Featured Antiques Don’t Use

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:

“Hi,

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.

Sincerely,


Liz”

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.

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.

Surprise Steiff Finds at Auction

May 14th, 2010 by

It’s always so much fun to hear where Steiff enthusiasts find their next big, well, find! Check out this question from a reader who is wondering if she has scored big with Steiff at a recent local auction. Leslie writes:

“Hello,

I picked up two stuffed animals at an estate sale that were touted as “Steiff” by the auctioneer; but when I purchased them I saw that neither had an authentic tag of any kind, the one simply had a handmade white hang-tag that had ‘Steiff’ written on it.
Here’s the pair: a cute fawn and kitty. I’m thinking the kitty isn’t Steiff but that the fawn might be. I don’t know a lot about Steiff other than the ones I’ve seen in antique stores and the fawn looks more in keeping with the fabric and style that I’ve seen. I did some hunting online and didn’t find any critters that looked like either to use as a reference so I am clueless.

The fawn is 8.5″ high and 8.5″ tall. She appears to be made of velveteen with what I assume is mohair in the ears, under the tail and on the chest and tummy. The eyes are a solid black/dark brown rounded beads with a white leather piece attached behind the bead. The nose and mouth are stitched, though the one side of the mouth stitching is missing on part of it. The feet and ear tips appear to be painted or dyed on the velveteen. Seems to be stuffed with excelsior and have a wire frame as her long legs and neck/body are very sturdy.

The cat is 10″ nose to tail and 3.5″ high. She seems to be made of mohair with a fiber stuffing, possibly excelsior in the legs as they sound a little “crunchy” when I squeeze them. She has stitched slits for eyes in black and an aged light pink stitched nose and mouth. Her eyes appear to look “closed” and she is sleeping face-down.

Any information or advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Either way, they are clearly old and sweet.

Best, Leslie”

Leslie, yes, this sweet set is definitely made by Steiff and congratulations on your great score! They were both produced basically in the same time frame, so Steiffgal wouldn’t be surprised if they were purchased together for a lucky youngster maybe 40+ or so years ago. It is always nice to keep sets like this together, like old friends.

Let’s take a look at each item, and the interesting histories that accompany them.

First of course is the dear deer. But this isn’t just any forest friend, this is Steiff’s Bambi Reh or Bambi deer. She is standing, unjointed, and mostly made from light brown velvet with lighter tan spots on her back. Her chest, tail, and ears are light tan mohair. She has mile-long legs and the most precious face imaginable. Her eyes are huge almond shaped peepers with detailed white and tan painted backings. Bambi was produced from 1951 through 1972 in 14 and 22 cm. She was manufactured under a license from the Walt Disney Company. When Bambi was new, she had a special chest tag noting that partnership arrangement.

It is interesting that the Walt Disney Company released their now famous animated feature, Bambi, in the summer of 1942. This was just a few months before the time that Steiff temporarily stopped producing playthings due to the war, in 1943. Steiff began toy manufacturing again in the late 1940′s. This Steiff Bambi model was one of the very first licensed items in the line post-war, in 1951. And given that it can take months or years to secure a co-branded license, work on bringing a Bambi to the Steiff line probably was one of the earlier Steiff initiatives undertaken once the factory was open for business in 1948 or so.

It appears that the next treasure entered Leslie’s life on little cat’s feet. This cat-napping cutie is Steiff’s Floppy Kitty Cat. Kitty is made from tan mohair which has been hand-airbrushed with black stripes. She is in a flat, lying position. She is unjointed, and very soft – after all, she was designed as a sleeping companion for children (or people who used to be children!) Kitty has closed black embroidered eyes and a pink embroidered nose and mouth. She left the factory in Giengen with a bright red bow around her neck. Kitty was made from 1953 through 1969 in 17 and 28 cm.

