Steiff Tige in the Bear and Doll Sale on 29th June
Here, we take a look at the story behind the Steiff Tige Bulldogs in the Doll and Bear Sale
Steiff's reproductions of dogs have always been meticulous, with the attention to detail astounding.
The June Doll and Bear Sale at Vectis will include two of Steiff's most wonderful canine creations - a pair of 'Tige' dogs.
Tige is not based on pedigree breed standards as most of Steiff doggie creations are, but a character launched in 1902 as a mascot of the comic book prankster Buster Brown. 
Penned by Richard F. Outcault, the first illustrated comic strip made its debut in the pages of the New York Herald. Further stories followed as children delighted in the adventures of Buster, Mary Jane, his sweetheart and his jovial pet, Tige, short for Tiger.  He is thought to be the first comic strip pet that could talk (even if only to children).

By 1904 Buster Brown was the most popular comic character in America. A canny businessman, Outcault realized the enormous potential of using Buster to promote products. One of the most successful and lucrative tie-ins had to be that with the Brown Shoe Company. Buster Brown and Tige, became the subject of a familiar logo used on the company's children's shoes, together they sold millions of pairs. Buster's catchphrase was "I'm Buster Brown, I live in a shoe. That's my dog, Tige, he lives there too!" (or "Look for him in there too."). Actors were hired to dress as Buster at Brown Shoe Company events and trained Boston Terriers would go out in the audience and amazingly untie non-Buster Brown shoes.
Other products that Buster and Tige endorsed included beer (amazing to think that a child was used to advertise alcohol), socks, toys, dolls and watches. It is no surprise then that Steiff licenced the brand to produce their version from 1907 to 1917 reference 5217. Fashioned in red-brown burlap he had a white mohair chest and front feet.  He had black boot button eyes, black vertically stitched nose, black claw stitching and felt inner ears, intricate airbrushed featured highlighted his kissable wrinkles. His tail had wire armature for pose ability and he sported a studded collar and leash. With the Steiff version his voice box, a squeaker, could be heard by all.
The comic strip ended in 1921, but Buster and Tige continued to be popular for several decades, Brown Shoes continued to advertise by using their images in magazines, newspapers, radio, and on TV. The Brown Shoe Company is still in business today, and is even listed on the New York Stock Exchange. What breed Tige actually is, has never been definitively defined, the Brown Shoe company used Boston Terriers but he has also been referred to as a Bull Terrier and latterly an American Pit Bull possibly to soften the bad press that this breed often gets. Whatever type of breed he is, the two Steiff Tige?s in the June sale are remarkable examples, each retaining their original Steiff buttons and collars and are in extremely good order. 
Click here to view the lots or for more information on Tige please contact -
Joanne McDonald or
Kathy Taylor   
or call +44 (0) 1642 750616.   

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