The work is entitled, "Coffee With the Spirit World" and is done in acrylics on watercolor paper. It comes mounted on acid-free foam core which can continue to be used when the piece is framed.
Of this piece of artwork, Sister Raya says, “When peoples get up in the morning they slog on coffee and stumble round full of stress and worry, but they don’t be knowin that’s the time when the spirit folk be slippin round they heads. They be friendly folk and like you to say good morning to them. People go too fast today, slow down when you be drinkin yo coffee and say good mornin!”
The vibrant blues, yellows and reds make this art work tremendously visually appealing and thought-provoking!
This wonderful Depression Era piece features a whimsical 10 inch long cutout figure of a little wooden black girl with hand-painted smiling mouth and eyes! She is dressed in a hand-stitched cotton costume that has been stuffed with scrap fabric.
Her feet feature two brass-finish hooks, presumably to either hang keys or pot holders from. Her ears each have a punched out hole--whether this is functional or purely decorative remains a mystery. A small brass hoop threaded through a piece of fabric which was then tacked to the back of the girl's head facilitates hanging on a wall. Overall condition is fine with age-related soiling to the dress and minor paint wear typical of a 70 year-old-piece.
One of my favorite hand-made pieces with true folk art appeal!
Featuring wonderful, vivid colors, this slide is titled "Two Old Chums" on the paper label attached to the back of the slide. The slide depicts an older black gentleman standing, hat in hand, beside a seated, very despondent-looking, white gentleman- who appears to have been drinking.
The slide has wonderful detailing--In particular, please note the print of a Black Child playing the Banjo which hangs on the wall at the far right side of the room!
Very hard to find Black Memorabilia in fabulous condition!
From approximately 1915 through the 1930's, Mrs. Vargas-Alphonso, influenced by the artistry of her father who also sculpted in wax, crafted a variety of wax dolls inspired by the black folk she saw on New Orleans's street corners while growing up. Sold exclusively at the time through Harriet's, of 318 Rue Royale in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the completely hand-made, one-of-a-kind dolls are seldom found on today's market due to their inherently fragile nature, making them highly sought after in the Black Memorabilia Collectible arena.
This figure, known as the Cotton Seller with Child, is most particularly hard to find and thus is quite highly sought after as it features a very young, female black child standing in a basket of newly-picked cotton. The Vargas family seldom included children or infants in their depictions of the numerous trades of black New Orleans folk, making any characterization featuring a child or an infant more than significantly rare.
Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features. This female, Mama, Cotton Seller wears a red and white kerchief on her head, a red and white checked scarf around her neck, and a yellow and white checked shirt and skirt with an apron that matches her head scarf - all constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen them. At her feet is a very large, wax-constructed basket made to simulate wicker that is filled with cotton and within which her young female child stands. The Cotton Seller's wax body is internally supported by a wire frame through which the figure is securely attached to the wooden base. The bottom of the base is stamped "Genuine VARGAS New Orleans, LA".
This wonderful figure is in amazing condition for her 75+ years of age with no apparent or visible imperfections other than some missing fingers, a condition which is quite common among found Vargas figures.
The Cotton Seller's young, female child also has some missing fingers, and additionally, her neck shows a contiguous crack all the way around. Because her structure is also supported by internal wiring, her head remains securely attached to her body. Please note that the child is merely placed inside the cotton basket and was never securely glued into it. The wax cotton basket, which was originally glued to the wooden base, has become loosened from it; however, when placed on the base, it will easily remain in place for display.
The oddly-shaped, hand-wrought shackles each have two lateral "pockets" that contain pieces of metal or balls that “rattle” as the wearer moves about, thus indicating the wearer's location. This type of shackle is noted in historical references as a Crab Rattler Shackle due to its visual similarity to that sea animal. Each shackle has a pair of small chain links attached at the top. One shackle would have been placed on each leg, and a metal chain would have then been threaded through the attached rings and secured with a lock.
The age of these shackles is formally listed as 19th century, but could very well be older, dating to the last quarter of the 18th century. Condition is quite good given age and use. Please note the small hole present on the side of one shackle as noted in photo. All original and untouched, an utterly horrible, tangible testament to the malevolence of slavery. A VERY RARE form of rattle shackle, even more particularly so due to its small size!
Also currently offered for sale and priced separately is a very diminutive child rattle shackle in an unusual form out of a South Carolina estate. Additionally, de-accessioned from the Middle Passage Museum is an ultra-rare set of 19th Century Slave Ship Shackles from a New Orleans, Louisiana, former slave trader estate! Please type the word "shackles" in the search box on our home page to find all sets of shackles currently being offered.
Marked "Pat Applied For" on its base, this darling match holder features two small black boys playing around a rather large cotton bale (the bale is labeled "COTTON").
Well-executed detail! A lovely piece seldom found in today's collectible market!