Kitty is one of Steiff’s beloved “sleeping” style animals. Steiff produced a great number of these precious animals during the 1950’s through the 1970’s. These included a Zotty Teddy and panda bear, fox, Cocker Spaniel, Siamese cat, tabby cat, seal, and elephant, among others. They were all prone in position and referred to as “floppy” or “cosy” animals. Most were made in two standard sizes, 17 and 28 cm; all were stuffed with soft foam. Each animal had one of a number of “sleeping eyes” designs. All of these bedtime companions were simplified versions of well-known Steiff animal designs. Most, if they had legs, had them splayed out from their torsos like a “V”. The picture above on the left shows Steiff’s sleeping tiger and baby lion, other well known floppy “cats” from the same time frame as Leslie’s Kitty.

Steiffgal hopes that all readers, like Leslie, run across Steiff treasures with great legacies in the most expected – and unexpected – places!

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

Rare Buffalo nickels and Lincoln cents lead Heritage Long Beach Event

May 14th, 2010 by

June 3-6 Auction offering examples from The Brenda John Collection, including 1916 Double Die Obverse Nickel MS64

DALLAS, TX — A dazzling array of Buffalo nickels and Lincoln cents from The Brenda John Collection anchor the upcoming Heritage Auction Galleries U.S. Coin Auction, with floor sessions held June 3 – 4 in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin Expo in Long Beach, CA.

“Where do you start with a collection like this?” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auction Galleries. “Incredible rarities in incredible grades… no Buffalo nickel or Lincoln cent collector will want to miss this auction.”

Many famous varieties are represented in The Brenda John Collection. Among the Buffalo nickels is the dramatic 1916 Doubled Die Obverse graded an astounding MS64 by NGC.

“The 1916 Doubled Die Obverse has the date boldly doubled, so much so that many early descriptions called it the 1916/1916,” said Rohan, “but the variety was not discovered until well after its release, and the survival of Mint State coins is a matter of chance. This MS64 example is one of the ‘best of the best.’”

Similarly important is a 1918/7-D nickel graded MS65 by NGC. Gem examples of this bold and popular overdate are extremely rare, and there are none in higher grades.

Among the very popular Lincoln cents is an off-metal error, a 1944-D cent struck on a steel planchet from 1943 graded AU55 by NGC, with another rare and impressive selection being a 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse cent graded MS64 Red and Brown by PCGS.

Important condition rarities in the collection include a 1909 VDB cent graded PR65 Red by PCGS, a 1917-S nickel graded MS67 by NGC, the sole finest coin known to NGC or PCGS, and Lot 420, a 1926-S nickel graded an astounding MS66 {star} by NGC.

Silver and gold collectors will find plenty of desirable coins to bid on as well. High on the list is a trio of Morgan dollars that traveled as part of the legendary PCGS Tour: an 1891-O dollar graded MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike by PCGS with CAC attestation, an 1892-O dollar graded MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike by PCGS, and an 1894 dollar graded MS65 by PCGS with CAC attestation.

“The PCGS Tour brought together some of the most amazing Morgan dollars known at the time,” said Rohan. “While nearly two decades have passed since then, some of these Morgan dollars remain the best of their kind. The New Orleans Morgan dollars, in particular, are nearly unknown in Deep Mirror Prooflike.”

Collectors of earlier U.S. silver are sure to be delighted a legendary Judd-7 1792 half disme graded Good 6 by PCGS.

“The 1792 half dismes appear on the borderlands between patterns and money,” said Rohan. “They were struck late in the year, after the Mint Act was passed but before the Philadelphia Mint building was in operation. While they have been collected as patterns in the past, the wear on many pieces like this lot would indicate that they served as money.”

Among the gold coin highlights a 1908 Indian quarter eagle graded MS67 by PCGS. It is one of just two 1908 Indian quarter eagles so graded by PCGS, and one of just four MS67 coins certified by that firm in the entire series.

