This Steiff “Titanic Mourning Bear” with identification (lot #3025, est. $25,000-$40,000) is one of only 655 of these red-backed-eye bears produced in response to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. It is just one of 125 Steiff stuffed animals from the collection of Chuck and the late Cathy Steffes that will highlight an upcoming James D. Julia, Inc. auction on June 13.
FAIRFIELD, Maine – A menagerie of 125 Steiff stuffed animals from the collection of Chuck and the late Cathy Steffes—any of which could easily be the crown jewel in any Steiff collection—will highlight the upcoming Antique Toy, Doll & Advertising Auction to be held June 13 at James D. Julia, Inc.
Billing itself as possibly the “most exciting U.S.-based Steiff sales event of the decade,” the Steffes collection offers something for everyone, and given Steiff’s universal appeal, is certain to be of great interest to collectors, museums and toy enthusiasts and historians all around the world. “The Steffes’ collection is amazingly comprehensive, impeccably curated, and reflects the finest examples of Steiff design, quality and craftsmanship from the turn of last century through the early 1950s,” reads a description of the auction on the Julia website.
“I am profoundly grateful and honored to have been asked to handle Chuck and Cathy’s world-class collection,” Rebekah Kaufman, consultant Steiff archivist for North America and the cataloger for this collection. “Cataloging these rarities was like walking through the Steiff archives in Germany or the Dollhouse Museum in Switzerland—but only better, because I could actually touch the treasures! The items overall are extraordinary in terms of condition, provenance, and rarity, and offer Steiff enthusiasts today the opportunity to add a remarkable piece of history to their collections.”
Additionally, the auction will also showcases an assortment of fine German Bing bears and early and important Steiff cats and rabbits. Among the items to be had are three absolutely exceptional treasures from this sale include:
This extremely rare and historically important original Steiff “Rod Bear” (lot #3008, est. $15,000-$22,000) with rod jointing were only produced for a few years at the early turn of last century and very few remain today.
• A truly spectacular brown-tipped mohair Petsy bear (lot # 3053) is expected to realize between $20,000 and $30,000. This Ted stands 16 inches tall. Petsy’s baby face is detailed with large wire-rimmed, poseable ears; oversized black and blue glass-pupil eyes and a distinctive center seam and facial construction. Typical to his pattern, he has pink nose, mouth and claw stitching—which has faded to more of a tan color. This beloved Steiff design was originally called Buschy upon his introduction, but his name was later changed to Petsy. Overall, Steiff made 10,668 Petsy bears through 1930. This delightful Petsy retains his trailing “F” button and legible red ear tag, and is a wonderful example of one of the most desirable and appealing Steiff teddy bears.
• An extremely rare and historically important original Steiff “Rod Bear” (lot #3008) carries a presale estimate of between $15,000 and $22,000. Bears with rod jointing were only produced for a few years at the early turn of last century and very few remain today. The 15-inch-tall bear is made from blonde mohair, is five-ways jointed, and has felt paw pads. Teddy’s body is very solidly stuffed and his early design face is detailed with black shoe-button eyes, a shaved muzzle, a black hand-formed gutta percha nose, and a light brown mouth. And for his pièce de résistance, Teddy has his original “elephant” button in his ear, perhaps the most desirable Steiff ID in the world.
A truly spectacular brown-tipped mohair Petsy bear (lot # 3053, est. $20,000-$30,000), this Ted stands 16 inches tall and features large, wire-rimmed, poseable ears and a distinctive center seam and facial construction.
• A most desirable and astonishingly collectible black Steiff “Titanic Mourning Bear” with identification (lot #3025). Collectors know these examples to be amongst the most sought after vintage Steiff bears in the world. This Teddy stands 12 ½ inches tall, is made from black mohair, and is five-ways jointed with tan felt paw pads. He is stuffed with excelsior and has black embroidered claws on his hands and feet. Teddy’s face is detailed with highly distinctive red felt-backed shoe-button eyes and a black hand-embroidered nose and mouth. Teddy retains his long trailing “F” Steiff button and a slight trace of his white tag. Only 655 total of these red-backed eye bears were produced in response to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. It is estimated to sell for between $25,000 and $40,000.
Other Steiff highlights from the Steffes collection include a very early disk-jointed elephant buttoned bear, numerous early turn of last century five-clawed bears, a bright yellow “Happy” styled wide-eyed bear and a felt-pawed Dicky bear. Also available are numerous extremely large Steiff Teds—some as big as toddlers—as well as many fine examples of the company’s highly desirable “center-seam” style bears. And, for those collectors who seek unique, one of a kind examples, this sale includes several “muster” or in-house company samples.
For more information about this auction, visit the James D. Julia, Inc. website.
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