Constructed of hand-cut, ¼ inch wide, black painted wood, this darling little black girl has hand-painted eyes and smiling lips, and is dressed in a hand and machine stitched, cloth-stuffed, one piece, black, tan and green dress! She has a hole in each ear, a metal hanging loop atop her head and one metal hook on each shoe for hanging keys or potholders!
She is in fine condition given her 70+ years of age and has great “patina”. Some minor paint loss, a few teeny holes in her outfit, but very visually appealing Black Americana Folk Art, none the less!
ENTIRELY hand-stitched, this gent is dressed in fancy striped pants, straw shoes and hat, green belt, and in a navy blue and white polka dot shirt with a tiny breast pocket that holds a teeny pack of CAMEL cigarettes, labeled with a "C"! His outfit is topped off with a red tie that is held in place by a bean tie tack!
His face is hand-stitched with careful attention noted to the creation of his molded, 3-D nose. The weather must be warm as he wearily wipes his hot neck with a red and tan checked handkerchief!
A delightful African-American Southern character doll!
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!
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!
Also currently offered for separate sale at $895.00 and originating from this same collection is a pair of signs labeled "COLORED" and "WHITE". (See last photo) Please take a moment to view these signs by simply by typing the word "segregation" into the SEARCH box on our homepage.
Constructed of tin with tin back and a cardboard lithographed image and a glass cover, the puzzle is in all-original condition with some tiny crimps to the edges as noted in photos. (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!
The book tells the infamous story of ten little African-American boys who are gradually eliminated in number via one circumstance after another--most utterly horrid-- choking to death, chopping himself in half, being crushed by a bear, being swallowed by a red herring, etc, ending with the last boy sadly living all alone, a circumstance he happily remedies by getting married.
Originally published in 1868 under the Title of “The Ten Little Indians,” this poem was used during minstrel shows, which oftentimes were traveling acts, performed by white actors in blackface following the Civil War. The following year, the poem was adapted to this overtly horrid, racist rendition, replacing the word Indians with “Nigger” in both minstrel shows, printed sheet music, and children’s nursery rhyme books. This version married the stereotypes of violence and ignorance within the African-American population with the intent of "villain-izing" freed, black males while simultaneously allowing violent acts to befall the black characters portrayed in the rhyme.
This 113 year old book remains in all-original, very good condition with no alterations or repairs. Original binding and stitching remain quite tight and intact. Illustrated by R. J. (James) Williams, the interior illustrations remain very brightly colored. Pages present varying degrees of very light soiling, light foxing, and yellowing of linen, commensurate with age. Some pages also show subtle water staining that has not impacted cloth integrity. No tears or rips to fabric.
This book is in truly remarkable condition for its age and in consideration of its all-cloth construction. This title is very RARELY found in today's market and is an absolute cornerstone piece in any serious Black Memorabilia collection!
To view other versions of this book presently available for separate purchase, please type the words "ten little" into the SEARCH box on our home page.
Detailing in construction sets this mammy doll apart! Her creation was very carefully executed through a combination of hand and machine stitching. Mammy was lovingly dressed in clothing made from old, red, black, and white-patterned handkerchiefs, while both her body and her interesting pair of black pantaloons were constructed of old, black stockings. Detailing was clearly important to the creator--an additional and elegant surprise is the cream-colored, cotton petticoat edged with lace!
Mammy's face is hand-embroidered, and she wears brass-colored, plain, hoop earrings. Her body is machine-stitched together and is stuffed with cotton batting.
Mammy is in near perfect condition with the exception of minor wear (not holes) to her stocking-constructed left foot as well as the underside of her right, stocking-constructed hand. (This wear to the fabric may well be the very reason the stockings were used to construct Mammy as they may have been discarded from personal use. Please refer to photos to view wear.)
Mammy is simply full of charm with lovely and creative detailing! A quite difficult-to-find-in-this condition, 80+-year-old, cloth mammy doll!
Poster reads further: "Benefit- Pals Bible Club-Elm Street Baptist Church". "Directed by Churchill Traylor". Features a very sweet Black Minstrel caricature graphic! It is believed that this event took place in the Petersburg, Virginia area.
