1997 marked the 150th anniversary of Margaret Steiff’s birth, and although she died in 1909 the Steiff company has continued, and is today probably the world’s leading and most well known soft toy manufacturer.
Margaret overcame polio, which left her wheelchair-bound, to form a successful dress making business. Whilst following this path, she found a pattern for an elephant. She made the elephant with the intent of it being used as a pin cushion.
Pictured left: “Teddy Girl” a cinnamon Steiff teddy bear Sold for £110,000, December 1994 a World record price for a teddy bear Christies, London, South Kensington
However, the elephant became a favourite toy of her nieces and nephews. Fritz, Margaret’s brother, saw potential and suggested that they try to sell the toys at the Heidenheim Christmas market. They were an instant success, and The Margaret Steiff Company was founded in 1880, initially producing a few animals, with the range growing along with the business.
The company grew but it was not until the introduction of a bear in 1902 that the company really expanded. The famous Steiff trademark “KNOPF IM OHR” – “BUTTON IN EAR” appeared in 1904 as the company tried to distinguish themselves from other manufacturers.
Pictured right: An exceptionaly fine and rare Steiff black teddy bear
Sold for £91,750, December 2000 Christies, London, South Kensington
Pictured right: Little Louis the 2012 Steiff Club Annual Gift.
The Steiff Club began in 1992 and now has over 30,000 members. The club produces a quarterly magazine, club members only gifts, annual Steiff teddy bear editions, event teddy bears, a folder, a catalogue, and a membership card. For 2012 the Exclusive Steiff Club edition is Louis, the club gift is Little Louis and the event teddy bear is Flo.
Steiff produce a large range of soft toys, and also a number of limited edition toys specific to shops, countries and organisations.
NOTICE – This site is not affiliated or associated in any way with Steiff TM.
The purpose of these pages is to provide information to collectors of Steiff Toys.