Following the conclusion of World War II, the American Tobacco Company of Virginia changed its product name from Nigger Hair to Bigger Hair, seeking to broaden the product's marketing appeal as well as viewing the latter label as the more-socially acceptable one. (The earlier Nigger Hair moniker was used by the American Tobacco Company from the 1890's through the early, pre-WWII 1940s; the lithographed can was manufactured by the B. Leidersdorf Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.) Interestingly, the company DID NOT change the image of the African woman, but merely added the words Fiji Islander to the left of her face in its indifferent and weak attempt to move further away from the earlier, severely derogatory label.
Measuring 7 inches high x 5 3/4 inches wide, the container is in good condition, perhaps a 7 out of 10, with one side exhibiting minor surface scuffing, while on the other side more scuffs and rubs are evident. Some minor wear around the edge of the top of the container likely occurred from simply taking the cover on and off; however, this is completely concealed by the cover. The original cardboard cover was lost with the passage of time; the replacement tin cover shown was in place when this container was acquired.
The original brownish orange color of the container remains consistent throughout, and the structural integrity of the cardboard is quite sturdy. Superficial rust is evident on the inside and outside of the metal base; this rust does not impact integrity of the tin base. The container retains partial remnants of its paper Federal Revenue Tobacco seal on both sides.
This very rare tobacco container is just a wonderful example of latter Black Americana advertising. The container looks better "in person" than in the photos as the camera actually accentuated the appearance of the scuffing, especially on the "better" side!
If the Nigger Hair Tobacco container is currently in your collection, the addition of the Bigger Hair container will complete your collection from both a cultural and historical perspective!
These signs were found in March of 1971, inside the abandoned and decaying basement of the former Philadelphia Enameling Works factory at the corner of 13th and Vine Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The gentleman from whom these signs were purchased, bought these segregation signs along with hundreds of others signs of all types found in the basement of this former factory (see last photo) and has very kindly written a letter of provenance which has been photographed here and which will be included with these signs upon their sale.
These historic signs are enameled on both sides, and on the front sides are written, "COLORED MEN" and "COLORED WOMEN". The signs feature black lettering on a white background.
The signs are in all-original condition with some very minor discoloration and very unobtrusive edge discoloration pinpoints and some enameling loss here and there as seen in photos.
Extremely RARE, UNUSED, one-of-a-kind, museum-worthy pieces of Black American history that are quite likely the only ones of their kind extant today! Condition is amazing!
Please take a moment to view additional segregation signs by simply by typing the word "segregation" into the SEARCH box on our homepage.
The character of Rastus was based on an actual person- a black waiter from Chicago- who was paid $5 for the use of his image by Colonel Mapes, the General Manager of the Nabisco Company, the owner of Cream of Wheat. The company began using the waiter’s image in the early 1900’s, replacing the original woodcut of a black chef that appeared on the packaging from 1894 until that time. Interestingly from a social and historical perspective, the depiction of the ever-pleasant, always-smiling Rastus was both a subtle yet positive departure from the extremely derogatory advertising much more typical of the era- advertising that nearly always featured blacks with wildly contorted and exaggerated features most often in very undignified poses and predicaments.
This beautiful, scarcely-found puzzle, which is in excellent condition, is attractively framed in a hardwood molding colored in walnut, ebony and gold. The puzzle frame is original to the puzzle, and it is contemporary to the production date of the puzzle as it still retains its original wood panel backing, a framing technique not typically found after 1910. The puzzle pieces, themselves, are very finely and delicately cut, and are of a much smaller size than what is typically found in puzzles dating from the 1920’s and beyond.
A phenomenal piece that would be a centerpiece to any serious Black Americana, Advertising, or Cream of Wheat collection!
PLEASE NOTE: Any discoloration, white spots, or other unnatural variances in color are due to the unavoidable light reflections caused by the glass in the framing. The presence of the glass made photography quite a challenge!
The AYER'S Cathartic Pills card is copyrighted 1883 in the lower right front corner by the J.C. Ayer Company Company, Lowell, Massachusetts. This card is brilliantly colored with a phenomenal graphic of the Black "Country Doctor" holding a small child who clutches an Ayer's Pills advertisement in her hand. The reverse side carries a testimony to the wonder of the multitude of curative properties of Ayer's Pills. The card measures 2 5/8 inches x 4 3/4 inches.
The J.P. Coat's Company card is not copyrighted but is at the latest, a circa 1890's card, and features a smiling African-American boy seated on a spool of Coat's thread tickling a bright yellow shining sun. The card measures 3 inches x 4.50 inches. The reverse side is an advertisement for J.P. Coat's Fast Black Spool Cotton thread.
The Clarke's Spool Cotton Thread advertising card is SOLD. It measures 2.75 inches x 4 3/8 inches and features an African-American boy beating a drum which advertises Clarke's MILE-END Spool Cotton. The litho is marked on back "Donaldson Bros, Five Points, New York". The reverse side further advertises Clarke's Thread.