Proof gold of the 19th century is also well-represented by an 1859 three dollar gold piece graded PR65 Ultra Cameo by NGC, an important early issue that is rarely found with Ultra Cameo surfaces. Also in the auction are a pair of pieces pedigreed to the famous Amon Carter Collection: an 1894 half eagle graded PR66 Cameo by NGC, and an 1883 eagle graded PR65 Ultra Cameo by NGC.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

Want to get the up-to-the-minute updates and breaking news stories about Heritage Auctions? Get them as they happen at: Twitter.com/HeritagePress; Twitter.com/JimHalperin; Facebook: Heritage Auction Galleries. To view a compete archive of Heritage press releases go to: HA.com/PR. To link to this press release on your blog or Website: HA.com/PR-1835.

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media contact
Noah Fleisher, Public Relations Director
310-492-8613; NoahF@HA.com

I.M. Chait presents Natural History on Artfact Live!

May 11th, 2010 by

(Boston MA) Artfact Live! is pleased to announce the I.M. Chait Natural History Auction on May 16, 2010 is available for online bidding exclusively through Artfact Live! The auction offers over 350 lots including: gems, meteorite jewelry, zoology, fossils, natural gold nuggets, ancient Egyptian dynastic artifacts and more. If you can’t join the live auction action in Beverly Hills, CA, visit Artfact.com, or its sister site in the UK, Invaluable.com, to login or register free to bid live online at this exceptional auction. If you’re not ready to bid, simply watch the activity live from the auction floor using the Artfact Live! console. You can view the complete catalog on Artfact

Highlights of the sale include:
Lot 357 is the day’s spectacular top lot, a complete “duck-billed” Hadrosaurid dinosaur skeleton. This is one of the most complete specimens of the species Maiasaura peeblesorum ever to be offered to the public. The Maiasaur was one of the numerous “duck-billed” dinosaurs that roamed the plains of Asia, Europe and North America in massive herds during the Upper Cretaceous period 99-65 million years ago. The present example is a sub-adult, named “Cory,” and cuts a strikingly impressive figure, at over 15 feet long and with a superb woody patina to the bones. Mounted on a wheeled metal base in a highly life-like pose, this rare and unusually complete specimen has been prepared to the highest of standards. Bidding for this world-class specimen will begin at $250,000.

Lot 90 is a large gold nugget from Paraburdoo, north Western Australia. This gorgeous nugget has it all: huge size, bright color, lovely smooth burnished surfaces, deep depressions and caves, the protected areas display a delicate-looking brittle texture like crushed gold leaf. Of a fascinating folded, twisted form, it is attractive and evocative from any aspect, 4 5/8 x 3 1/4 x 2 inches, 5,965 Ct. (42.08oz). Bidding will open at $35,000.

Lot 356 is a large and rare partial pterodactyl skeleton. Pterodactyls, properly described as “pterosaurs”, flourished during the late Cretaceous Period of North America, and represent the first vertebrates to make the transformation to flight. With hollow bones and delicately lightweight construction, their preservation in the fossil record is scarce. This Pteranodon longiceps specimen was discovered in Custer Co., South Dakota. The skeleton comprises skull, rib and arm sections and three fingers with their distinctive curving claws. Lovely bone texture throughout is enhanced by a fine aged patina that stands out strongly from the dark gray matrix, presented on a pale gray plaster backing, approximately 96 x 64 inches. Minimum bid for this piece is set at $25,000.

Lot 343 is an exceptional gemstone ammonite. Gemstone ammolite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world, formed from the nacreous shell linings of Cretaceous ammonites in only one small area of North America. It is prized for its fantastic display of shimmering colors, created by impurities in the incredibly thin layers of aragonite. This specimen has a full covering of multi-colored iridescence on both sides, it also displays unusually large areas of the much rarer purple and electric blue colors. A superb specimen, it measures 20 1/4 inches wide. Bidding will begin at $20,000.

