Text indicates that the certificate was awarded to Emma Shannon on June 12, 1885 (Or 1883--difficult to read as the date is partially concealed under the frame edge). The certificate recognizes that Emma excelled in Latin, Arithmetic, History of France, Rhetoric, and English Literature. Signed by W. P. Dickinson, President of the Faculty.
With the exception of early fold lines, a water stain in the upper left corner, and two small circular age stains on the lower left and within the word "distinction", condition is quite nice! Measures 16.25 inches X 12.25 inches framed. The piece is framed in wood and is grain-painted in brown and black tones with cream-toned, chip-carved stems and leaves at each of the four corners. Original wood backing remains in place.
Manufactured by FOSTA Products, this highly sought after piece of Black Memorabilia shows some wear to the gold lettered word, “RECIPES”, although the majority of the paint remains intact. Small paint rubs are present here and there on Aunt Jemima’s face as seen in photos. The tiny plastic knob on the left side of the box that acts as a hinge for the cover is missing, but this minor imperfection detracts little from the fabulous color contrast and visual appeal of this delightful and essential, vintage piece of early 50’s Black Americana!
Please see the RED Aunt Jemima Fosta Recipe Box available for purchase separately.
Vividly colored, this Black Memorabilia themed piece features a smiling black girl seated on a large straw basket while holding 2, smaller-sized, flower-filled straw baskets in each arm. The young girl is nicely attired in a ruffled blue and yellow dress and wears red sandals, white lacy gloves, and a rose-accented, straw bonnet!
The diecut is in excellent condition! An unusual find!
”Black Topsy” is dressed in a striking pink, green, orange, and black cotton, geometric-patterned dress- very Art Deco! Her mouth and nostrils are stitched in red thread and she has white pearl button eyes.
The Caucasian doll is dressed in a cotton lavender dress- also with a geometric, Art Deco pattern in black, green and yellow. Her blouse and bandanna are lavender sateen. Her entire face has been finely stitched. She has pink nostrils and mouth, black eyebrows, and her black stitched eyes have pretty lashes that highlight her silvery gray irises! She has the very palest of staining to her face above her nostrils, but it is barely noticeable, and there is some light fading to her sateen bandanna.
Condition and detailing of both sides of this Topsy Turvy is really quite extraordinary, setting her apart from other Topsy’s!! A wonderful addition to one’s doll or Black Memorabilia collection!
The Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Recipe Booklet, 33 pages, measures 5.50" long x 3.25" wide, and was published by Church & Dwight Co. of New York City in 1925, with recipes compiled by the principal of Miss Farmer's School of Cookery, Boston, Massachusetts. It is in wonderful condition with no missing pages, and just the teeniest edge-rip on front cover near the top staple--so teeny that I nearly missed it! Some minor age-related foxing noted. Bound together tightly by two original staples. Fabulously colored and detailed front and back covers. .
The Swan's Down Cake Flour Booklet measures 7" long x 4.50" wide, and was published by Igleheart Bros of Evansville, Indiana in 1922. The cover of this booklet shows more wear than its offered companion, all wear appropriate for the age of the item. The booklet is bound by the original staples which remain very tight and intact. There is edge wear to covers as well as crease lines and scuffing. While the front cover is rather nondescript, the interior pages feature multiple, colored drawings of various, luscious confections as well as the company's history, a table of weights and measures, and an index. Interior pages have yellowed a bit from age and a couple pages here and there are stained presumably by ingredients as the particular recipes were being concocted.
Would love to try out a couple of these vintage recipes myself!
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.
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!
A much-beloved children's classic written in the early 1900's by Englishwoman, Helen Bannerman, for her two young daughters while they lived in India, Sambo, in the original tale, was an Indian boy and not an African-American child. He was converted over time to this race, however, by subsequent story tellers and illustrators. This age-old tale tells of Little Black Sambo and his frightening tiger encounter, which fortunately, has a happy ending!
