Sunday, April 21, 2024

Jumping For Joy Over This Tiny Steiff Prewar Mystery Rabbit

It's off to the races with this next Steiff mystery. Size defies when it comes to this bitty hare on the go. Her proportions, IDs, and detailing date her to the Roaring Twenties - but who exactly is she? Let's go down the research rabbit hole and see what we can infer about her origins. 

Steiffgal is jumping for joy over this teeny tiny running rascal.
Baby bunny is on all fours and about to spring into action. She measures about 8 cm tall and 10 cm wide. She is unjointed and made from mohair that has faded over time to appear brown with silver tipping. Rabbit has a simple pink hand-embroidered mouth and nose, brown and black glass pupil eyes, and a few remaining clear monofilament whiskers. She also has "rough" stitching on the edge of her ears. You occasionally see that on some mid-1920s era items, including early Molly dogs. Running rabbit retains her long trailing "f" button and traces of her red ear tag as her Steiff IDs. 

As far as Steiffgal can tell, this item does not appear in the Sortiment as a regular line item.
After a little digging, she suspects that it was made especially to be one of the passengers on the company's mid to late 1920s-era pull toy novelties. Specifically, given the rabbit's size, color, era, and presentation, it is possible that she was produced to ride on the company's Galop-Fux novelty. This is pictured here on the left; this wheeled wonder was in production from 1926-1929. This image is from Pfeiffer's 1892-1943 Sortiment.

Galop-Fux consisted of a little grey running rabbit and a red brown fox that were mounted upon an elaborate metal wire chassis. Their cart had four red wooden wheels. When pulled along, passengers on a Galop toy shuffled back and forth in opposite tandem; the rotation of the front wheels was responsible for one animal's movement, while the rotation of the back wheels was responsible for the other one's movement. The running rabbit form would be perfect for this sort of effect. 

Galop style toys appeared in the Steiff product line from 1926-1929 overall.
In addition to this fox and rabbit model, Steiff also made Galop toys with a Molly and black cat; two bears; an elephant and a lion; Barney Google and a bear cub; Barney Google and Sparkplug; and two goats.

It is interesting to note that there is precedence for Steiff making unique items for their 1920s-era pull toy novelties. Like this rabbit, these rarities did not appear in any other sizes or as stand-alones in the line at all. For example, the Galop featuring a Molly and black cat version included a c. 10 cm tall standing and unjointed black Tom cat. He is fabulous for sure - but does not make an appearance anywhere else in the catalog ever, as far as Steiffgal can tell.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this mystery rabbit has improved your day by leaps and bounds. 

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