This rare sweet kitten is the middle size of three made in this design. She is second only to Susi as my favorite Steiff cat. Even though this 17-cm Fiffy is a “big girl” compared to her 12 cm sister, she still qualifies as a kitten in my estimation.
Fiffy is from the first series of this cat; I know this because her very faded flag still shows her pale article number, 2317. I admit that I have an advantage looking at her flag in person, as well as knowing what number (s) I might expect to find. You may not be able to see anything from my picture, and maybe you will not even in person, although I think the “2” and the “7” will be recognizable, after this coaching. Even if you cannot discern any specific number, I think—even from my image—that you can see that the number is short. Since your other choice for this Fiffy would be a flag saying 2317,00, you can infer from what you see that Fiffy’s number has fewer numerals.
Another way you could surmise that this is the early Fiffy is from the order of the words printed at the top of her flag, which I am not showing you here, but you would see in person. The name “Steiff” is printed above the word “Original.” That word order tells you—about any animal, in fact, that it is from the earliest series of that particular animal. This Fiffy’s range of possible birth dates is only 1955 to 1958, and it is likely that she was made during the first or second years of production.
OK, enough history. I had a bit of trouble deciding how to rate Fiffy’s condition, and because she has several issues, none of which is egregious considered by itself, I decided to be conservative and say that she is in good condition, not using the nonsensical “for her age,” but DESPITE her age, which is over 60, even using the last year she was made for your calculation.
Before getting to Fiffy’s condition issues, I want to point out the absence of symmetry in the tabby markings on her face. I believe this was an airbrushing oversight at the factory, so it is NOT one of the “issues” I just mentioned.
Notice the stripe extending down from the bottom of her left ear (right as she faces you) to her eye. There is no evidence of a correlative stripe on the other side of Fiffy’s face. It is not merely that there is a line, which is now very faded; there is no evidence, even upon close inspection, that there was ever a stripe extending from her right ear to her right eye! That is curious and strange, but I don’t hold it against Fiffy, whose tabby pattern is actually very nice. Her black stripes are still dark, and you can see the nice gray (now taupe but grayer than some of my pictures suggest) background under them, with some slight fading of both the taupe and the stripes at the back of her head. It is interesting, in light of Fiffy’s early production, that she has this tabby pattern with discontinuous stripes encircling her body. This pattern was used on later series of the tabby cats, for example the cat NAMED “Tabby,” and my favorite, Susi, who were made in 1959 and later.
In any case, the once-white parts of Fiffy’s body are now darkened—some areas more than others—but because her stripes (and gray background) are so nice, there is still very nice contrast in her coloring.
One of Fiffy’s black-over-gray areas next to a light unstriped area is her tail. I don’t know how this happened, but the light mohair coverage of the last inch or so of Fiffy’s tail is very sparse. If you look closely at that area, you can see that it is NOT bald, as you might expect if Fiffy had a moth problem. That part of her tail is entirely and densely covered with mohair, but that mohair is extremely short. In any case, I guess I have to include her sparse tail coverage as one of the issues counting against Fiffy, but I don’t believe it is a major failing. And while I am on the topic of mohair coverage, I will mention that, in general, Fiffy’s is still very nice. She has some overall thinning (in the usual way, not severe like her tail!). Probably the worst of these thinning areas is the left side of her forehead (right as she faces you). I say this partly because you would be drawn to Fiffy’s face because that is the source of her sweetness; thus you might notice anything which is less than perfection there.
While I am on the topic of Fiffy’s face, the once-white areas are not a uniform color, as are, for example, her legs and underside. The coloring of her face, partly because of wear, is somewhat uneven and blotching looking. I will tell you that my pictures make her face look a lot worse than it does in person. I tried, in vain, to get a true rendition of the mohair on her face, but, as you can tell from my various images, which are not consistent even among themselves, Fiffy’s face just does not show the way I would like it too. She is far sweeter looking than I was able to show you. :-(
One more instance of color difference and fading is the green color of Fiffy’s irises, painted with her black pupils on the backs of her glass eyes. The green of her right eye seems to have worn off a bit, so it is lighter than her left eye.
As I originally said, none of Fiffy’s issues is egregious; it is the presence of them all together that makes me want to say she is “only” good. I am going to quickly mention the rest of the things I want to tell you about Fiffy, since they are even less consequential than the things I have already covered.
Fiffy’s bow is a replacement, but I trust you agree that she looks really nice in it. It is not tacked to her neck, as was the original, but I did (invisibly ;-)) tack the parts of the bow to each other, so it will stay tied in the nice condition you see now.
Finally, I come to Fiffy’s whiskers. She has just a few remaining, but the absence of the rest is, to my thinking, about as inconsequential as you can get. She has two short whiskers on each side of her nose, two and a fraction in front of her left ear, and all four of the originals in front of her right ear.
Oh, one more thing—about Fiffy’s size. As I said, she is the middle size of the three cats made in this design, and her size in centimeters is denoted by the “17” in her article number. If you measure along the line that can be “drawn” from Fiffy’s left front paw to the place where her tail joins her body, you get almost exactly 17 cm, or about 7 inches. Fiffy sits about 4 1/2 inches high to the top of her sweet swivel head.
I think I have covered everything you might want to know, but please write if you still have a question. You will certainly purr with delight if you are Fiffy’s new owner, or, if she is meant for the Steiff or cat collector in your life (if you can part with her once she arrives!), that person will be thrilled.
WHATEVER YOU DECIDE TO DO ABOUT FIFFY OR ANY OF MY OTHER STEIFF ITEMS, PLEASE BE SURE TO SEE THE ARTICLE I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT ID STEIFF 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, I UPDATED AND EXPANDED IT IN OCTOBER, 2020..
*******!!!!!!!YOU MUST READ THIS!!!!!!!****** If you are buying more than one item from me, you can save on shipping. To complete your purchase, first indicate PayPal as your payment method, but PLEASE, PLEASE, DON’T GO THERE BEFORE I SEND YOU AN INVOICE
Earliest Model Middle Sister Rare Steiff Reclining Tabby Cat Kitten Fiffy 2 IDs