Is it ok to mix business and pleasure? Steiffgal certainly thinks so! Steiffgal was attending a training session in Barcelona, Spain and decided to take a road trip with colleagues a day before the meeting officially kicked off. Everyone piled in the car and made the 90 minute drive to the remote, medieval city of Besalu, located at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountain range dividing Spain and France. Many of the buildings in Besalu date from the tenth through the twelfth century. Steiffguy took the picture here on the left showing one of the views looking towards the city of Besalu.
Upon arriving at Besalu, Steiffgal and colleagues crossed the bridge to enter the city, walked the ancient cobbled streets, visited the historic buildings, and took in the wonderful vistas and auras that only a place with so much history can claim. Most unexpectedly, the team came across a flea market being held in the town’s main square. Steiffgal knew what she had to do – and do it fast – as the rest of the group had lunch more than Steiff on their minds at the time. Steiffgal was challenged to walk the flea market in five minutes and find a Steiff treasure in this far away hamlet. Did she succeed?
Steiffgal has a natural homing device for all things Steiff, and in this case she did not buck the trend. Take a look at what she found at the first booth she visited!
This find of mountainous proportions is none other than Steiff’s Gemse, or Chamois Buck. In nature, chamois are a species of animals native to the mountains of Europe. They prefer living in steep, rugged, rocky terrains at moderate altitudes – much like Besalu itself! This Steiff Gemse is 17 cm, standing, and unjointed. His body is made from very long, brown mohair with silver highlights or tipping. His face and legs are made from short brown mohair. He has green pupil eyes, tan felt ears, and black felt horns. His short little tail is made from straight black woolen fibers. Gemse is detailed with black airbrushing on his face and paws. This particular Chamois Buck was made from 1961 through 1973. He was also produced in 12 cm from 1961 through 1970; the “baby” version was made entirely from short brown mohair and lacked the black felt horns. The pictures here on the left (face and body) are of the buck as found at the Besalu flea market.
Steiffgal’s Grandmother would say that there isn’t anything that wouldn’t benefit from a little soap and water, and in this case, she’s more than right. When Steiffgal got Gemse home, she immediately gave him a bath. This pictures here on the left show the buck after a gentle but enthusiastic cleaning. Look how much better his face especially is after a scrubbing! He’s one champion Chamois now! Note how a good cleaning fluffs up the longer mohair and brings out its highlights, removes the gray tinge from the shorter mohair, and gives the collectible an overall fresh look and new lease on life. Steiffgal cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting – and keeping – Steiff collectibles as clean as possible to improve their longevity and stability. No excuses! Although they have been stated several times in past columns, again here are Steiffgal’s “tried and true” simple steps to clean vintage mohair items:
- First, remove as much surface dirt and dust as possible by shaking the item vigorously and then vacuuming it very gently and at a distance.
- Second, clean the surface mohair with a very weak solution of water and gentle dish detergent – just very sparingly moisten a washcloth and rub the item down with the damp cloth. DO NOT soak the mohair or stuffing materials. You’ll be surprised how much dirt and dust comes off – just take a look at the cloth! Change the position of the cloth a few times so you don’t end up reapplying the dirt and dust onto the item you have just removed.
- Third, let the item naturally air dry away from the sun and heat sources.
- Finally, gently fluff up the item with a brush or comb.
Steiffgal hopes this summit level find inspires you to be on the lookout for Steiff treasures anywhere life takes you!
Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures, regardless of origin? Let’s talk! Click here to learn more.