Getting right to the point with spiky Steiff hedgehogs

April 18th, 2010 by

Steiffgal does not want to hog your valuable time on this lovely spring day, so she’ll keep this post short and sweet (much like the charming item under discussion today!) Let’s get right to the point with this question from a reader who asks about her spiky Steiff hedgehog friend! Eryka writes…

“Hi,

I have a query about a little hedgehog that I got for Christmas from my dad, who knows that I love hedgehogs.

From the tip of his black nose (some sort of plastic ball) to his furry rear end he is about 6 inches. He has two felt front paws, two circular felt ears, and little round black eyes. He has a Steiff button and tag in one of his paws and it says: original Steiff 1670/10 Made in Austria Preis- Price. On the back of the tag it says that he is made from cotton and wool and the number is PA 55 MASS 73. He has airbrushed dark brown lines on his face, and his fur is mainly made up of long, stiff fibers which are light tan at the tips and darker brown near his body. His belly is flat.

What can you tell me about his make and the time period when he was produced? I have attached some photos for you.

Thanks!”

Let’s shine a little light on Eryka’s nocturnal buddy. What you have here is what Steiff calls Joggi Igel or Joggi Hedgehog. He is made from spiky “tipped” (meaning that the fiber ends are dyed a different color than the entire length of the fiber) mohair, in a lying position, and has a flat bottom. His sweet tiny face, ears, paws, and underside are made from grey felt. This particular Joggi was made in 6, 10, and 17 cm from 1966 through 2002. Eryka’s Joggi, number 1670/10, dates him in the 1968 to 1985 production period.

Today, hedgehogs are quite prolific in the Steiff line – but that was not always the case. The first hedgehog, as far as Steiffgal can tell, appeared in the Steiff catalog in 1951. Also named Joggi, this standing hedgehog was 12 cm tall and made from mohair from 1951 through 1977, and then mohair and dralon from 1978 through 1985. In 1961, a very similar 12 cm standing hedgehog design was produced; he was manufactured through 1966. Since the 1960′s, hedgehogs in all shapes, sizes, and materials have made regular appearances in the Steiff catalog, appearing as play toys, collector’s editions, woolen miniatures, puppets, wooden pull toys, a purse, and even a golf club cover! The current Steiff line features a tiny Steiff hedgehog keyring, which has the charming looks of the Eryka’s vintage Joggi.

And just why do hedgehogs seem to all of a sudden to be in the Steiff spotlight in from the early 1950′s onward? Steiffgal has a two word theory on this: Mecki and Micki. This beloved and well known (at least in Europe) hedgehog cartoon couple was first designed in Germany in 1940 by the artist Ferdinand Diehl. They became much more famous in the early 1950′s with their regular appearance on the German TV magazine HORZU. The Diehl Film company from Munich granted Steiff the licensing rights to produce the dolls in 1951, and they have been a mainstay in the line to this day. Both Mecki and Micki have been produced in 17, 28, and 50 cm from 1952 onward; a 100 cm Mecki was produced in 1967, perhaps as a special window display. The spiky tipped mohair that has been used for Mecki and Micki’s hair over the years hasn’t changed, and is almost identical to the spiked mohair used on most other mohair Steiff hedgehogs, even today.

Steiffgal hopes this quick review of the history of Steiff hedgehogs has “tipped” you off to a new area of collecting!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures, nocturnal or otherwise? Let’s talk! Click here to learn more.

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