From 1901-1924, Bruckner produced this original, 12" Topsy Turvy doll for Horsman's Babyland Rag Doll line that features Caucasian, "Betty", on one end and African American, "Topsy", on the other. The inspiration for this doll is based on the character of Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic 1852 novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin".
The Bruckner Topsy Turvy doll was advertised in a 1907 Babyland Rag Doll catalog as follows:
"TOPSY-TURVY---What is this?
Looks like just a pretty miss.
But turn her over and you'll find,
She is quite another kind.
First she's White and then she's Black,
Turn her over and turn her back.
Topsy that side--Betty this--
Yet complete, each little Miss."
The detail on this hard to find classic doll is lovely. Both heads indeed have the pressed, molded mask faces with lithographed features. Topsy's face is in mint condition! Betty's face is very fine with superficial rubs to the flesh-toned coating of her mask; her lithographed facial features, however, remain beautiful. (Such rubs are not unexpected as these particular doll masks are, unfortunately, prone to rubbing.)
Grinning Topsy has red bows tied to her black mohair braided pigtails which are tucked into her red headscarf. Her red blouse, which matches her head scarf, is trimmed with cream banding around the sleeve and neck edges. The cream scarf she wears around her shoulders tucks into her very full, red/cream checked, gingham skirt. Flip her over, and....
Betty's more subtle Anglo face and her hair are lithographed. She wears the same red/cream checked gingham fabric of which both her dress and ruffled bonnet are constructed. Over her very full gingham dress, Betty also wears a sheer, ruffled pinafore.
Both dolls have the typical "mitten" hands of the stuffed rag dolls of this era. There are no other difficulties to report other than the rubs to Betty's face and some tiny, stray (original) glue spots here and there. No rips, tears, soiling, or odors, and she has been stored in a smoke-free home. The photos show it all- these two girls are a charming pair! A very difficult to find doll in near excellent condition!
Her cute face is composed of pearl button eyes with red fabric mouth. She wears a flowered bandanna and a pale blue apron over her pale blue patterned dress. Her clothes are odor and stain free and are nicely constructed--note fancy sleeve detail!
Just love her size!!! Odor-free---- ready to be displayed in your collection!! She is one of 3 offered bottle dolls all coming from the same estate--and all priced separately.
The trademark for Sharpoint is a cleverly-designed, eye-catching, broadly smiling image of an African American gent. If one looks closely, one can clearly see the words "Sharpoint Cobblers Nails" printed within the black space of the gent's mouth! A very "sharp" advertising strategy!
Sharpoint Wire Cobbler's Nails were manufactured by the Charles F. Baker Co, Boston, Massachusetts. The smaller box retains its end flap which features both the manufacturing and patent information, with the patent number corresponding to a 1933 USA Patent date. Each box amazingly still retains the original cobbler's nails!
The boxes are in very good condition considering their age and the fact that they held tiny, sharp nails for over 80 years! As stated earlier, the smaller box does retain the end flap which features manufacturing info. The larger box is missing this flap. The cover litho on each box remains very crisp and clear. Typical, age-related edge wear is noted. Please peruse all photos for condition details. The boxes have been shrink-wrapped to protect the integrity of the cardboard, and they do contain the nails.
These VERY, VERY RARELY FOUND SALESMAN SAMPLE size boxes WITH ORIGINAL NAILS are offered at $125 each, or the two boxes can be purchased as a pair for $198.00 firm.
This particular estate document is extraordinarily unique and atypical in comparison to other estate documents of this period as it lists 15 SLAVES among the articles of property, and it actually labels these individuals as SLAVES as opposed to the much more common and typical practice of listing "Slaves" as "Negroes". The slaves are listed on the back side of the document with all other inventory listed on the front side.
Each slave is listed by first name with the corresponding current market value written to the left of the name, with the total market value of the 15 slaves named at $8600-- quite a hefty sum when one considers that the remainder of the estate (furniture, livestock, transportation and work vehicles, tools, etc) is valued in total at $980.75. Also listed in the inventory was 13,000 pounds of seed cotton, indicating that Lewis Mattair owned a sizable cotton plantation, clearly farmed by the slaves.