Fine condition with very subtle age-related edge tears that do not interfere with image. Would look just wonderful framed!!
This 1920-30s, hinged, wooden game piece box features an original, hand-executed, ink-on-paper drawing of a black figure in a tuxedo that has been pasted to the box cover. The drawing has been preserved with a shellac covering.
The box contains fifty, sequentially numbered 1-50, wooden game pieces painted red and white. The game pieces are in mint condition and appear to have only been lightly used. They remain firmly in place within the box with the support of non-stick, archival tape which may be easily removed without damage to the game pieces, if desired.
The game box measures 5.25 inches wide x 10.50 inches long x 1 inch high.
Truly a one-of-a-kind piece of vintage Black Memorabilia! Displays wonderfully!
In very nice condition with minor scratches to paint here and there as seen in photos, this wind-up toy works, but can be a little fussy. Given its 100+ years of age, a bit of fussiness in the mechanism is not atypical or unexpected. Marked "TOMBO" Alabama Coon Jigger Trademark Strauss Mfg Co New York USA; US Patent May 24, 1910. The figure, itself, is 8.25 inches high.
This fabulous toy is a CLASSIC MUST-HAVE for the avid Black Memorabilia Toy collector!
This sweet little pop-eyed character was recently acquired from the artist's daughter who stated that her mother made the puppet for her in the late 1950's.
With hands and head constructed of papier mache and a machine-stitched cotton body, this 10.50 inch long puppet sat for years in a doll cabinet seeing minimal childhood play. The body is very lightly soiled from dust with some seam separation at each shoulder (see photo). The hands and head have acquired a bit of a crackled look due to age; however, there are no flakes or missing pieces.
He has a darling "look" and would make a whimsical addition to one's folk art, puppet or doll collection. This hand-made piece is a truly one-of-a-kind creation!
Both of these colorful brushes have natural bristles with the Porter measuring 7.5 inches high and the Mammy measuring 6.5 inches high.
The Railroad Porter brush has minor paint wear to his cream colored pant legs, to the edges of his cream colored hat and also has some very teeny paint wear spots round his eyes. The Porter's ear is consistent with where one would hold onto the brush while using it.
The Mammy brush is in near excellent condition with little evidence of having ever been used. Love the expression on her face! If one carefully separates the natural bristles, it is evident that at one time they were dyed green to match her bodice, but have lost their applied color with the passing of time.
Please note that the white spots seen in the photos are lighting reflections and are NOT areas of missing paint. If one looks closely, the teeny areas of missing paint can be distinguished from the light reflections.
The Mammy brush is priced at $85, the Porter priced at $70.
Please take the time to peruse our second grouping a Mammy and Porter brushes, listed separately.
This wonderful Depression Era piece features a whimsical 10 inch long cutout figure of a little wooden black mammy with hand-painted “surprised” mouth and eyes! She is dressed in a machine-stitched cotton costume with great yellow ric-rac accenting —a wonderful kerchief on her head, and a cute little apron.
Her feet feature two brass-finish hooks, presumably to either hang keys or pot holders from. Overall condition is fine with minor paint wear to her face as seen in photos--typical of a 70 year-old-piece.
One of my favorite hand-made pieces with true folk art appeal!
As the backside paper label displays a 5 digit zip code, this product was produced in 1963 or later. I purchased this piece from a Texas collector of Black Memorabilia for my own personal collection in about 2007. The seller stated that at one time this product was readily and prolifically available in her area, up until the late 1960s - early 1970s.
The bottle is in very fine condition with age-related creasing to the front paper label as evidenced in the photos.
While newer in age than pieces I typically collect and/or sell, I found this piece to be culturally unique enough to be worthy to collect and then offer for sale. I have never seen another!!!!
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 particular figure is known as The Banjo Player and is actually quite rare and very difficult to find in today's collectible market, likely because there were not as many Banjo players crafted as opposed to the more commonly found Vargas cotton pickers or praline sellers.
Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features. The Banjo Player wears a tan hat with black band, a green flowered neck scarf, a red and yellow patterned shirt and textured, loose-fitting black pants- with all but the hat constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen them. He supports all of his weight on his back left leg while propping his right leg up upon an actual wooden log as he plays! His wax body is internally supported by a wire frame through which the figure is attached to the wooden base via his left leg.