The fourth card is another J.P. Coat's Thread card depicting a humorous scene of an African-American couple attempting to move a very stubborn mule. The card measures 3 inches x 4.75 inches. It is copyrighted on the reverse 1881 by Auchincloss & Brothers, New York. The reverse side advertises the myriad of J.P. Coat's products.
The fifth card is another Clark's Mile-End Spool Cotton advertisement that features a humorous lithograph of a well-dressed African-American man being tripped by a young Caucasian boy holding Clark's super-strong thread, and measures 2.75 inches x 4.50 inches. The reverse side is a continuation of testimony and advertisement for the product.
All five trade cards are in very fine condition with nice color and some very subtle evidence of age staining as seen in photos. The cards have no rips, bends, or fading.
These seldom-found trade cards would look fabulous framed as a group!
As each is priced separately (see photos for pricing), please email us stating which item you wish to purchase so that we can customize your order form.
This darling, all-glass piece remains in superb condition-other than its missing front label. It does, however, retain its wonderful, original paper label at the base of the bottle that reads, “ Made in France, Fluid Cont oz 13”. Underneath the label, the base of the clear glass bottle is impressed, “Bottle Made in France”. Additionally, the perfume retains one half of its original and rarely-found, pink-satin-lined, cardboard box which is also labeled "Vigny, Paris" on one of its panels.
The Golliwogg’s head is the perfume stopper (which presently is quite securely affixed in place), and the facial enameling/painting remains as clear and crisp as the day it was applied! Even his black furry hair retains its vibrant, original, dark tones! The Golly’s glass collar is enameled/painted white with black polka dots and his feet are accented in black.
Along with photos of the Golliwog perfume is a photo of an original 1920’s magazine advertisement for Vigny Perfumes including “Le Golliwogg”. The magazine advertisement is not available for sale and is only presented to serve as an historical reference.
A very, very special piece of Black Memorabilia that has appeal to Black Americana, perfume bottle, and Golliwog collectors alike!
Also pictured here and available for sale separately--- coming from the same estate--- is a 2.50 inch, Vigny, France, Golliwogg Perfume in Satin Camphor Glass dating post-WWI and priced at $425.00, as well as a second, 2.25 inch clear glass, 1920's, Golliwogg Perfume bottle complete with all paper labels (but without the box) and priced at $375.00. The satin camphor glass bottle was the VERY FIRST version of the Vigny "Le Golliwogg" perfume, and is much less-frequently found. The "Golly" brand continued to be sold through the 1920-30's. Type "Vigny" in the SEARCH box on our homepage to see all French Golliwogg Perfume bottles!
This pleasant diecut is in excellent condition and comes protected in an attractive, walnut-tone decorative frame!
A sweet piece!
Measuring 18 inches tall, Mammy is constructed of black, machine-stitched, vintage 1930-1940's, polished cotton which has been stuffed with cotton batting. Facial features have been hand-embroidered, are quite expressive, and are exceedingly well done. Her hair has been styled in six pigtails adorned with bows.
Mammy's red, machine-stitched dress is also vintage 1930-40's fabric and features the classic Grecian Key design in white.
A delightful piece of Black Memorabilia Folk Art! This wonderful, 1940's-vintage-look, one-of-a-kind, Artisan Doll was constructed in the 1990's by a Maine Folk Art crafts-person who is now deceased.
Please take a moment to view her little brother by typing the words "Maine Doll" into the SEARCH box.
Measuring 4 inches wide x 3 3/4 inches high, the black color-toned set was manufactured by A.D. Handy, Stereopticon & Supplies, Boston.
The four slides tell the story, through drawings and southern black dialogue, of a black boy attempting to steal a watermelon (slide 1). Four other black boys hiding behind a fence and watching, spook him, making the boy think there is a ghost behind him (slide 2)! Dropping the watermelon in fright, he dashes off for safety (slide 3). The shattered watermelon is then left on the ground, already broken into bite-sized pieces for the 4 other boys to enjoy!
This offering is truly an exceptionally scarce Black Americana collectible!!
Great condition with some corner wear, but please note that all pages have completely separated from the center seam so are no longer in "booklet" form. No missing pages though!
A difficult item to find in today's market!
The folder was mailed, but remains in fine condition given its age. Some edge wear evident at corners. While some photos may appear a bit blurry, this is a function of photography and not condition. All postcards are crisp and clear!
The Real Photo postcard folder features the lyrics and music of "Dixieland" and 18 full color scenes of the industries common in the South during this period: cotton picking and production, tapping pine trees for turpentine production, watermelon farming, and sugarcaning. Of cultural and historical interest are the numerous scenes of African-American life including less-flattering stereotypical scenes. Some very politically incorrect and derogatory captioning including use of "dialect".