Condition is a 9.5 out of 10! This book has seen very little use with just a teeny bit of wear to book edge points. The front and back inside covers appear to have 2 tape mark-like, rectangular stains that occurred during manufacture and were not the result of anyone placing clear tape inside the book as this "stain" spans front and back at the binding seam.
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!
This wonderful piece is unmarked but is documented in numerous guides as the Black Chef cookie jar made in the 1940's by the National Silver Company. It likely once had a "NASCO" foil label on its base which dried up and fell off over the course of the jar's lifetime.
Fabulous cobalt blue accenting makes this cookie jar quite striking in its appearance. A great display piece!
As stated, the cookie jar remains in all original condition-- a rarity for a cookie jar of this vintage! Please take the time to view all photos as they represent condition quite nicely. Glaze crazing typical to the age of this 60+ year old piece is evident as well as small surface flakes present here and there along lid cover edge- a very common site for flakes/chips on any lidded ceramic piece given that the lid was continually taken on and off during use and thus easily subject to damage. A single superficial hairline occurring during firing can be seen on the interior base; it does not go through to the exterior.
It is quite rare to find a vintage cookie jar in such fine overall condition! Reproductions abound on today's market, but authentic pieces such as this are quite scarce and are truly collecting treasures when discovered!
The litho was executed by John Karst with his signature appearing in the lower left hand corner. Highly detailed, the litho reproduces a bustling New Orleans' dock scene featuring numerous slaves at work.
This litho was professionally re-framed using museum-quality, acid-free materials in 2004. The frame is a classic styled, black painted, beaded, hardwood accented with a dark rose, acid-free mat.
A fascinating glimpse into life on the docks of the Mississippi River at New Orleans!
Please note that any white spots or streaking appearing in photos are the result of light reflection and are not damage to the litho.
This type of display would have been placed on the counter next to the checkout register with the gum and candy to entice little girls and boys to purchase!
The display box cover features a city policeman demonstrating the authentic and powerful amplitude of the whistles. The cover has a perforated seam that was meant to be unfastened when the box was displayed open so that the policeman and city skyline stood tall above the whistles. The cover has yet to be displayed in this manner.
Marked ALL AMERICAN PLASTIC WHISTLES with no other maker’s mark evident. Very Cool and Colorful Baby Boomer Collectible!
Mammy's head and body are actually constructed of a single wooden clothespin that was then inserted into her cotton-batting-padded skirt. Her face is hand-painted, she has a tuft of white cotton batting hair peeking out from her kerchief, and her apron is stamped in black ink "Souvenir of New Orleans".
A very sweet piece to add to one's sewing or doll collection!
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.
Professionally matted and framed some many years back, this lovely piece of wall art measures 10.5 inches wide x 13.5 inches long and remains in excellent original condition! Any discoloration, facing of color or reflection seen in photos is related to the difficulty photographing an object under glass and is NOT an imperfection to the piece.
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!
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.
The female figure is known as the Praline Seller as her business was to sell freshly made Pralines, a candy confection composed of Louisiana cane sugar and pecans. Her straw, woven basket contains four Praline cookies or flatbreads.
The male figure is known as the grapevine and/or alligator seller. The grapevines are tied in a large bundle on his back which he also supports using the rope in his right hand, while leading a young alligator along in his left.
Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features.
The Praline Seller wears a vividly colorful array of different pattern fabrics which work to comprise her eye-catching costume. Atop her head, she wears a large, green and red polka dot bandanna that allows a bit of her wildly-curly, dark hair to peek through, with a solid yellow bandanna tied around her neck. Her her red, cream and blue patterned blouse and skirt are partially protected by a rather sedate, cream-colored apron. All of her clothing is constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen it. She carries her basket of pralines on her right arm, while holding a piece of paper in her right hand. A written price list, perhaps? In her left hand she carries a reed duster to keep the flies off of her confections!
The Grapevine/Alligator also wears fabric clothing coated in wax. His pink, white and blue patterned bandanna is tied around his neck and worn over a red, blue and yellow plaid shirt and blue denim pants. He is missing his hat-- perhaps, the alligator ate it?! He holds onto the gator's rope in his left hand while trying to balance the huge mound of grapevine on his back via a rope end clutched in his right hand.
