The String Holder is stamped "JAPAN" and “Theo Hinode” on the inside of the base (The Hinode Company is the Japanese Ceramic Company.). Mammy has a hole in the center of her chest area, just above her folded hands, to accommodate the string which would be pulled from the ball of string placed inside her body from the back of the piece. This wonderful piece even comes complete with vintage hanging string---Mammy has two holes at the back of her head to accommodate this! The entire piece is glazed with the exception of Mammy's red kerchief which is cold-painted (meaning that the paint was applied after firing). As such, this area of paint would be the most vulnerable to wear, and Mammy does have some “bald areas” where the paint has come off her kerchief. Please take a moment to view all photos to ascertain condition and appeal of this fabulous and functional, vintage string holder!
A lovely and colorful piece that can be displayed on a shelf or hanging from the wall!
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!
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 Â¾ inches wide, the photos provide a fine representation of condition. The container is in near-mint condition with a tiny rub here and there, and some very minor wear around the top of the container that likely occurred from simply taking the cover on and off. This wear is completely covered by the cover. The original orange color of the container remains consistent throughout, and the structural integrity of the cardboard is quite sturdy. The original wax bag which held the tobacco remains inside--highly unusual! The container retains most of its paper Federal Revenue Tobacco seal on either side and is dated February 26, 1926, Series 119, a tax stamp which was issued exclusively in 1949. Truly incredible condition given the age and material composition of this piece--- 69 years!!
This very rare tobacco container is just a wonderful example of latter Black Americana advertising and looks even better "in person" than the camera was able to capture with its lens!
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! The Nigger Hair Tobacco container featured in the last photo is currently available. Both pieces may be purchased for the single price of $1195 with no further discounts applicable.
*** Type "tobacco" in our web cover page SEARCH box to locate the NiggerHair tin currently available.
The origin of this sign is unknown, but given its very substantial size and weight, it likely once hung as a directional sign in a major bus or railroad station, designating the "WHITES ONLY" area where African-Americans were required to sit or stand.
The subtly convex sign has had no restoration and remains in all-original condition. It bears areas of paint loss, scratching and superficial rusting (some areas larger in scope than others) typical for its age and use as noted in photos. Please view photos for further assessment of the sign's condition. The age and use-related signs of wear do not impact the physical integrity of the sign and are more than appropriate to the age and purpose of the piece.
An utterly phenomenal, extremely RARE, one-of-a-kind, museum-worthy piece of Black American history!
Please take a moment to view the other "Jim Crow" Segregationist Era signs that I currently have the pleasure of offering.
Featuring a delightful, cartoon-like caricature of a black man, this board is in very good condition with minor edge wear, slight age-discoloration and a teeny missing piece of the front rim of the hat.
An interesting, seldom-found piece of Black Memorabilia!
Please disregard reflections in photos that are due to the presence of protective plastic wrap.
This vintage piece of Black Americana is in wonderful condition absent a very tiny break at the tip of the base (see photo); it is not easily evident that the very extreme edge of the right base is missing a tiny piece.
The frame easily dissassembles into 3 parts for safe shipping and/or storage (see photo).
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.
Marked "Copyright 1924", in the lower left hand corner, this extremely hard-to-find advertising piece measures 10.5 inches wide x 13.5 inches high. Colorful and visually interesting, the heavy cardboard diecut depicts an engaging Uncle Wabash serenely strumming his banjo on his front porch! Guess the message to the consumer was, "Eat one of Uncle Wabash's cupcakes to experience your own little slice of heaven and serenity!"
Condition of this charming piece of Black Historical ephemera is quite good given its 80+ years of age!! Old water staining to bottom of the diecut does little to detract from the piece. Crease line to one cupcake edge. Appropriate age foxing to back.
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.
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.
Measuring 10.75 inches wide x 8.25 inches long, the book has seen gentle use as evidenced by the fairly good condition of the little boys' heads which, while providing visual interest, are primarily present to allow easy turning of each page. Given this purpose, neck creasing and edge wear is expected and evident. Corner and edge wear of front and back boards is present, as is a brown oval stain on the front board near the word "little". Front and back covers are constructed of heavy cardboard, the pages of heavier stock paper. Both the front and back boards evidence age discoloration and some foxing, and a bit of vintage staining from handling on the back board.
The book retains its brilliant, bright, crayon-box-like colors. The book has ten pages with alternating color and black and white illustrations as noted in photos. I did not have sufficient space to post photos of all pages, but those present are representative of overall condition. Some pages evidence foxing, but all pages are free of rips and creasing. The binding is tight and the book retains its original, red, binding spiral.
