Teddy Bear News

Festival of Steiff 2005 Review
Author: teddygirl | Wednesday October 05, 2005

Here is a review of the Festival of Steiff from a collector's view.

**If you would like to see pictures, go to the Pictures section.

The Festival of Steiff was held from Friday, September 23 to Sunday, September 25 at the Radisson in Plymouth, MA. The Toy Store (Beth and Ben Savino) sponsored the festival. The public was allowed to come and shop on Sunday afternoon.

We arrived in Plymouth a couple of days before the festival and stayed a few days past the festival so we could explore the area. We stayed at Jesse Harlow House, a great bed and breakfast. The house was really nice, the breakfasts were great, and the innkeepers were wonderful. In addition to Plymouth, we explored Cape Cod and Boston.

During the afternoon, we registered. That evening we went to the auction preview, and they served refreshments and hors d’oeuvres, where guests were able to mingle. We viewed the pieces from the Steiff archives, and there were many great pieces. We were also able to see the event bear and view the Toy Store’s selection. They were the only dealer that was allowed to sell new Steiff.

The Toy Store had the new Click-a-Bear, which allows you to create your own bear. The mohair body parts are connected by strong magnets. The parts are the head, legs, arms and body.

We also viewed the 125 karat bear. If you’re not familiar with this, the bear has sapphire and diamond eyes, gold woven into the fur, a gold pendant around the neck, gold nose and mouth, and a gold ear tag. The bear is available in an edition of 125 pieces. The bear also comes with a felt elephant that has diamonds and onyx.

Before the auction began, Jim Pitocco, President of Steiff, welcomed everyone. At 7:30 pm, the auction began. There were over 95 items that were auctioned. The items ranged from old to newer and from bears to birds. After the auction, there was more mingling.

The festival began in the morning at 9 am. You could now buy from other dealers. Registration for the Best of Show and Design your own Steiff contests began. For the Best of Show contest, both dealers and participants could enter in their Steiff pieces. The categories included best vignette, vintage bear, vintage animal, and most unusual. Attendees voted on their favorites, and there were some interesting pieces. Some of the displays were well-thought out and elaborate. For the Design your own Steiff contest, attendees were given an outline of a Steiff and they were supposed to design it and decorate it.

At 11:30 am, David Douglass, a vingtage Steiff collector, appraiser and dealer, did a presentation. He used slides and showed many unusual pieces. In addition, he gave historical facts. Then lunch was served. Attendees received their goody bags at lunch, and the bags included t-shirts, a stuffed animal, a hat, etc.

After lunch, we saw a video presentation of the new Steiff museum in Giengen (the museum opened in June 2005). The video was cute and funny, and the museum looks great. It made those of us who have yet to see want to book our trips.

Next, Dietmar Simon, head of design, gave a presentation and had a question and answer period after. Listening to him was interesting because he creates pieces that we collectors love so much. He focused on 3 categories and showed used examples for each. The examples were from the 2005 line: Pansy, Pantom and Theodore.

After Dietmar’s presentation, guests could continue shopping, vote for their favorite pieces for best of show, view the archive pieces, view the Design your own Steiff entries or just hang out and talk teddies. Dietmar was available to sign your pieces, and Rebekah Kaufmann, Steiff Club director, was available.

We met Scott Cook, who paints Steiff bears from his collection. He has also drawn children’s books. He had his latest painting on display; prints were also available.

The sales room closed for the day at 5:30 pm so everyone could get ready for dinner. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres began at 6:30 pm, and everyone sat down at 7 pm for dinner. Richard Hussmanns, the new president of Steiff GmbH, gave a speech about the company and where it was going. After his speech, 2 people (one was the publisher) from Teddy Bear and Friends magazine spoke and presented Steiff and Beth and Ben from the Toy Store with plaques.

Dinner was served and everyone just hung out the rest of the night.

The breakfast program began at 9 am. There was Steiff trivia, and awards were presented for the Best of Show contest and the Design your own Steiff contest. There was a presentation about the Titanic and how it related to Steiff (after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, Steiff sold 600 black bears to symbolize the mourning).

After breakfast, the sales room opened. The sales room opened to the public at noon. Dietmar signed attendees pieces, and Dick Frantz, Steiff archivist, appraised attendees’ pieces. Clare Steiff, Richard Steiff’s granddaughter, was available. The sales room closed at 5 pm.

Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun and went by really fast. The presentations were interesting, and I liked seeing the pieces from the archives. All the attendees loved Steiff – what more could a Steiff lover want!

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