The six millimeter silver button marked with an elephant is the oldest ear button found on Steiff Bears. This button is a sign that the Steiff Bear is from the years 1904 or 1905.
German “Steiff Bears” have been the Rolls Royce of stuffed bears for well over a century. Margarete Steiff, who was handicapped at an early age, attended sewing school and started manufacturing stuffed animals in 1880 under the name Steiff Manufacture
In 1902 Margarete and her cousin Richard designed the first ever Steiff Bear, using mohair. Richard was able to sell 3,000 of the bears to an American trader, and the success of sales in the United States was overwhelming, as the bears were marketed with an association to the current U.S President Theodore Roosevelt as the “Teddy Bear”.
As a distinguishing maker’s mark for the bears, Margarete and her brother Franz decided to brand the bears with a “Knopf im Ohr”, which is German for Button in Ear. To this day, the ear, or chest button on Steiff animals is an indicator of authenticity and date.
The PAST Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village features a large collection of Steiff Bears from a variety of years. To learn more about Steiff Bears and see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles stop by Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut.
Check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday!