Archive for May, 2010

The mane attraction, Steiff style

May 23rd, 2010 by

Steiffgal’s not lion when she says she’s roaring to answer this reader’s question about a wonderful thrift store find. Liz from Michigan City, Indiana writes:


So glad to have found you! My sister found this Steiff lion at a thrift store and snatched it up it was so cute. We have had Steiff animals for years. We were wondering if you could give us some information and value on him.

He is 10 1/2″ from nose to hind end and 6″ standing.  He has amber glass eyes, and a stitched dark pink nose; all his claw and mouth stitching is in good condition.

His head and his four legs are jointed. He feels like there may have been a speaker box in his torso. He can stand on his own and in very good condition. He has his whiskers and part of a frayed tag, but no ear button.

Sorry the pictures don’t do him justice but that’s what I could get. Thank you very much.



Liz, what you have here is one of the “mane events” in Steiff’s early post war production! This is Loewen-Papa or Papa Lion.  As you mentioned, he is five ways jointed and made from tan mohair.  He has an elaborate brown-tipped mane, which skinnies downward to his belly into a thin strip.  He has this same tipped mohair on the tip of his tail.  His eyes are brown with a black pupil and he has an almost red colored hand embroidered nose which is outlined in black.  His mouth is outlined in black embroidery, and he has a white mohair chin.  And yes, he did come with a squeaker. Papa Lion was produced in 14 and 22 cm from 1949 thorough 1961.

There are a few things about this design that make it very interesting from the collector’s perspective.

First of course is his “US Zone tag” sewn into the seam of his leg. This tag was included on every Steiff item that was produced in the Giengen factory from 1947 through 1953.  Given your lion has this tag, we can pinpoint his production somewhere in the 1949 through 1953 time frame.

The second is his legacy. Papa Lion very closely resembles a Steiff lion that was produced pre-war from 1910 through 1943.  This turn of last century lion was produced in 22 cm, was five ways jointed, and had a very similar face, mane, tail tuft, and body appearance.  It is extremely likely that Papa Lion is the direct descendant of this classic and historic Steiff design.

And finally is his jointing. Besides Teddy bears, five ways jointed Steiff animals are actually quite rare.  It is not unusual for an animal to be head jointed, or even head and arm jointed.  Very few five ways jointed animals are made even today as jointing is a very labor intensive – and therefore costly – endeavor.  It is interesting to note that shortly after Papa Lion was retired from the line, a new standing lion design was introduced in 1964.  He was produced in 10, 17, and 28 cm through 1975.  He had many of the same general characteristics of Papa Lion, minus his jointing.

As for value, as always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and believes something is worth what someone else will pay for it. This is a wonderful item from an aesthetic as well as a collector’s perspective, and its US Zone tag and five ways jointing help make him a kingly find.  Except for missing his button, he appears to be in very good condition.  Assuming that he doesn’t have any smells, rot, rips, or other issues, Steiffgal has seen similar items sell recently in the $75 to $150 range; Steiffgal has a very similar Papa Lion and paid about $125 for it.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion about Liz’s lucky find has encouraged you to add a lion or two to your growing Steiff den.

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

Swann Auction Galleries – American Art/Contemperary Art

May 21st, 2010 by

Auction June 8th  10:30am – 2:30pm

New York

Includes works by: Will Barnet, Andy Warhol, Duane Hanson, Tom Wesselman

Bonhams – The Owston Collection

May 21st, 2010 by

The Owsten Collection

Auction June 25th & 26th

Sydney, Australia

Bohnams – Snuff Bottles Auction

May 20th, 2010 by

Snuff bottles from the Mary and George Bloch Collection, Part I

May 28th, 2010

JW Marriott Hong Kong

Bonhams – Fine Jewelry Auction

May 20th, 2010 by

Auction June 16th, 2010

New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles

Auction Atrium – Fine Jewellery & Watches: Bid Live Now

May 20th, 2010 by

Gallery veiwing at our Kensinton, London showroom

Bidding continues through May 26th

One Man’s Love of Toys Goes Beyond His Day Job – by Reyne Haines

May 20th, 2010 by

Wouldn’t it be great if you were surrounded by toys every day when you arrived at work?  Toys bring out the kid in everyone.   We can walk through an antique shop and see a toy from our childhood and immediately we respond to it.

Donald Kaufman was certainly a kid at heart.  His passion for toys could be seen in his business, K-B Toys.  Not only did Kaufman love new toys, but he had a soft spot for vintage toys as well.  Unfortunately, Kaufman passed away in October 2009.  His personal collection of vintage toys has been consigned to Bertoia Auctions.  There were so many, they have been broken down into 4 sessions.

The first three sales exceeded their pre-sale estimates and achieved a cumulative total of $9.3 million dollars.

How serious are toy collectors?  Well, let’s just say that ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland couldn’t keep collectors from bidding.  It certainly posed a problem for those hoping to attend the sale, but it didn’t snub their excitement about the items up for bid.  Bertoia’s accepts Internet bidding and also accommodated phone bidders.  With that said the 3,700 lot sale brought strong prices and closed with $2.38 million in total sales.

Many of the toys in the sale were produced by Distler, Gunthermann, Eberl and Tippco.  These names might not hit home with you, but their toys certainly should.

Tippco produced the circa 1932 Mickey & Minnie Mouse motorcycle that was the highlight of the sale.  This single toy managed to bring $65,550 (including buyer’s premium).  That’s more than the cost of a new Harley!

Another great Mickey & Minnie Mouse piece in the sale was an organ grinder from 1932 made by Distler.  It was estimated to sell for $10-12,000 but the hammer fell at $19,550.

I’m sure you remember pedal cars right?!  This sale offered a 1924 American National Packard version that sold over the phone $38,000.

If you missed this sale, don’t fret!  There is one more sale from this great collection coming this fall.  Get on the mailing list at Bertoia’s to be notified when the next catalog is available.

Bertoia’s –

On a final note, not only do toys bring out the kid in you, they apparently attract young collectors too.  The youngest collector on the floor was a 14 year old boy, who dug deep in his pockets to purchase one lot from the sale which contained two Hubley toys.   You’re never too young to start collecting!

Neal Auction Company – Two Day Spectacular Estates Auction

May 20th, 2010 by

Neal Auctions Major Estates Auction on May 22nd & 23rd includes over 1100 lots of 18th & 19th century American, French and English antiques, southern paintings, historical material, and decorative arts especially consigned by discerning collectors, estates and institutions.

Phillips de Pury & Company – Design Auction

May 20th, 2010 by


Auction June 9th, 2010  New York

View catalog online now

Case Antiques Auctions & Appraisals – Fine Art & Antique Auction

May 19th, 2010 by

Auction May 22nd, 2010

Features 600 lots of fine art and antiques from fine old Southern estates and private collections.