More than 24 different Cocker Spaniels have appeared in Steiff post-war catalogs.
Mark Twain once wrote, “The more I know about people, the better I like my dog.” You may or may not agree with that broad statement, but most folks do feel that dogs can rank among people’s best friends. Clearly, the product designers at Steiff are crazy about dogs—and have been since the company opened for business in the late 1800s—as these canine companions have always been incredibly well represented in the product mix.
Dogs even have their very own chapter in Gunther Pfeiffer’s “Sortiment” books, the universally recognized the gold standard reference guide for Steiff collectors everywhere. Since the Margarete Steiff GmbH factory reopened for business after the Second World War, one particular breed has been near the head of the dog pack in terms of visibility and variety of models produced. That blue-ribbon-winner would be the Cocker Spaniel.
More than 24 different Cocker Spaniels have appeared in the catalog post-war in practically every form imaginable—standing, sleeping, reclining, as a music box, as a life-sized studio model and as a ride-on toy, among many others. Let’s take a look at some of the company’s most interesting mohair Cockers from the early1950s and 1960s and see what makes them so appealing from the collector’s perspective.
The earliest Cocker Spaniel Steiff launched post war was a charming brown-and-white-mohair version. The original “Cockie,” this sweetie is seated and head jointed. She is mostly white with brown ears and temples, and a few “random” brown spots here and there over her body. Her face and muzzle are quite detailed, with pert brown and black-pupil eyes and a hand-embroidered black nose. Her outer muzzle is made from tan colored velvet and is remarkably constructed. She has an open velvet mouth that is highlighted with black airbrushing around the edges and is pink inside. This model was only produced from 1951 through 1959 in 10, 14, 17, 22, 25, 28 and 30 centimeters.
In 1952, Steiff introduced another Cocker Spaniel design with the name Cockie (by the late 1990s there would be more than 24 Cocker Spaniels with that same name, leading to a lot of confusion with collectors). This Cockie is a golden-copper color, standing on all fours and is head jointed. Like her brown and white cousin, this Cockie’s face and muzzle are quite detailed. She has pert brown and black-pupil eyes and a hand-embroidered black nose. Her outer muzzle is made from copper-colored velvet and is remarkably constructed. She has an open velvet mouth that is highlighted with black airbrushing around the edges and is pink inside. This Cockie was originally manufactured in 10, 17 and 25 cm between 1952 and 1957. The 10-cm version of this Cockie design was also produced as a rolling pull toy on blue wooden wheels from 1954 through 1957, and then again in 1960.
Cocker Spaniels have been created in practically every form imaginable—standing, sleeping, reclining, as a music box, as a life-sized studio model and as a ride-on toy, among many others.
These three unusual Cocker Spaniel-themed items have one thing in common: they generate a lot of interest when they become available on the secondary market! The “Sulac Spaniel is in the center, with “Music Cockie” on the left and “Nightcap Cockie” on the right.
The next Cocker Spaniel Steiff introduced—in 1959—really made a name for herself. “Revue Susi,” as she was called, is sitting, made from golden-blond mohair, and is head jointed. Her head is quite detailed; she has large plastic-pupil eyes, airbrushed “eyebrows” and lips, pronounced doggy jowls and floppy ears made of long, lush mohair. Her face and head are made from slightly shorter mohair than her body. She left the factory in Giengen, Germany wearing a red leather collar with a chest-tag reading “Revue Susi” in bold, blue capital letters. Overall, Revue Susi was produced in four sizes: 12, 17, 28 and 35 cm from 1959 through 1977. Susi was the logo-mascot for a German “People” style magazine that was published from 1946 to 1966.
Following in the successful paws prints of the sitting Revue Susi, Steiff introduced yet another Cocker Spaniel named (no surprises!) “Cockie” a year later. This Cockie is standing on all fours and made in two color patterns, golden-blonde mohair— like Revue Susi—and also in a black and white version. The golden-blonde version is unjointed, while the black and white version is head jointed. Like Revue Susi, standing Cockie has googly black-and-white pupil plastic eyes and wears a red collar. The standing Cockie was made in 12, 19 and 29 cm from 1960 through 1976.
Examples of a black and white and a golden-copper Cockies.
In addition to these popular and well-known Steiff Cocker Spaniel designs, Steiff also made a handful of Cocker Spaniel-inspired novelty items. Three highlights include “Nightcap Cockie,” “Music Cockie,” and “Sulac Spaniel.” Nightcap Cockie and Music Cockie are both based on Steiff’s black-and-white Cocker Spaniel theme; Sulac Spaniel is based on Revue Susi’s design.
These three unusual Cocker Spaniel-themed items have one thing in common: they generate a lot of interest when they become available on the secondary market! In general, Steiff “nightcap” animals are 15 cm tall, mohair-headed creatures with cone-style felt bodies. They were designed to hide small surprises for children on their pillows before bedtime. Nightcap Cockie is perhaps the most charming of the four or five Steiff produced over time, with her cheerful orange tuliped dress. She appeared in the line from 1969 through 1974.
Music Cockie stands 17 cm tall and plays a lullaby tune when her tail is turned, like the handle to a music box. She appeared in the line from 1955 through 1957, and then again in 1961. She is very hard to find and even more so with a working music box component.
Sulac is a five-way jointed 40-cm blonde mohair dangling cocker spaniel with “lulac” style long playful limbs and a red leather collar. She appeared in the line in 1964 only.
Although Steiff Cocker Spaniels mostly share a common name, that’s where the similarities end. These cheerful canines are so charming and prolific that an enthusiast could build an entire Steiff collection around this breed alone. And luckily, due to their general availability, their prices overall won’t put any collector in the doghouse. Assuming very good to excellent condition, with at least one form of Steiff ID, the items discussed and pictured above value as follows:
• Original brown and white seated Cockies can value in the $125 to $225 range;
• Golden copper standing Cockies can value in the $100 to $225 range;
• Golden copper standing Cockie on wheels can value in the $125 to $250 range;
• Sitting Revue Susi Cocker Spaniels can value in the $75 to $150 range;
• Black and white standing Cockies can value in the $100 to $200 range;
• Golden-blonde standing Cockies can value in the $75 to $200 range;
• Nightcap Cockies can value in the $125 to $250 range;
• Music Cockies can value in the $250 to $500 range; and
• Sulac Spaniels can value in the $225 to $400 range.
Rebekah Kaufman is a Worthologist who specializes in vintage Steiff and other European plush collectibles.
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