If you had a day to do anything you wanted, what would it be? For Steiffgal, it would most definitely be hunting for antiques on a “Steiff safari.” She and Steiffguy just got back from one of the best antique shows around New England, the Greater Boston Antiques Festival. This show is held every October and January at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, Massachusetts. Take a look at a few of the wonderful things they spotted on their adventure!
It’s no stretch to say that this little velvet giraffe has a leg up on cuteness! Giraffe is 17 cm, unjointed, and made from beautifully stenciled light tan velvet. He has tiny black eyes, felt ears, and a back mane made from shortly cropped tan colored mohair. He only appeared in the Steiff catalog from 1951 through 1952.
Hare, hare, take a look at this familiar fellow – in a most unfamiliar size! This big bunny is Manni Hase or Manni Rabbit. He is a whopping 55 cm! Manni is sitting up (a position Steiff calls “begging”), made from tan and white mohair, and is head jointed. He has an open felt lined mouth and absolutely enormous brown and black pupil eyes. Manni appeared in the Steiff catalog from 1961 through 1976 in 10, 20, 30, 40, and 55 cm.
The next few finds proved the show was literally raining (Steiff) cats and dogs!
It was the cat’s meow to spot this large Susi Katze or Susi Cat in a booth full of wonderful vintage playthings. Susi is head jointed and sitting. She is made from tan mohair which has been airbrushed with black stripes. Susi has a dear pink embroidered nose and huge green and black pupil eyes. Susi appeared in the Steiff catalog from 1949 through 1978 in 10, 12, 14, 17, and 22 cm.
If all this excitement has tuckered you out a bit…perhaps it’s time for a little catnap. These show attendees certainly think so! In the forefront of the picture, check out these twin Floppy Katze or Floppy Cats. These 17 cm snoozing sweeties are made from white mohair that has been carefully hand airbrushed with black stripes. They are unjointed and extremely soft and floppy. They have stitched closed “sleeping” eyes. Floppy cat appeared in the Steiff catalog from 1970 through 1977 in 17 and 28 cm.
In the center of the picture are two white and brown Cockie Cocker Spaniels. These precious pups are sitting and head jointed with open, pink velvet lined mouths. They have very gentle faces with pert brown and black pupil eyes. This Cockie was in the Steiff line from 1951 through 1959 in 10, 14, 17, 22, 25, 28, and 30 cm.
And finally, to the far right, is terrific Tessie Schnauzer. Tessie is standing, head jointed, and made from light grey mohair. She wore a red leather collar when she was new. One of the most “recognizable” features about this Tessie design is her tiny circular red felt tongue, which you can see if you look closely at the photo right below her little black stitched nose.
Speaking of darling doggies, here we have a Steiff Studio pug which the Steiff superteam spotted in a booth full of canine related antiques. He is 50 cm, fully jointed, made from tan and black mohair, and has a self activating growler in his belly. Please note his sterling silver water bowl (engraved with his initials) near his head. (Just kidding! He is a real pug, but Steiffgal couldn’t resist sharing the “lord of the show” with you!)
Ok, if that didn’t scare you off, perhaps the last of our finds – these feisty felines – will! Here we have two Schwarzer Kater or Black Tom Cats. These are also known as “Steiff Scary Cats” and are often associated with Halloween. These Tom Cats were produced from 1950 through 1976 in 8, 10, 14, 17, and 22 cm. The 8 and 10 cm “kittens” were made from black velvet while the larger “cats” were made from black mohair. All sizes were standing with arched backs and tails reaching to the sky. Their faces were detailed with pink stitched noses, clear monofilament whiskers, and intense green and black pupil eyes. The “forefather” of Tom Cat was introduced in 1903 and was in the Steiff catalog through 1919. In the second of his nine lives, he then reappeared in a more updated design in the line from 1933 through 1943.
Most interestingly, the original black Tom Cat design was featured in a photograph from the 1903 – 1904 Steiff catalog. But what’s so special about that? It’s the same picture that debuted PB55… the world’s first jointed Teddy bear. Timing is everything, eh? A snapshot of this catalog page is shown here on the left; you can spot Tom Cat a little to the right of center standing on top of a donkey on wheels. This picture is from the Cieslik’s fantastic Button in Ear The History of the Teddy Bear and His Friends reference, published in 1989.
Steiffgal hopes you like this Steiff safari as much as she and Steiffguy enjoyed the real adventure that produced it! And remember, take your camera (or your camera enabled cellphone) when out and about looking for treasures… it costs nothing to create and share a “virtual” collection of terrific Steiff finds!
Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures, discovered on an antiquing adventure or otherwise? Let’s talk! Click here to learn more.