The figures' wax bodies are internally supported by wire frames through which the figures are securely attached to the wooden base. The bottom of each base retains its original stamp which reads, "Genuine VARGAS New Orleans, LA".
These wonderful figures are in near mint condition for their 75+ years of age. The Praline Seller perhaps has lost a couple of her pralines from her basket over the years, an insignificant detail, or perhaps her basket was never meant to be filled to indicate that she had already successfully made some sales! The Grapevine/Alligator is missing his hat as noted earlier, as well as two of his fingers on his left hand, a common injury as they are so very, very thin and inherently fragile. The young Alligator is missing the tip of his tail and the tip of the top of his mouth, again, two very thin pieces of wax which were vulnerable to easily breaking off.
Please note that the Vargas figures are priced $795.00 EACH.
Constructed of tin with a cardboard lithographed image and a glass cover, this game is backed with its original mirror. The puzzle is in all-original condition with the lithographed graphic remaining free of scratches and abrasions. The glass is rippled but is not damaged as it remains smooth to the touch. A "defective" piece of glass was likely just simply chosen for use. The mirror shows some tiny bits of loss to silvering 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!
All are marked "JAPAN", measure approximately 3 inches in height, have great color and are in excellent condition! Please see photos for detail shots!
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.
Featuring a double heart motif, the advertising slogan spouts, "When Two Hearts Beat As One, It's Time To Buy Your Furniture From "Old Reliable" Petersburg Furniture Company, "Petersburg's Oldest Furniture Store!
Neat mid-20th-century advertising piece in very fine original condition!
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!
It features a vintage, EARLY HOLOGRAM IMAGE, a “moving” Court Jester or Clown, who in a gallant sweeping motion, removes his broad-rimmed hat and takes a grand bow. (Tilt pin slightly to make Jester move.)
Colors: bright, buttery yellow background, jester in dark fuchsia, green and white, and lettering and metal pin back frame in red.
Condition: quite nice for its 60 years of age with light, expected wear to red paint at rim edges and back. NOTE: The piece of tape shown in pics is not part of the pin or attached to it, but was used to prop the piece up to display the moving images.
All seven of these colorful brushes have natural bristles, and range in height from 7.5 inches and 8 inches tall to the smaller, 4.5 inches tall, green and red-dressed little Mammy brushes.
The three black railroad porter brushes, the large red Mammy brush with cloth bow and the small red Mammy brush are all in near excellent condition with evidence of having been very lightly used as described:
Blue Porter with Cream colored pants: teeny, superficial "dings" to paint here and there with one teeny mark between the eyes.
Black and Cream Porter: teeny, superficial "dings" to paint here and there with one teeny mark near the mouth; paint wear to edges of cap.
Yellow Porter: paint wear primarily to right side of face and top of cap.
Large Red Mammy with Cloth Bow: paint in excellent condition with a couple tiny rubs here and there. Natural bristles have faint trace of original red painted dots to natural bristle skirt.
Small Red Mammy: paint in excellent condition; faint trace of original red dots on natural bristle skirt.
The following two brushes are also in very nice, barely used condition with minor imperfection as described below:
Large Red Mammy with hand-painted bow: brush has seen a little more use than the others(see photos)- very minor paint wear from use to Mammy's back. Black paint drip to collar area. Natural bristles dyed red.
Small Green Mammy: green cap and blouse, small, 4.5" tall --in very good condition with exception to paint striation on face that occurred during manufacture (close-up photo makes this appear more prominent than what is seen with the eye).
Please note that many of the white spots seen in the photos are light 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 taller brushes are all priced at $85 each. The smaller, 4.5", green and red-dressed mammy brushes are priced at $60 each.
Please take the time to peruse our second grouping a Mammy and Porter brushes, listed separately.
Measuring 13.25 inches wide x 9.25 inches high x 1 inch thick, this wonderful piece patented February 16, 1886, is in very fine condition with a warm, rich patina and color as well as all 56 of its original wooden letters! To spell a word, one slides the letters along cut out tracks in the board.
