How fun is this!? Like Christmas in July… oops, I mean August… we have received a marvelous gift of additional photos concerning the upcoming Steiff auction in in October from our friends at Christie’s! Steiffgal sends a big shout out to “Super Santa” Leonie Ashfield in the London press office for sharing these wonderful Steiff treasures. So, without further hesitation, let’s unwrap this fantastic four-some and take a look at the legacy and history behind each one.
This first item has Steiffgal all a-buzz, and for good reason! According to Christie’s, this is… “‘Trokky’, an extremely rare large Steiff blue mohair Dutch bee with rubber head, made as a promotional item for Paul Bendix a cotton towel manufacturer, circa 1953 Estimate: £3,000-5,000.”
Trokky is standing and is dressed to the nines in authentic wooden clogs, felt gloves, and a linen collar and hood. According to Gunther Pfeiffer’s Steiff Sortiment 1947 – 2003 reference book, Trokky was produced in 12 and 20 cm.
It is interesting to chart the time line of Bendix relative to the production of this item. The Bendix company was founded in 1824 by Moses Bendix. By 1923, the company had grown to employ over 1,100 people who primarily worked the company’s 1,000 weaving machines. Although the company had its ups and downs over the next few decades due to economic and political pressures, by the early to mid-1950’s, the company was again doing quite well and employing over 1,200 workers. It is about this time that Bendix contracted with Steiff to produce their Trokky logo as a promotional item! Unfortunately, Bendix closed its doors for good on June 30, 1993.
Rolling right along, take a look at this bouncing bundle of joy… literally! According to Christie’s, this is… “A rare Steiff Roly-Poly Teddy Baby, circa 1937 Estimate: £3,000-5,000.” Teddy is made from mohair, has an open felt lined mouth, his original ribbon and bell, and glass pupil eyes. According to Gunther Pfeiffer’s Steiff Sortiment 1947 – 2003 reference book, this mover and shaker was produced in 20 cm.
Steiff introduced the Teddy Baby design in 1929 and produced the pattern in 9, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22, 25, 30, 35, 38, 40, 45, and 65 cm at various times through 1943. The design proved to be quite popular, and as a result Steiff used the basic Teddy Baby pattern on several additional products. These included a puppet, doll-bear, night dress bag, and this delightful roly-poly toy. In addition to this Teddy Baby roly-poly, Steiff also launched a mohair roly-poly rabbit and a felt roly-poly clown in 1937. Steiff debuted roly-polys in 1909, possibly as the next generation of their original Tumbler style toys.
Like this lucky lion, Steiffgal is on pins and needles to tell you about this next Steiff highlight. According to Christie’s, this is… “A very rare lion lying on a pincushion, circa 1906 Estimate: £3,000-5,000.” The lion is made from beige colored velvet and has a mohair mane and tail-tip. He has black eyes, whiskers, and a hand painted mouth, nose, and jowls. He rests on a green velvet pincushion which is detailed with green cording. According to Gunther Pfeiffer’s Steiff Sortiment 1947 – 2003 reference book, this king of the jungle was produced in 10 and 14 cm.
It is interesting to note, like several of the smaller, more “elegant” Steiff items at the turn of last century, this lion was available with or without a velvet pillow pincushion. Other upscale animals with this option included a camel, a deer, a cat, and a Pomeranian.
It would not be hard to argue that this final item (purple) reigns supreme! This one of a kind Steiff fox is truly in a class by himself. According to Christie’s this is… “A very rare and possibly unique Steiff display seated fox in purple-tipped mohair driving coat with gloves, 1920s Estimate: £7,000-10,000.”
There is so much to admire about this incredible piece. First of all, despite being almost 90 years old, he looks as if he were made yesterday! Check out his handsome mohair face, with its brown and black pupil eyes, hand stitched nose and mouth, and lifelike coloration around his cheeks and ear tips. His coat – which looks like it would be suited for a North Pole visit with Santa – is lovingly constructed from purple tipped mohair and closes with brown semi-spherical buttons. His mittens are made from matching brown tipped mohair. His legs are wrapped in what appears to be felt leggings; his mohair feet are detailed with black claw stitching.
It is interesting to note that this piece did come to the attention of the Steiff product development team several years back when he was considered as a possible candidate as a replica for the worldwide limited edition line. However, at the time, he was thought to be a bit complicated for replication and production on a larger scale; thus, the project did not take place. However, it is great to see this old friend again nonetheless…
And will we be seeing YOU at the Christie’s Steiff Auction in London on October 13th? Steiffgal certainly hopes so!
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