Lewis Mattair is noted in the 1860 Federal Census as a resident of Suwanee County, Florida; the 1860 Federal Census- Slave Schedules references Lewis Mattair owning 28 male and female slaves, ranging in age from 4 to 58. Lewis Mattair is listed in the 1865 Florida Tax records, but his name does not appear in any archived state or federal records after that year. Thus, it is presumed that this document dates from or just prior to 1865, the year that the Civil War ended.
The Middle Passage Museum was the dream of Jim and Mary Anne Petty of Mississippi as well as that of an anonymous Georgian benefactor who had together compiled a collection of slave artifacts numbering over 15,000 pieces and who had hoped to find a permanent site in Mobile, Alabama, for their museum. While they formed a non-profit organization to raise funds for their hoped-for museum, their dream was never realized.
In a 2003 statement, Jim Petty remarked, "The importance of the exhibit of these artifacts is to understand the harshness of what slavery and segregation was all about. The items in the exhibit remind us of the terrible heinousness of slavery. Viewing the collection can be very emotional, but it is a tool through which we can understand, honor and respect a great culture. We want to realize that out of slavery, a great culture emerged, and carried on, and continued to strive for a better life regardless of the adverse conditions that were placed upon them."
Measuring 13 inches tall, he 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. His hair has been styled in tightly wound little ringlets.
His brown-patterned, machine-stitched shirt and pants are also vintage 1930-40's fabric, accented with two miss-matched buttons holding up cute red suspenders.
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 Artist who is now deceased.
Please take a moment to view his big sister by typing the words "Maine Doll" into the SEARCH box.
Constructed of tin with a tin embossed and lithographed image and a glass cover, this game has a paper advertisement on back which has been partially impaired presumably due to the removal of an old price sticker. The puzzle is in all-original condition with the embossed graphic remaining free of scratches and abrasions. (Please disregard any light or shiny spots in photos which are due to flash reflection off of the glass.)
An interesting image and a delightful piece of early Black Memorabilia!
Condition of the litho is considered very good given the rich coloration that remains. Some minor wear does exist: 2 small tears measuring less than 1/2 inch each on either side border edge-- one in the trees on the right side and the other on the left side in the water. There are several teeny holes in the sky to the right of the bearded gentleman's fishing pole as well as one single hole in the black gentleman's hair. (Please see photos.) Some wear to the border at top as shown in photos.
Despite the noted imperfections, this lithograph displays beautifully, with rich color and crisp lines. It presently resides in an early 1920's frame without glass; it requires appropriate re-framing with acid-free materials to continue to preserve its historic importance.
The label is unused and is in excellent condition with wonderful, even coloring (any appearance of fading is due to light reflection only).
Approximate measurements: the oval label measures 4.50 x 3.50 inches.
Would look wonderful framed!!
Please take a moment to view my other grouping of vintage French rum labels!
Measuring 33 inches tall and 12 inches deep at its maximum depth, the bell hop carries a black tray topped off with a hefty aluminum ashtray. The ashtray is large enough to serve as a receptacle for a smaller potted plant, updating the use of this wonderful sculpture to a modern-day purpose!
The bellhop is quite sturdy as it is constructed of 3/4 inch thick wood, and it is well-balanced, as it is mounted upon a 12 inch diameter wooden base of equal thickness. Condition is wonderful with a great aged patina. At some point long ago, the bell hop lost the front half of his foot, but this loss was cleverly repaired so that it is not readily evident. Also cleverly repaired some many, many years ago, is the bellhop's wrist which appears to have been either broken off or cracked, but which has been nicely repaired and repainted.
Remaining in its original frame, this watercolor retains its vibrant color. A lovely piece of Black Americana executed with some naivete!
Please ignore any white streaks seen in photos; these are the result of light reflection off of the glass.
A wonderful and rarely found piece of Black Americana!
This particular tin retains its original, paper, US Internal Revenue tax stamp with an additional red ink imprint clearly dating this tin November 1941.
