Dating steiff animals

19-Dec-2015 10:16

Steiff Bears have been loved and collected by generations of children and grownups both.They also sell very well, and can command top prices. I spoke with Consultant Archivist, Steiff North America (and Steiff enthusiast in general) Rebekah RA Kaufman (AKA "Steiffgal"), who writes at to find out.Q: How did you first get interested in Steiff bears and toys? A: I have always had a really strong affinity for Teddy bears, and Steiff in particular.I have a photo of me at four days old lying next to a sweet-looking Teddy bear, who is almost as big as I was.Steiff produces both jointed and unjointed items; in general the more joints it has, the more collectible and expensive it will be. The heyday for Steiff dolls basically ran from the turn of last century to just after WW2.And for materials, most enthusiasts prefer items made from mohair or other organic fabrics, although there are several vintage items from the 1950’s - 1970’s made from dralon, artificial plush, or trivera velvet which are quite collectible as well. Steiff launched its doll line in 1903 with a series of comical, cartoon-like figures including police and firemen, students, and farmers.I sensed even as a very young person that there was something really special about the brand.

A: As for authenticity, today just about every Steiff item leaves the factory with three basic forms of identification: a metal ear button, an ear tag, and a chest tag.

Q: Tell us about the first one you owned, or bought (if you did not own one as a child, that is).

A: I can’t recall the very first Steiff bear or animal I owned, but I would guess that it probably was a gift from my German grandparents, who were lifetime collectors.

Over time, Steiff has also produced wooden toys, kites, life-sized or studio animals, puzzles, puppets, play balls, scooters, and a wide variety of “functional” household items including pillows, rugs, and small furniture items.

Q: What do you recommend as a good Steiff reference book or other references (online, e.g., including your blog, of course! A: The “gold standard” Steiff reference books are called the books and they were authored by Gunther Pfeiffer.

A: As for authenticity, today just about every Steiff item leaves the factory with three basic forms of identification: a metal ear button, an ear tag, and a chest tag.

Q: Tell us about the first one you owned, or bought (if you did not own one as a child, that is).

A: I can’t recall the very first Steiff bear or animal I owned, but I would guess that it probably was a gift from my German grandparents, who were lifetime collectors.

Over time, Steiff has also produced wooden toys, kites, life-sized or studio animals, puzzles, puppets, play balls, scooters, and a wide variety of “functional” household items including pillows, rugs, and small furniture items.

Q: What do you recommend as a good Steiff reference book or other references (online, e.g., including your blog, of course! A: The “gold standard” Steiff reference books are called the books and they were authored by Gunther Pfeiffer.

Are certain venues better than others...e.g., estate sales, country auctions, or does it just vary?