Quite visually appealing!
Condition: three of the 1/8th inch thick, round, wooden letters suffered partial breakage at one point in time, but these letters continue to remain quite structurally sound and "readable". Some tiny edge chips to the wood- quite reasonable given its age.
A seldom found vintage, early School House item!
Colors are extraordinarily vivid, a fabulous display piece -retains original cardboard backing and original stand, but, alas, no game darts! The darts are extraordinarily rare and are seldom found!
Present are minor surface blemishes, surface scratches, some surface rust specks, as well as minor edge crimps that one would expect of a 90+ year old toy -all of which fail to detract from the fabulously bold visual imagery of this piece! (The most prominent scratch is on Sambo's target.)
To see all of the Little Black Sambo items currently available for sale, simply type “Sambo” into the search box on our website homepage.
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.
This diminutive tin case is painted black with gold accenting and gold lettering present on the front of the case. The black paint shows reasonable wear given its 130+ years of age with the majority of wear evident along seam lines and at the base. The gold painting on the front of the case remains quite nice with very small areas of unobtrusive paint loss present (please see all photos). This tin case was clearly well cared for over the years.
The case contains three, pull-out, tin drawers with tiny, circular, loop pulls at the ends, that when slid out, reveal 15 separate compartments designed to hold the corked, glass, sample bottles. Fourteen bottles remain present, all of which are original to the case. The bottles advertise the spices and perfume waters that the Loverin and Browne Company manufactured for wholesale purchase by various independent groceries. The base of each bottle sits on a spring which would have facilitated secure storage during travel.
An interesting addition to one's advertisement collection! Very easy to display with great visual appeal!
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.
This piece is very much reminiscent of Johnny Griffin items with the exception of the intact, broad-rimmed hat on this piece versus the torn rim typically seen on all "named" Johnny Griffin pieces.
This circa 1920-30's novelty piece is constructed in solid brass, is hefty in weight, and was likely used as an ash tray given its tobacco leaf design/theme. The "Johnny Griffin-like" head of the young African-American boy that serves as the centerpiece of this wonderful piece, was molded separately and screwed into place. The screw is concealed under an original brass cap, done purely for esthetics.
The piece is in all original condition with the delightful, warm, rich, golden patina of old brass- not a reproduction- no replaced parts- and measures 7 inches long x 4 1/2 inches wide. It does not retain any markings, and country of origin is unknown, although likely of European origin.
A very seldom found Tobacciana piece of Black Memorabilia, that indeed pairs well with Johnny Griffin items!
To view all of the Johnny Griffin items currently available for sale, simply type “Johnny Griffin” into the search box on our web home page.
This rarely found copy was written and illustrated by the renowned author of a number of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy stories of the period, Johnny Gruelle. The book was published in both the United States and Great Britain in 1926, by the P.F. Volland Company of Joliet, Illinois.
This copy has superficial scratches to the front and back covers, wear on book cover edges, inside cover has a small black marker smear, inside front & back covers have minor soiling here and there(see photos). The binding is super-tight and all pages remain very clean and present.
The book is eleven chapters in length, approximately 88 unnumbered pages. Book is filled with a variety of wonderful black-ink and full-color illustrations as represented in photos. PLEASE NOTE: in the photos, the printing seems somewhat light and faded- not so! It is merely the function of over-lighting or light reflection.
A wonderful and truly RARE book not to be missed--- it currently lists in Black Memorabilia books at $200-250!
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!
The bisque was likely made in Japan and then shipped to the USA for assembly as a Southern States souvenir piece. In wonderful condition with just the tiniest bit of wear to the paint here and there--appears to have never been used as a pincushion.
