Before we get into exactly how to sell Steiff stuffed animals, be sure to check out our previous post on them: My Weekly Score – Steiff. You can get a little bit of background from that post that I won’t get into here.
A. Learn which shapes people are looking for the most. This fluctuates, so you always want to stay on top of what is popular. The original teddy bears are always going to be a great buy – and a great sell. Since elephants were the first shapes that Steiff made, it’s pretty certain that they’re going to have a huge niche to sell to as well.
B. Buy the animals with the most tags. Tags are very, very important to collectors. There are three original tags to each Steiff: the button in the ear, the Steiff tag that the button holds to the animal, and the name tag that is usually on a string around the neck. If you have all three of these, you’re going to have a great chance of selling your items.
C. Take pictures of everything. Condition is vital to selling your Steiff. Take a picture of all sides of the animal, and close up shots of the tags. If there is any damage, take close and clear pictures of that as well. The lion below was sold even though there were a few small rips, a repaired tail, and a missing ear! So, you just never know.
D. Make sure your descriptions are very specific. Most collectors only want the good stuff, but there are plenty out there who will settle for a little less than perfect. Either way, make sure you describe every tiny tear or missing stitch in your item. It is always better to be honest than to skip over a detail that you might not find important, but the collector will. Be sure to let the buyers know if the eyes are glass or plastic, and what the tag says the materials are. Lastly, measure the animals in inches AND centimeters, as these were originally German products.
E. Don’t price these too high. It’s true that these are great for collectors, but don’t expect a home run on every one unless you’ve got a rare find. Our experience with these is that they sell well, but when they’re more affordable. If you get them at a good price to begin with, you’ll be able to sell them for a good price and all of that will add up.
I can’t reiterate enough how important condition is for these. We saw our Steiff with the tags fly off the shelves (so to speak) in the first few days. The tagless ones are still sitting here, though a few have sold since we listed them. If you can, focus on the ones that still have all three tags, and you won’t have to worry as much about having a possible dud on your hands.
Got any more tips? We’ll never pretend we’re experts on any one subject, so don’t forget to do research on top of what you’ve learned here. If you come across anything new, please share!