To research natural history items and view over 50 million auction price results visit artfact.com and search the industry’s leading auction database. Typing “dinosaur” into Advance search displays over 3,000 past auction price results.

Since the departure of eBay Live Auctions, Artfact Live! has taken the lead in the live auction arena by partnering exclusively with the world’s most prestigious auction houses to host their online auctions. As it continues to build the world’s most affluent and knowledgeable bidding community, Artfact offers free registration, offering unlimited access to Artfact Live! partner auctions and free searching of the past 12 months of price results in its auction records database. Artfact’s Advanced Search allows users to narrow searches by entering keywords, price range, auction date range, or auction house name.

About Artfact
Founded in 1989, Artfact is the largest global marketplace of fine and decorative arts, antiques, collectibles, and estate auctions. On January 1, 2009, Artfact launched Artfact Live! and Invaluable Live!, its proprietary live auction bidding platforms, enabling users to bid in real-time on auctions being held around the world by its prestigious auction house partners. Currently, over 1,000 fine auctioneers actively list their catalogues with Artfact.com and its U.K. sister site Invaluable.com, reaching the Artfact community of more than 10 million knowledgeable collectors and dealers worldwide. Artfact’s industry leading database includes more than 57 million complete auction results totaling more than $204 billion in value, including information on more than 500,000 international artists. In 2006, Artfact acquired RFC Systems, the leading provider of enterprise software developed specifically for the fine art and antique auction house industry. RFC helps prestigious aucti!
on houses around the world manage their businesses by automating their day-to-day operations.

Editor’s Notes
- Additional background information available.
- Interviews with Doug Ellinger, VP Marketing, dellinger@artfact.com, (617) 746-9882
- Complimentary media subscriptions to the Artfact database available.

Reyne Gauge: Think You Know Shoes? By Reyne Haines

May 3rd, 2010 by

Imelda Marcos showed women around the world what it meant to have a shoe fetish.  At one point, Marcos had acquired 3,000 pair of shoes.   Some of her impressive collection is now housed in a museum in the Phillippines.   The collection included shoes from luxury houses such as Charles Jourdan, Gucci and Ferragamo.

I remember parading around the house in my mother’s high heel shoes as a little girl, dreaming of the day they would be mine.   I wasn’t allowed to wear heels until high school, but as soon as that day came, I was hooked.

The other day I received a copy of the new book:  “Shoes”.  My friend and colleague, Caroline Ashleigh penned the book, and I had been counting down the days until my copy would arrive.  She was cruel, err I mean kind enough to show me the cover of the book early on.   Those boots screamed “Take Me Home” as I love boots and I had a small collection of checkered “Vans” when I was in high school.   If the cover was any indication of what eye candy would be inside, I was in trouble…BIG trouble.

Sure enough, the book arrived and I’ve been drooling ever since.  Who needs words when you have great photos? I’m sure there is great information touted in the book, but I won’t lie like a man reading a Playboy and claim “I get it for the articles”.  I’m here for the shoe party!

This book has 512 pages filled with full color images of some of the finest shoes known to women.  Men, hide your wallets.  If your significant other gets a copy of this book – you are doomed. You will not only need a second, but a third job just to afford her.

Apparently, I’m not the only girl who has a thing or two to say about her love of shoes.  This book is filled with quotes by celebrities, personalities, and shoe designers such as Jessica Simpson,  Nina Van Horn, Manolo Blahnik, Giuseppe Zanotti, Rachel Zoe… I could go on.  Had she asked for a quote from me, I could sum things up in one word “YUM”.