This circa 1900-1910 Johnny Griffin item is a double image still bank that features 2 images of Johnny's head placed back-to-back. It was manufactured by the A.C. Williams Company of Ravenna, Ohio, which at the turn of the 20th century and up until World War II, was the largest toy and still bank manufacturer in the world. (At the start of WWII, production declined sharply as iron was needed for military consumption, marking the end of an era.) The bank is constructed of cast iron in two pieces which unscrew to facilitate the emptying of coins. There is a coin slot at the top of Johnny's head for use in depositing the coins. This sweet bank remains functional for banking use today or may be simply used as an attractive desk paperweight!
It is in all original condition with delightful patina- not a reproduction- and measures 3 inches high x 2 1/2 inches wide. It retains traces of the original gold leaf paint and may (or may not!) have a replaced screw.
The Johnny Griffin image- in the arena of Black Americana collectibles- should form the cornerstone of any serious Black Memorabilia collection!
To see all of the Johnny Griffin items currently available for sale, simply type “Johnny Griffin” into the search box on our web home page.
Labeled #298, "Native Cane Grinders in Sunny Florida", the scene depicts 7 young Black men either chewing on a sugar cane stalk or holding a sugar cane cutting implement.
Printed on the back of the card is a brief history of sugar cane cultivation from its origins in 500 AD China to its introduction in the US in 1675 by the Jesuits. The harvesting process is also discussed.
Mammy’s sweet little face has been carefully hand-stitched, and she has been nicely dressed in a red and green plaid dress with linen apron and red flowered head scarf. She holds a bunch of sticks in her right arm- presumably to add to a fire.
Condition of this wonderful miniature Mammy is excellent! Oftentimes, the nipple dries up and deteriorates, so finding a nipple doll in such fine condition is truly a treat!
Remaining in its original frame with original wooden and paper backing, this watercolor retains its framer's identifying sticker which reads, "Staton's Art Shop 5409 Germantown Ave." Perhaps this Germantown address indicates Philadelphia area origin? In the interests of proper conservation, the new owner should re-frame this lovely piece with appropriate acid-free materials.
Please ignore any white streaks seen in photos; these are the result of light reflection off of the glass.
A lovely watercolor- nicely executed!
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!!!!
Measuring 1.5 inches long x 1 inch wide, this sharpener depicts a derogatory caricature of a Black Man. The glaring eyes are painted a stark white with teeny black pupils, while the red painted lips surround the pencil sharpener blade which takes the place of the man's teeth. Curly molded hair and eyebrows are painted black, while the face is painted brown- inside and out.
The pencil sharpener is stamped GERMANY on the back inside.
Condition is very good with approximately 75% (a conservative estimate) of the original paint remaining. There is no repaint! The paint is worn in expected areas, with the majority of paint wear seen on the sides of the face and bottom of the chin where one would grasp the sharpener. Facial feature paint is strong.
Germany apparently made a good steel blade as the sharpener still works!
A stunning and very visually striking piece, it is labeled on back, "Fredericksburg Art Pottery USA", a pottery once located in Fredericksburg, Ohio, manufacturing between 1939-49. The back has 2 original hanging holes for placement on a wall.
Truly in wonderful, vintage condition with no cracks, chips, repairs or repaint! A fabulous addition to one's Black Americana collection!
Please note that the natural outdoor lighting used to photograph this piece has amplified the white paint flecking --the teeny white spots really show up more in these photos than on the actual piece in an indoor setting--- photo number one gives an accurate depiction of appearance.
The child’s head nods up and down in a "yes" motion by pivoting on a tiny metal bar inserted through her neck (see photos).
Condition is mint, and the piece is signed on the bottom of her right foot: “Hand Painted Lenwile China Ardalt Japan 6530 B”.
Black nodders are quite difficult to come by and have become an interesting sub-collecting category in the field of Black Americana! Not to be missed!
Please see the equally-difficult-to-find companion piece also available - the Black Boy Child Clown Nodder by Ardalt, Japan!!!
Text indicates that this early diploma was awarded to Mr. O. P. Sarle on January 5, 1859. This “Certificate of Approval” found him qualified “with respect to Learning Utility and Moral Character” to not only teach but administer as Principal at the Grammar School Grade for “one year unless sooner revoked by the board”. Signed by five individuals constituting the Examining Board and the President of the Superintendent of Schools.