The image of an African woman with the racist title of “Nigger Hair” imposed over her shoulders was used by The American Tobacco Company of Wisconsin to promote its product; the lithographed tin was manufactured by the B. Leidersdorf Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Interestingly, it must be noted that after World War II, the product name "Nigger Hair" was changed to "Bigger Hair", although the exact same image of an African Woman continued to be used. The company simply added the words “Fiji Islander” to the left of her face in a very, very weak attempt to broaden the product’s appeal by moving further away from the earlier, severely derogatory moniker. At that time, the material out of which the tobacco container was constructed was changed from tin to heavy cardboard.
Measuring 7 inches high x 5 ¾ inches wide, the condition of the tin is a fabulous 9 out of 10--- sporting a lithograph on the front side with extremely teeny, minor, superficial scratches and rubs, and on the back side, tiny scratches along with tiny areas of paint loss (please see photos for condition). There is a very subtle crimp on the seam side of the tin at the base- difficult to see and impossible to photograph. The lid and the base of the tin show minor evidence of oxidation. The inside of the tin is clean with some minor oxidation evident. The tin is free of both rust and pitting.
The original orange color of the tin remains consistent over the entire tin although the color is a darker orange tone in actuality than what the camera “saw” when photographing it. Any imperfections are quite reasonable and expected given the age of this piece-- nearly 80 years of age!! This tin is just a wonderful example of early Black Americana advertising and looks so much better "in person" than what the camera was able to capture with its lens! Please note that any "white" areas in photos are flash or lighting reflections and are not imperfections to the tin.
The tin still retains its contents; it appears very little was consumed. The contents are quite antiquated and are no longer fit for human consumption and are presented for display purposes only. Additionally included is a grouping of discount tobacco coupons that were discovered inside the tin on top of the contents!
Truly an extraordinarily RARE piece of Black Memorabilia seldom found in this phenomenal condition complete with bail handle, lid and tax stamp! (Soft tissue paper has been wrapped around the bail handle to prevent any further scratching to the tin exterior.)
***For the ultimate collector of Nigger Hair Tobacco tins, an extraordinarily rare, 1949, Bigger Hair Tobacco container is also offered for sale- separately. The addition of the Bigger Hair Tobacco container will complete your collection from both a cultural and historical perspective! *** Type "tobacco" in our web cover page SEARCH box to locate it.
Both the Nigger Hair and the Bigger Hair Tobacco containers may be purchased together for the single price of $1195 with no further discounts applicable.
Featured are "Hoeing Rice, South Carolina", "Old Slave Market At St. Augustine, Florida", "Waitin Fo De End Man" (7 Boys Sitting on a Mule), and "Native Cane Grinders in Sunny Florida".
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.
While her little body was machine stitched together, the remainder of Mammy is all hand-completed! She has a sweet, cheerful, hand-embroidered face that is framed by a tall red, white and blue bonnet! She continues her patriotic look with a red and white checkered top and blue and white flowered pants---how racy---pants instead of a skirt!!!
Mammy clutches a gold colored tomato which, of course, is designed to keep the sewing pins!
In wonderful condition!! Just waiting to be displayed with other sewing or black American collectibles!
Painted in 1934, the framed piece measures 20" x 26.5"; the watercolor, 13” x 19.5 “. Completed in various subtle tones of blue, gray, green, and brown. The watercolor was reframed in 1987 by the previous owner.
Detailing in construction sets this sweet black doll apart! Her creation was very carefully executed through a combination of hand and machine stitching. She was lovingly dressed in machine-stitched clothing made from old red, pink, cream and rose-patterned scraps of cloth, while her body was hand-sewn and constructed of old, black stockings stuffed with cotton batting.
This young girl's nose and mouth are hand-embroidered, while her eyes are represented by small, black buttons. Her hand-applied and stitched hair is made of black wool yarn and has been fashioned into braided pigtails edged with faded red ribbon bows with fluffy bangs topping her forehead. Her hands are carefully hand-stitched to delineate fingers.
This sweetie is in near perfect condition with the exception of some fading to her clothing as well as two age-related, small holes to her stocking-constructed left foot and lower leg. (This wear and fading to the fabrics and stockings used in her construction may well be the very reason they were used, as they may have been discarded from personal use. Please refer to photos to view wear.)
Purchased in Charleston, South Carolina. Simply full of charm with lovely touches! A quite difficult-to-find-in-this condition, 90+-year-old, cloth rag doll!