Seminar 5. Sunday 18th November 1pm. Rebekah Kaufman and Caroline Schwarz
Rebekah Kaufman and Caroline Schwarz 1pm
"One of my favourite friends here in the Boston area who lives in the next town is the grand daughter of F.A.O. Schwarz, the famous German family toy retailer in the USA. Many toy collectors, at least in North America, have very fond feelings about these stores; some even consider the store synonymous with the finest bear, doll, train, dollhouse, and other toy manufacturers.
Caroline Schwarz and I have given several presentations about the history of F.A.O. Schwarz across the USA, including at a standing room only program in Kansas City a few years ago at the United Federation of Doll Clubs annual meeting. We talk about the history of the family, the toy industry, and the F.A.O. Schwarz stores as part of the seminar. I also talk a little bit about Steiff from the perspective of the "F.A.O. exclusive" items that always top collectors' wish lists. F.A.O. Schwarz starting selling Steiff in 1906 and is most likely the longest brand partnership in the company's history.
We have lots of photos and great visuals we share using a slide show.
Caroline Schwarz Schastny
Born in Boston, I’ve lived in the suburbs of Boston for decades with forays of varying lengths on several continents. I’ve been interested in the role that toys play in the lives of children and adults having been brought up with a rich legacy of stories beginning with the establishment of FAO Schwarz in the 1850s to its present iteration. My earliest career was in retail. After several years, my interest turn to education. I taught for 35 years at the Arlington school, the high school on the grounds of McLean Hospital, the psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School. I retired for a couple of years to pursue a Master's degree in philanthropy and media, but missed working with young people. I returned to McLean as a clinical educator on the hospital's eating disorders unit.
Presently, my husband and I have retired and live with our Cavalier King Spaniel "Dolly" in a retirement village which is connected and on the grounds of a small liberal arts college. One of the requirements for living there is to complete 450 hours of academic experiences. My trip here to London to speak with you about the history of toys and my family's company, will fulfill portion of that requirement.
Rebekah Kaufman is a third generation Steiff enthusiast. Her collection of vintage Steiff treasures numbers north of 1,600. Rebekah’s German grandmother kindled her love for the brand over four decades ago, and today Rebekah is the proud steward of many of her Oma's Steiff treasures.
Rebekah's passion became her vocation when she became the Steiff Club Manager for the North American division of Margarete Steiff GmbH in 2003. A few years later, in 2008, she changed jobs and was appointed as Steiff’s North American archivist. In this role, she authors most of the vintage related articles in the biannual Steiff Club Magazine and authenticates vintage Steiff treasures on behalf of the company. In 2014, at James D. Julia in Fairfield, ME, she appraised and cataloged the largest vintage Steiff collection to come to market in North America; the sale realized over half a million dollars. Rebekah owns Steiffgal’s Vintage Museum Marketplace, the largest online vintage Steiff shop worldwide. It can be found at www.rubylane.com/shop/steiffgal.
Rebekah is a regular contributor to print and online publications, including Teddy Bear and Friends, DOLLS, Doll News, Antique Doll Collector, Worthpoint, and Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles.
Rebekah is an active member of United Federation of Doll Clubs and is the Second VP of the Doll Study Club of Boston. She is also the recording secretary for Doll Collectors of America. She has consulted for TV networks including HGTV, CBS, History.com, E! Entertainment, and the BBC. Rebekah has been an invited guest on radio and video programs for The Antiques Airshow, the Antiques Auction Forum, Gemr, Ruby Lane, Auctionata, The Collector's Show, and Harry Rinker's Whatcha Got. She acts as a go-to resource for industry, auction houses, and the media; her engagements have included Teddy Dorado, Christies, James D. Julia, Morphy Auctions, F.A.O. Schwarz, The Boston Center for Adult Education, The Marin Country Mart, The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, The Reading Society of Craftsmen, The Strong National Museum of Play, The Questers, R. John Wright, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg, Town and Country, and The Huffington Post, among many others.