Measures 14 inches X 16.5 inches. Labeled lower left corner: "Fishbourne's Litho. Ohio Street San Francisco". With the exception of early fold lines, condition is mint!
Mammy's wonderful, smiling face is hand-stitched and her clothes are machine sewn. Her blouse is seersucker, and her head, arms, skirt, apron, and cap are cotton. Her head, arms, and upper torso are stuffed with cotton batting. The natural bristle broom fills out both Mammy's torso and skirt & the wooden broom handle extends upward through her neck and head.
Mammy is in all original condition with no mends or repairs. The structural integrity of the broom remains quite sound, and Mammy, herself, is free of holes and tears. Her once-red skirt has now faded to pink. Her white cotton apron and cap have been cleaned removing nearly all traces of old stains, dirt, and dust. Photo number 2 shows her outfit BEFORE cleaning; all other photos reflect her appearance after cleaning.
A fabulous piece of vintage Black Americana, and a seldom seen form of the Black Mammy Doll!
A brief history of the Negro League:
African Americans first began to play baseball in the late 1800s on military teams, college teams, and company teams, eventually finding their way to the established professional baseball teams of white players. However, racism and “Jim Crow” laws would force African Americans from these teams by 1900, with black players left to form their own teams.
In 1920, an organized league structure was formed under the guidance of Andrew “Rube” Foster, a former player, manager, and owner for the Chicago American Giants. In a meeting held at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, Mo., Foster and several other Midwestern team owners joined to form the Negro National League. Soon, rival leagues formed in Eastern and Southern states, which brought black baseball to major urban centers and to rural countrysides in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. The Leagues maintained a high level of professional skill and inspired economic development in many black communities.
In 1945, when Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers recruited Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs, Robinson became the first African American in the modern era to play on a Major League roster. While this historic event was a key moment in baseball and civil rights history, it marked the decline of the Negro Leagues. The best black players began to be recruited for the Major Leagues with their black fans following them, and the last Negro Leagues teams folded in the early 1960s.
This fabulous advertising piece is made of papier mache’, is painted black, and sports cream-colored lettering on both sides of the hat.
The firm of Julius Kessler Dist. Co., Inc., in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, originated in 1888 and created an American blended whiskey known for its silky smoothness!
The condition of this fab piece is very, very good given its 115++ years of age, with some areas of paint loss and wear (mostly to the top of the hat which is the surface that actually serves as the base for this piece). No structural weakness or damage to the papier mache- a very solid piece that displays beautifully!!
Measures 12”L x 9.5”W x 6”H. An eye-catching, visually appealing, early display advertisement!!
In very nice condition with minor scratches to paint here and there as seen in photos, this wind-up toy works, but the mechanism does have the tendency to stick a little. Marked J. Chein.
A must-have for the avid Black Memorabilia Toy collector!
This pleasant trio of Sapolio Soap diecuts is in excellent condition and comes protected in an attractive, walnut-toned, oak decorative frame!
Quite visually appealing!
Taken right out of her sewing room where it had hung for decades on the wall, the black and gold sign, which is painted on a heavy particle-type board, has a very lovely, warm, aged patina. It was very difficult to photograph as the black background paint readily picked up the slightest light source. The very first photograph most accurately depicts the color and appearance of this piece. Any white glare in any of the photographs should be completely disregarded, as both the color and tone of the sign are quite uniform.
Measuring 24" wide x 6" long, the sign has three eyelet-type holes in each of three corners (one corner is missing) to facilitate hanging. It comes with a heavy, ancient piece of wire that was used to hang the sign in the seller's home.
As noted in the close-up photos, the sign has its share of surface rubs, scratches, paint edge wear and three of the four corner edges missing-- all appropriate examples of wear for a well-used sign that is nearly 100 years old! Close examination of the sign suggests that the background was painted completely black first and then the gold edge-work and lettering were stenciled on top of the black background.
Just LOVE the look of this sign!
