12 inch white Steiff bear, 1905.
This is a special bear with a very important place in teddy bear history:
Steiff of Germany designed the first plush jointed bear in 1902, and it debuted to the public in 1903. That bear wasn't yet called a "teddy," just a "bear." It was modeled upon, and looked like, its real life counterpart: large and fierce. In 1905, Steiff redesigned the bear, making it smaller and lighter and giving it a friendlier face, more of a "bear doll" than a toy bear. This model is the one that first had the "teddy bear" look so familiar to us today, and it inspired toy makers all over the world to design their own variations.
For the first year of this model's release in 1905, it came with a blank button-in-ear as a Steiff trademark, which was changed to a button with the company's name on it in subsequent years.
My bear is 12 inches tall, of white mohair, and came wearing a pair of blue overalls that suit him nicely. He has a whimsical, crooked smile. The wear to his nose appears to be damage from kissing, so I don't mind too much.
In profile, the features of early Steiff bears are clearly visible: long arms with curved, spoon-shaped paws, big feet, and a hump.
This bear was so popular, orders skyrocketed, and the Steiff factory sold nearly a million bears in 1907!