Whether you love shoes made yesterday, 25 years ago or 100 years ago, you’ll love this book!

http://www.amazon.com/Warmans-Shoes-Field-Caroline-Ashleigh/dp/1440208980/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272738797&sr=1-1

Frazetta’s Warrior With Ball and Chain, one of Fantasy’s greatest images, readies for auction in Beverly Hills

April 27th, 2010 by

Iconic masterwork from Flashing Swords #1, by Frank Frazetta, expected to bring $200,000+ on May 6 at Heritage Auctions Beverly Hills

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – One of, if not the most famous image in all of Fantasy Art – Frank Frazetta’s instantly-recognizable 1973 classic Warrior with Ball and Chain, Flashing Swords #1, paperback cover – will be offered at Heritage Auctions Beverly Hills, on May 6, as part of The Frank Collection of Sci-Fi Art, a sub-offering within the company’s Pin-Up & Glamour Illustration Art Auction.

“This is easily one of the top Frazetta paintings in private hands,” said Ed Jaster, Vice President of Heritage Auctions, “and it’s also one of the largest Frazetta covers ever painted, at nearly two feet square.”

Frank Frazetta holding a copy of the auction catalog. Photo by Rob Pistella.

This stirring, savage and superb Frazetta masterwork first appeared on the cover of the sword and sorcery anthology Flashing Swords #1, edited by Lin Carter, published by Dell Books in 1973. It has since been reproduced many times in many forms, including on page 93 of Frank Frazetta: Book Three, Bantam Books, 1977, and page 185 of Legacy: Selected Paintings and Drawings of Frank Frazetta, edited by Arnie and Cathy Fenner, Underwood Books, 1999. Fans of the Dungeons & Dragons books will recognize it from its most recent use as the cover of the 2005 Wilderlands of High Fantasy paperback, White Wolf Publishing.

“That’s one of my better paintings,” Frazetta said, when asked about the piece’s upcoming auction. “I certainly had a lot of fun with that one.”
There are many aficionados who feel this piece may have been originally created for the Lancer Conan series of the late 1960s – given its similarity to two other Lancer Conan cover paintings – but never used there.

“What we have is an incredible peak period, published cover painting featuring the ultimate subject matter by the master,” said Jaster. “What more can really be said about it? For Sci-Fi fans, it can’t get a whole lot better.”

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

Michigan Modernism Exposition

April 12th, 2010 by

It’s preview party time for the Detroit Area Art Deco Society as the mid-century enthusiasts open up the Michigan Modernism Exposition on April 23, 7 – 10 p.m. The annual art deco affair allows guests first dibs on some of the best 20th century antiques and fine arts from the international market while enjoying live music by Sarah Grogan and the SG Ensemble. This year Macy’s Lakeshore Grill will be presenting a delicious variety of passed hors d’oeuvres along with select wines.

For the second year, the show features a special exhibition featuring student photography of some of the most famous Art Deco structures in Metropolitan Detroit. The exhibition, which is a collaborative effort with Oakland Community College, was coordinated by DAADS Board Members Gary Spondike and historic preservation consultant Rebecca Binno Savage.

The Michigan Modernism Exposition is located at the Southfield Pavilion.
Preview party tickets are $50 in advance and can be purchased now at www.daads.org,
at select retailers listed on the Web site or by calling 248-582-3326.

What’s black and white and read all over?

April 9th, 2010 by

This Steifflife column, hopefully! Pandas have always been a beloved and in-demand species, despite their relatively late introduction and infrequent appearances in the line over the years. Let’s make up for lost time and review the history of Steiff panda bears, then highlight a few popular mohair models produced from the 1950′s onward.

The first Panda Baer or Panda Bear made his Steiff debut in 1938. He was made from shaggy black and white mohair, five ways jointed and had felt paws. His feet were flat, made from a shorter nap mohair, and really resembled the “toddler feet” of Teddy Baby, another very popular Steiff design of the time. His face was detailed with glass pupil eyes that were highlighted with black airbrushing and a sweet open mouth lined in light pink felt. He was produced in 15 and 30 cm from 1938 through 1942. The picture on the left is this delightful, highly collectible Panda, taken at the Spielzeugmuseum Museum in Munich, Germany.