Unmarked, the toy was likely produced in post WWII Germany. It is in wonderful, barely-used condition with just the tiniest degree of scratching wherever metal rubs metal during toy movement. To operate the toy, one simply squeezes the metal lever on the back, which causes the woman to hit the poor monkey on the head with a mallet!
A RARE toy with crisp color and which displays wonderfully!
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."
The banks may be purchased as a pair for $425.00, or they may be separately purchased as follows: Mammy with Spoon $295.00 and Black Man Darkey Sharecropper $225.
The Mammy with a Spoon measures 5 7/8 inches high and was produced between 1905 and 1930. She retains much of her original paint and exudes a warm, rich patina commensurate with a well-loved antique of approximately 100 years of age. She wears a blue dress, black shoes, a silver apron and a red kerchief that still retains some of its white polka dots. Mammy holds a gold-colored spoon in her right hand while placing her left hand firmly on her hip. Mammy means business!
The Black Man Darkey Sharecropper measures 5 1/2 inches high and was manufactured from 1901 to 1930. He retains most of his original paint showing less paint wear than Mammy and also exudes a very warm, rich patina. He wears black pants with red suspenders and a gold hat and gold shirt with red collar. He wears black shoes; however, his left black shoe is worn through at the toes, resulting in all five toes peeking out! He stands casually with his hands in his pocket. His back screw, while an old one, is a replacement.
Mammy and the Darkey Sharecropper were clearly manufactured as companion pieces given their similar size and stance. Both stand freely and would make wonderful additions to the well-curated, antique, Black Americana collection.
Mammy's wonderful, smiling face is all hand-stitched while her clothes are machine sewn. Her blouse is striped cotton, as are Mammy's head, arms, skirt, apron, and cap. Her head, arms, and upper torso have been stuffed with cotton batting. The natural bristle broom fills out both Mammy's torso and skirt & the wooden broom handle extends upward through her neck and head.
Mammy is in all original condition with no mends or repairs. The structural integrity of the broom remains quite sound. Mammy's white cotton apron and cap have been professionally cleaned, removing nearly all traces of old stains, dirt, and dust.
A fabulous piece of vintage Black Americana, and a seldom seen form of the Black Mammy Doll!
Text indicates that the diploma was awarded to Josephine Downey on October 21, 1899, and certified her to teach the Grammar or Primary Grade for the subsequent 6 years. Signed by Thomas Kirsh, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Secretary.
Further documentation on reverse reads, "Issued on the recommendation of the Board of Education of San Francisco County, in accordance with Section 1521 of the Political Code, upon a first grade or Grammar Grade Certificate of San Francisco County, California, 95% (Josephine’s teacher examination grade).”
With the exception of early fold lines, condition is mint! Measures 14.6 inches X 11.5 inches.
See my other items for an 1892 Teaching Certificate awarded to Josephine's sister, Mary Downey.
Coloring is quite brilliant, and the condition is very fine with appropriate age-related crazing and some tiny, circular, firing imperfections on Mammy's polka dotted scarf as noted in photos. Please note that white marks are flash reflections, not imperfections. Makers mark is noted on the back--- an "E" inside of a crown.
A delightful piece of Black Memorabilia that displays wonderfully on a wall or shelf!
This never-used tote bears the original paper tag which states, "Handmade by African Cripple; Ematupeni / Zimele Cripple Care Centers; Durban, England".
The artistry of the wool felt, hand-appliqued cut-outs featuring a mother and her three children is further enhanced by colorful bead work which was carefully placed for symmetry in design and form! A gorgeous piece of vintage African Artwork!
Measuring 14 long x 14 wide x 2 deep, the bag retains a "brand-new" appearance with no fading, rips, stains, or other blemishes.
Please see the companion "tea cozy" offered for sale and priced separately.
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.
This professionally executed, rare sign measures 29 inches long x 9 inches wide and is in good condition. Areas of light paint loss as seen in the photos and a few minor crimps in the metal, most noted by the corners, are commensurate with age.
An internet search revealed that the club was established over 100 years ago in 1909, although this sign appears to be from the 1940s. A neat find!