as:

"Exceptional show piece, Waldi, on a mohair plate, plate partially with a bit mohair loss, height: 30, width: 30 cm, depth: 22 cm, attending, with huntsman's hat, with button, chest label and a  very beautiful preserved red cloth tag label, with No. 4328,2, probably 1930, nice full mohair, breast sign is a bit faded, with small Treff, sitting, 14 cm, swivel head, exceptional, extremely rare."

This probably one of a kind treasure stands and delivers. It features one of Steiff's most beloved and prolific dog designs, Waldi the Dachshund. Waldi is most often on all fours. However, from 1933-1936, he was produced in a begging position in 17, 22, and 28 cm. His red ear tag numbers perfectly corresponds to that, with 4= begging or standing on back legs, 3= mohair, 28=28 cm tall, and ,2=with a voice. So the dog in itself is a total rarity! The fact that he is mounted on a factory original green mohair mat (probably to resemble grass), wears a  typical German style hat, and is accompanied by a perfectly paired and period Treff friend, make him over the top interesting. 

How this rare pair came to be remains a mystery, though. This charming display could have been produced as part of a larger exhibit, assembled by employees and presented to their friend or colleague as a special tribute gift, or perhaps made as a whimsy, end of day, or prototype that never went into production. Only Waldi and Treff know for sure!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on these debut Steiff auction treasures has been like an opening night celebration for you. 

For more information about Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion upcoming Steiff event on September 24th, please click here!

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

Saturday, September 3, 2022

It's A Teddy Bear Affair At Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's September 24th, 2022 Steiff Sale!

Is it time to add something really special to your Steiff collection? Of course it is! Then check out the vintage to antique button-in-ear temptations on offer at Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion's upcoming Fall Auction. Over 100 carefully curated Steiff treasures go under the hammer on Saturday, September 24th, 2022. The sale offers some breathtaking examples, including several outstanding prewar bears that caught Steiffgal's eye for their rarity and condition. Check out this terrific trio and just try and resist their charms - and backstories!

This first bear highlight can't help but put you in a jolly mood. This is lot #3040, a lovely and distinctly childlike example of Steiff's Happy bear. He has a starting bid of 1,800 euro. This cub is cataloged in part as, "Happy, one of the highlights of the auction, with button, block letters, long trailing f, big glass eyes, pointed mohair, long snapped off arms, clearly hump, 51 cm, here and there places with mohair loss, very expressive, produced 1926-27, small holes at the felt paws, but otherwise beautiful." 

Happy dates from a joyful time in the company's product development history - the mid to late 1920s. It was during this era that several of Steiff's beloved named, novelty bears were introduced. These included Teddy Rose, Teddy Clown, Petsy, Teddy Baby, and of course, Happy! Happy was produced for a short time - from 1926-1927 only - in relatively low numbers. As such, examples are very few and far between on the secondary market. That is one of the reasons that this fine Ted - in an important size and in sweet condition - should catch the eyes of enthusiasts worldwide. FYI: the most famous version of Happy was purchased by an agent for the Volpp family at Sotheby’s in London in 1989 for £50,000 to celebrate a wedding anniversary; the underbidder was the British Royal Family!

It's no joke that original prewar Teddy Clown bears top the wish lists of many vintage Steiff collectors. And this next highlight is really dreamy in many ways. Here we have lot #3050 - a charming and petite brown tipped Steiff Teddy Clown - with an opening bid is 1,300 euro. He is cataloged in part as, "Clown bear, with button, block letters, long trailing f, produced 1926-27, 25 cm, pointed mohair, at 1 felt paw a hole, mohair is except of 1 place at the right shoulder in good condition, very expressive, original hat and ruff, 25 cm." 

This bear's factory original accessories make him one well attired Ted. But, one question that Steiffgal often hears is, "How do you know the hat and ruff on a Teddy clown are original to it?" Here are a few guidelines. First, make sure that the hat and the ruff have equal wear, loss, dust, or other condition issues to each other, and also to the bear. Technically, the bear, hat, and ruff should be the same age. As such, they should all have had the identical display, play, or storage history. If things don't align in terms of wear or loss, it is possible that the accessories are replaced. Steiffgal has also noticed that original Teddy Clown felt hats are stuffed with excelsior and have a cardboard disk at their base. This is to  hold their shape and to secure them in place. Check for these details. And finally, it has been her observation that for the most part, the color of the pom poms on the hat should match the ruff or its trim. If these are not in the same color family, it is possible that some or all of the accessories are not original to the bear.

And finally, this third terrific Ted is one heavy metal favorite.
Here we have lot #3055, a fantastic and very early Steiff rod jointed bear. 
 His bidding starts at 3,500 euro. He is cataloged in part as, "One of the highlights of our auction, with elephant button, shoe button eyes, original sealing wax nose, peach-colored mohair, 5 claws, produced 1904, retouched felt paws at the feet, clearly distinct hump, long snapped off arms, otherwise mohair in very nice condition, extremely expressive, extremely rare in this color."

There's nothing not to love about this extraordinary bear. His color is off the charts great; his deep apricot mohair looks lush and still radiant after all these years. He retains his elephant button  - as if there were any doubts on his origins or brand! His gutta percha nose is like a tiny work of art with its one of a kind shape and traces of his maker's fingerprints. And his excelsior stuffed body has aged so well. Such tight and heavy filling was necessary to hold his heavy, large metal jointing solidly in place in his torso. Hubba, hubba, hubba!

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on these museum-quality Steiff cubs has given you the warm and fuzzies!

For more information about Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion upcoming Steiff event on September 24th, please click here!

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

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