This wonderful figure is in very fine condition for his 85+ years of age with the following imperfections: missing left-hand fingers (an unfortunate, but extremely common consequence of time), and the most obvious imperfection being a missing section of his hat brim. It is evident that the banjo has been re-glued into position over the years---a situation which does not surprise me given that the banjo is only supported by the left hand and propped upon the right leg--not a very secure position from a constructional viewpoint.
Regardless of his minor imperfections, this VARGAS figure would be classified as in FINE condition. Wax is a very delicate and fragile medium in which to work, and some loss is expected given that these figures are fast approaching 100+ years of age. The banjo player's brilliantly executed face with open mouth filled with song, his realistic and intact banjo complete with all original strings, and his incredibly natural and realistic pose remains a most delightful snapshot of C1920 New Orleans African American cultural history!
Please note- photos were taken in interior natural light. The first two photos best represent true, actual color. Any white or light spots on the figure are a result of light glare and are not reflective of discoloration or fading.
She has a muslin, machine-stitched body which is stuffed with sawdust. Her feet are black cotton. Upper arms are also stuffed muslin with composition forearms.
Her curly-haired head is molded composition; eyes, nostrils, and lips are handpainted-- note the BLUE EYES!!
She wears a muslin slip under a Victorian styled, machine-stitched, tiered ruffled dress. Her clothing has been professionally laundered but does remain darkened with age in some areas- the photos make these dark areas appear more prominent than they are when viewed by the naked eye.
Condition: Difficult to photograph due to camera glare off the composition, her head remains in pristine, all original condition- no repaint- with just a couple of very teeny white flecks here and there! The breastplate has an old glue repair which appears to be quite solid. The repair is not visible unless the doll is undressed. Superficial wear to each thumb is evident as is seen in photos. No cracking or peeling to composition. She was very well cared for over the years!
A very lovely and rare Black doll!
Fine detailing hallmarks this 11.25 inch tall doll. She is dressed in a black native costume -- all handsewn with yellow and black beads, and is adorned with a matching double-strand beaded necklace and single-strand beaded bracelet along with gold hoop earrings. Her lips, as well as the baby's, are painted red and both have inset life-like, plastic eyes. Her hands swivel at the wrists; her arms and legs are jointed at shoulder and hip, respectively.
No identifying marks are evident; clothing is securely attached and could not be easily removed for a further look.
Condition is excellent with the exception of damaged toes on the right foot.
Measuring approximately 12.5 long x 7.75 wide, this extraordinary and historical document is handwritten and appears to have been scribed by an individual other than the slave owner, Richard Dunn, as Mr. Dunn's signature is simply a "mark" labeled as such with his first and last name scribed around his "mark". The document is in excellent condition save the fold marks; this document clearly has been stored in this folded state for the past 170 years. It is suitable and ready for archival preservation- appropriate acid-free backing and matting materials with framing.
The text of the document is as follows:
"Know all men by these present that whereas my negro woman named Eliza having a strong desire for freedom and so I Richard Dunn of the county of Knox and the state of Tennessee being in possession of said woman Eliza and three children named William, Nancy and Mary Elizabeth. Now this is to show that I the said Richard Dunn for and in consideration of a certain sum of money to me in hand paid to my full and perfect satisfaction do hereby renounce my own right the right of my heirs or the right or claim of all manner of persons whosoever the said Eliza and her heirs forever to have and enjoy all the rights and privileges of a free white citizen so far as the laws of the state will permit and with regard to the law in such case made and provided it is necessary to have such matters attended to in open court I hereby (if it should not be done in my lifetime) make it obligatory in my heirs executors or administrators (as the case may be) to have the freedom of the above named woman and her children secured to them forever so as to enjoy all the rights and privileges of free white citizens so far as the law of the land will permit."
"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 7th day of Nov. one thousand eight hundred and forty nine."
Signed, sealed ?GC?.
in presence of us,
Richard Dunn his mark
Truly an extraordinarily rare piece of historical ephemera documenting a tiny light shining within a very dark period in American history. One can only be hopeful that Eliza and her three children one day achieved the freedom that this document promised.