The success of this first early panda inspired Steiff to produce more pandas in the line as soon as the factory reopened for business after World War II. Steiff started making the pre-war Panda design again, but only in 30 cm through 1950. Then, in 1951, Steiff updated their original panda design slightly and started producing this bi-colored bear in 15, 22, 28, 35, 43, and 50 cm. The company used a suede-like grey rubber material in the place of felt on this panda’s paws and soles from 1956 onward. This newer panda pattern, also a collector’s favorite, was in the line until 1961. Moving forward, pandas made on and off again appearances in the Steiff catalog through the 1950′s, 1960′s, and 1970′s. From the early 1980′s onward, Steiff has almost continuously had a soft plush panda in the line.

So now it’s time to stir up a little panda-monium and look at some of the more interesting Steiff pandas from the early 1950′s onward.

No need to sleep on this one. Here we have Steiff’s Floppy Panda, one of Steiff’s delightful, classic “sleeping” style animals from the 1950′s and 60′s. This particularly soft panda is unjointed, made from black and white mohair and is in a prone, sleeping position. He has an open felt lined mouth and stitched black “sleeping” style eyes. Floppy Panda was produced in 17 and 28 cm and appeared in the line from 1954 to 1961.

What’s old is new again with this charming Steiff panda. This dapper 29 cm fellow is Steiff’s replica of its original debut panda bear from 1938. Like the pre-war original, he is five ways jointed and made from white and black mohair. He has an open felt lined mouth, pupil eyes, and flat felt lined feet. His nose is hand embroidered with black floss. Even his chest tag is a replica of the one that would have been worn by the original – a classic tag with an angular Teddy bear face on the bottom. This particular edition, which was produced in 29 and 35 cm in 1984 through 1985, is a United States exclusive.

Finallly, take a look at this Steiff panda and friend who just happen to have personal significance to Steiffgal. This dynamic duo none other than Foo, the Happy Panda, and Little Foo. Both are North American limited editions from 2004; Big Foo was produced in an edition of 1,500 pieces while Little Foo was produced in an edition size of 3,500. Big Foo is 25 cm, made from long wavy black and white mohair, five ways jointed, and very chubby. He has brown pupil eyes, a black mohair insert nose, and tan felt paw pads. Little Foo, the first ever Steiff panda key chain, is 10 cm and is modeled after Foo. He is five ways jointed and made from short black and white mohair. Little Foo has tiny black bead eyes, a hand-stitched nose and mouth, and a sturdy key loop on the top of his head.

So what’s so special about this perfect panda pair? Pandas are native to China, and one of the Chinese word for “luck” is “fu”. About the time that the Steiff team was naming these items and getting ready to introduce them to the world, one of Steiffgal’s good friends was in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. Steiffgal – who worked at Steiff at the time – gave these pandas the name “Foo”, a version of the word “Fu”, to honor this blessed Chinese arrival!

Steiffgal hopes this overview of Steiff pandas over the years has given you a new respect for this Steiff – and real life – “endangered species.”

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

Book Review: Vintage Watches, By Reyne Haines

April 6th, 2010 by

Twentieth Century Decorative Arts expert, Reyne Haines, has penned another great book, Vintage Watches.  This book was designed with something for everyone.  Not merely a catalog of various styles and makers of fine watches, this work contains over a thousand high quality photographs that will appeal to the new collector, seasoned expert and everyone in between.

Beautifully designed, this hard cover, coffee table styled work contains information on how to collect, the  backstory of American and Swiss watchmakers, a dictionary of wristwatch lingo and more.  It gives you a real look into the design and artistry that went into creating these fine timepieces.

Additionally, the collectable watches in this book are quite varied in price scale.  Whether you collect watches, appreciate the history or simply enjoy the beauty, artistry and craftsmanship behind them, you will find Vintage Watches a very enjoyable book.

Michael Sausley

Purchase Reynes new book “Vintage Watches” by clicking Here