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 villainizing freed black males while simultaneously allowing violence acts to befall the black characters portrayed in the rhyme.
This 1942 version having changed the derogatory term nigger to that of colored (equally derogatory), also depicts a somewhat tempered portrayal of the violence befalling the characters as compared to earlier versions of the rhyme.
Ten little colored boys sitting in a line; one slid off the roof, then there were nine.
Nine little colored boys fished with worms for bait; one fell in the river, then there were eight.
Eight little colored boys flying up to heaven; one tried to parachute, then there were seven.
Seven little colored boys doing circus tricks; one teased an elephant, then there were six.
Six little colored boys found honey in a hive; one tried to pet a bee, then there were five.
Five little colored boys heard a lion roar; One didn't run in time, then there were four.
Four little colored boys started out to ski; One hit a snowman, then there were three.
Three little colored boys cooked some chicken stew; One ate the pot-ful, then there were two.
Two little colored boys playing with a gun; Thought it wasn't loaded, then there was one.
One little colored boy thought it would be fun to settle down and marry, then there was none.
He had a family of colored boys and then, before very long, there were ten of them again.
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.
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!
Completed in silk thread on early, thick, pressed paper canvas, the diminutive, 1 5/8 x 2 3/4 inch piece of needlework remains stitched onto the original, 1 ¾ x 8 inch long, deep red satin banding. Standing on deep red ground, the black boy wears pale green and black striped clothing.
This wonderful, early piece of Black Americana needlework remains in excellent, original condition. At some point in time, a previous owner matted and framed the piece to allow for both ease of display and protection; however, to meet archival requirements, the piece requires a replacement of its current cardboard backing, and spacer bars separating the needlework from the glass should be added. Framed measurements are 4.5 inches wide x 11 inches long.
A phenomenally rare piece for the advanced Black Memorabilia collector!
It is difficult to photograph glass without reflection- please note that any aberrations are reflections only.
The sides of the rattle shackle are constructed of lateral “pockets” each containing one small, iron orb that would “rattle” when the wearer would move about.
Because this particular type of rattle shackle does not have iron loops or openings to “thread” iron chain through, it would have been attached to the ankle or wrist of a very young “house slave” who worked strictly inside the plantation house and thus was under very close supervision by the plantation owner and/or family members.
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 very small size!
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.
In 1912, in a stroke of advertising genius, Mayo's Tobacco Company packaged their cut plug tobacco in round tins with a lithographed character. Each held 1 pound of tobacco. It was opened by removing the head!
These "Roly-Polys" were a unique shape that distinguished them from the rectangular and lunch box-shaped tins that surrounded them on store shelves. There were a number of different characters that were available, and smokers were encouraged to collect the entire set. The six original tins were the Satisfied Customer, the Storekeeper, the Singing Waiter, the Dutchman, Scotland Yard....and Mammy!
Mayo called this packaging a "Brownie" tin...apparently the company suggested that the tins be used as brownie containers after the tobacco was used, and designed them accordingly. They were never a plentiful tin, and today, are becoming increasingly more and more difficult to find.
The Mayo tobacco tins were distinguished by little packages of Mayo Cut Plug tobacco shown somewhere on the character. Notice that the Mammy tin has a tiny tobacco tin tucked into her front pocket.
Mammy's dimensions are 7"x7". She is in good condition, as evidenced by the photos which clearly detail the flaws she has acquired over her 100+ years of existence. The body of the tin has minor paint loss to the litho as seen in photos, minor and subtle surface scratching (see photos), and small areas of denting to the top of mammy's head (see photo) and to her base near the cigarette pack protruding from her pocket (see photo). The body has some light soiling and has the appropriate wear at contact points. The tin has no repaint but does have some light, interior rusting to the interior of the base as well as a couple of tiny size holes which can be seen in the 12th photo (tiny holes show up as white spots in the photo). The base was held up to the bright, outdoor light to illuminate the holes- which actually make them appear more prominent than they actually are!
The base of the tin is labeled "made in factory # 42, in the 2nd District of Virginia".
**The depth of color is better viewed "in person" as opposed to what I was able to capture in a photo.**
A must-have addition to any SERIOUS Black Americana collection! A note on the rarity of this item....this is only the second Mayo Cut Plug tin that I have had the pleasure of offering for sale in my 20+ years specializing in Black Americana! The tin displays beautifully!!