Saturday, May 11, 2024

Wool You Be My Baby?

It may sound corny, but this small scaled maize wool plush Teddy baby bear has captured Steiffgal's heart in a really big way! This happy handful has seen a lot in his nearly century of life, based on his loved condition. But the world hasn't seen a lot of him - or his pattern - based on his absolute rarity and short stint in Steiff's product catalog. Take a look at this beautiful baby and see what makes him so special from the design and promotional perspectives.

Teddy baby is 15 cm tall, fully jointed, and made from fuzzy maize colored wool plush.
His feet are made from slightly shorter wool plush. He has felt pads and four black claws on each paw. He has a side squeaker in his torso. Typical to his legacy namesake pattern, he has flat feet designed for standing, downturned arms, and a distinctly toddler-esque appearance and proportions. Although most Teddy baby bears are open mouthed, this particular model was produced with a closed mouth in all sizes. As such, his pensive face comes to life with proportional glass pupil eyes, a shorter wool plush inset muzzle, and a probably restitched black floss nose and mouth. He retains his long "trailing f" button as his Steiff ID.

Wool plush, closed mouth Teddy baby was produced in 12, 15, 20, 22, 28, and 35 cm (measured sitting) from 1929-1932 overall.
This pattern is one of the rarer prewar Teddy baby varieties. This is the first of his kind Steiffgal has ever seen or handled. The vast majority of prewar Teddy baby bears were produced in brown, blonde, or white mohair with smiling, velvet or felt lined open mouths.

Despite his relative rarity, this wool plush Teddy baby was featured in its own Steiff print advertisement.
This was produced and distributed in 1929, the year this Teddy baby was introduced. The main copy on the advertisement translates basically as: "The cute, fluffy bear child with the new expressive face, the loyal look and the cuddly paws, a great performance, fully mobile, and well-positioned." According to the print advertisement, Teddy baby is offered in maize mohair plush or wool plush. Both versions are available in 12, 15, 20, 22, 28, and 35; those at 22 cm and larger came with a growler. You can see this print advertisement here on the left. If you click on it, you can view it in a larger format.

It is also very interesting to note that the two different versions had significantly different prices as noted in Reichsmarks, the German currency of the era. You can see this in the third column of information describing each of the two Teddy baby variations. The wool plush versions generally are around 20% more expensive than the mohair plush versions. Steiffgal suspects that this likely reflected the actual costs of the fabric to make these items as the time and effort to make these two variations had to be almost identical.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this unusual prewar Teddy baby model has helped to rejuvenate your day!

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

The teddy bear search engine