This big beautiful boy joins his baby brother and several of his wild cat cousins in my shop. This is only the third time in about two decades I have been lucky enough to acquire the reclining leopard of this size. He is the earliest model of the next-to-largest leopard in this family, and his flag (faded but legible), with article number 2343,1, tells you his size is 43 centimeters.
I am always at a loss when it comes to verifying the size of the reclining animals, so I will tell you Leopard’s measurements. From the outside of his front right paw to the outside of his left rear paw (draped over his right rear paw), he measures 19 inches, about 48 centimeters. Add about an inch to include his tail, wrapped closely around his thigh. He sits about 10 inches high over his seating surface. Since his back is curved, the best way to give you his width, as measured across his midsection, it to go to his underside, which is flat. Measured from the depression between his front and rear legs (the lowest point of the “V” they form) Leopard is a bit over 6 inches. Of course, if you want to display him looking forward, as I am showing you in my second image, you will need his total depth to make sure your shelf is deep enough. Including the tip of his tail, you would need about 16 inches front to back to accommodate this big cat.
Because Leopard has a number of small condition issues, none of which is very serious in itself, I feel the most comfortable rating his condition as good-plus. Please understand; I am rating his condition absolutely, not the meaningless “for his age!”
Leopard has some all-over wear, most of which is really trivial. The wear on his tail, especially the last third of its length, is a bit more noticeable. Also on the topic of his tail, I want to note that there is some stuffing separation, both at the juncture of his tail with his back and along the tail’s length. Both of these are visible mainly by feel; his tail looks just fine. In fact, despite these two areas of stuffing separation, Leopard’s tail stays with him when you lift him and does not droop below his body. There is no way I could have demonstrated this, even with a wide-angle lens, but I assure you it stays with him, which is probably rarer than the usual state of affairs with these big guys.
Leopard also has stuffing separation in his front legs, the left more than the right. Since this is only really minimally visible, this stuffing separation, like that in his tail, needed no invasive restoration with an infusion of new stuffing (which I believe is kapok, in his legs and excelsior in his tail). It is my general rule to refrain from doing repairs/restorations that make little, if any, difference in the way an animal looks on display. That is certainly true in this case, and because Leopard has completed at least six decades, his insides are probably more fragile than those of a younger animal, making an invasive procedure all the riskier.
Now that I have mentioned the decades, I should be more specific in telling you Leopard’s age. I already told you that he is the earliest model, but you should know his date of birth is sometime between 1954 and 1958.
I forgot to mention something really important when I told you about Leopard’s front legs. The weakness in his legs is somewhere down the middle of their length. His thighs and chest are in no way affected by any stuffing separation, and his posture is really wonderful. More often than not, especially with the oldest models of the reclining cats, you see them pathetically resting their heads on their paws. Leopard sits with his head proudly raised.
I know it is bad psychology to end on a detraction, but these last three are trivial, and by now you have seen that practically every negative thing I have told you has been balanced by something positive in that same area. Thus, I don’t have much worry that you will be left less inclined to adopt this big boy. The first thing I want to mention is that the six whiskers Leopard has on each side of his nose are courtesy of Dr. Rosalie. The last two are both things Leopard once had, which, unlike his whiskers, would take far more work and materials than I have at hand. Leopard’s eyes once glowed in the dark, but that nice little ephemeral property is gone. Of course, it is great to see that glow in animals who have it in the few moments after you turn out the light, but you will be enjoying leopard in a lighted place—either by natural light or electric light at night. Therefore, their lost ability to glow for a few seconds is not a major catastrophe.
Finally, the “1” after the comma in Leopard’s article number tells you that he should make a noise. It could be that he is just too bulky for my tiny hands to locate his squeaker, but given my ability to do so on other occasions with animals just as big and bulky as he is, I would say it’s fairly likely that he no longer can be made to “growl.” As I always point out in this situation, when you or someone else admires Leopard in his display area when casually walking by, he would not know whether he made a sound or not.
Actually, I don’t have to end on a negative. One of Leopard’s really nice positive attributes is his coloring! He has no fading either in his tawny background or his black rosettes.
I can’t think of anything else to tell you, but please write if you have a question. You will be delighted if this sweet, rare, and special cat takes up residence with you. If you can part with him after he arrives, he is destined to become a favorite of the Steiff collector in your life.
WHATEVER YOU DECIDE TO DO ABOUT LEOPARD OR ANY OF MY OTHER STEIFF ITEMS, PLEASE BE SURE TO SEE THE ARTICLE I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT STEIFF ID FRAUD—INCLUDING COUNTERFEIT CHEST TAGS—(AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR COLLECTORS). YOU WILL FIND THE LINK ON MY SHOP HOME PAGE UNDER “FAVORITE LINKS.” IF YOU HAVE NOT LOOKED AT IT RECENTLY IF YOU HAVE NOT LOOKED AT IT RECENTLY, I UPDATED AND EXPANDED IT IN OCTOBER, 2020.
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Rare Earliest Model Steiff Large Reclining Leopard Wild Cat 2 IDs
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