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.
The female doll depicts a black mammy out for a stroll with black umbrella in hand. This gentlewoman wears a red and white polka dot kerchief on her head covering most of her gray hair and has embroidered facial features – characteristic of these dolls. Also characteristic of this type of doll is a small square of asphalt shingle glued to the feet to serve as a stand. This doll has (not uncommonly) lost hers long ago, but a bit of the original shingle is still attached to the soles of both shoes. Clothing, with the exception of her neutral-striped knit-fabric sweater, is machine-sewn cotton with careful detailing right down to the red hankie poking out of her apron pocket. She also wears gold hoop earrings! Her body, which is well-stuffed to be anatomically correct, is black cotton fabric stuffed with cotton batting.
The white haired and bearded male country gentleman doll is similarly attired in machine-sewn cotton britches with a patch at the knee and suspenders along with a tan cotton striped shirt and red kerchief around his neck. His hat is constructed of cranberry-colored felt. Under his right arm, he holds a nicely crafted chicken that has sustained a tiny bit of fabric loss to its face. His left arm once held a wooden walking stick which is long gone, but alternatively, he now uses his free hand to hold the arm of his lovely lady! His asphalt shingle is also missing with remnants evident of it present on the soles of his shoes.
Two very special dolls that represent a snapshot of history, capturing the lives of poor southern black folk of the Depression era.
The dolls are priced at $225.00 each, or they may both be purchased as a pair at the discounted price of $395.00. Please note that no further advertised discount is applicable to this special paired pricing offer.
Mammy sports hand-stitched facial features, and all original, machine-stitched clothing. Mammy’s hands and arms are made of fabric-coated pipe cleaners allowing for flexibility and movement. Her corn cob body has been neatly encased in muslin. Mammy's costume is complete and quite brightly colored and even features a tiny apron pocket in which a teeny hankie is tucked!
Mammy has been well cared for over the years- no fading to clothing, no rips, tears or other blemishes! A most interesting and very seldom found Mammy doll in utterly excellent condition!
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.
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 1941 Nigger Hair Tobacco tin currently available and full of original tobacco!
The well-appointed Black Chef sports a very wide grin and holds a bowl of eggs in his right arm and a wooden mixing spoon in his left. He is in very fine condition with a very subtle suggestion here and there of a remnant of his original gold paint. There are subtle dings to the backside as well as evidence of superficial surface rust. The following is imprinted on the CHef's backside: “Compliments The Toledo Stove And Range Co”, although the striking of the "O" and "L" are very faint. This imprint documents the spoon rest’s original function- continuous promotional advertising presented as a free giveaway to buyers purchasing the company’s products!
The well-dressed Mammy sports a wide grin and holds an iron in her right hand and other household implements in the left. She is in very fine condition with a smattering of some very subtle superficial rusting here and there. Evidence of the original gold paint is also subtle but can be seen. The back side of the spoon rest is perfect and looks as though it came right out of the factory just yesterday with a very solid and clear imprinting of the Toledo Stove Company advertising.
A very rare find!
The toy is in very fine, working condition. When wound, the black dancers bob up and down, moving their hinged legs about and swinging their arms. The dancer's heads, bodies, and arms are constructed of flat tin, while their legs and feet are three dimensional. Other than a few light scratches here and there, the surface lithography and paint is in fabulous condition.
The toy measures 8” tall and 5 ½” wide. Marked with “MADE IN U.S.A.” on the back of the dancer's jackets as well as "MADE IN USA" and "PAT 2072308" (Patent Year 1937) on the bottom of the toy base.
The child’s head nods back and forth by pivoting on a tiny metal bar inserted through her neck .
Condition is mint, and the piece is signed on the bottom of her right foot: “Hand Painted Lenwile China Ardalt Japan 6529”.
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 companion matching Ardalt Black Nodder pieces also available (pictured here as well) - the Black Girl Child Nodder and the Black Boy Clown Nodder!!
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!
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!
Fabulous colored illustrations as represented by photos adorn this 19 page book! Ten to eleven darling little poems and/or short stories are written in "dialect", reflective of the Caucasian cultural mores of the period.
Interior pages are in fine condition--they are tightly bound together with the 3 original staples and remain brilliantly colored; front and back covers have loosened from these interior pages, and the covers have been taped along the exterior spine in a failed attempt to keep them attached to the tightly bound interior pages. The covers have edge wear, small edge creases, and surface scuffing with minor surface paper loss here and there (see photos). Additionally, the front cover has a small remnant of an old paper sticker in the upper right quadrant.
A charming addition to one's Black Americana collection!!
This circa 1940's (perhaps even earlier!) Mammy has a polished cotton half body firmly stuffed with cotton batting which is attached to a fabric-covered, cardboard platform that enables her to sit. Such a doll is often referred to as a platform or toaster doll as her voluminous skirt was designed to cover unsightly kitchen appliances - most commonly the toaster!
Most notable is this Mammy's exquisitely executed, hand-embroidered face, and her elaborate dangling beaded hoop earrings!
Mammy's clothing is machine stitched and is absent of holes, rips or repairs. While all her patterned clothing retains its original and uniform coloring, all of the purple cloth has faded- obviously a less stable dye used there. When one opens the folds of the cloth, one sees the rich, deep purple it once was!
An unusually well-detailed doll for its type!
The walking stick is constructed of a single piece of wood. The staff is painted with black stripes, and at the very top, the stripes switch to polka dots to simulate the man's shirt. A handle has also been carved out which apparently represents the man's arm, painted with the same polka dots.
The head carving features distinctive full lips and a strong, protruding chin. A mustache and goatee are painted in black under the nose and bottom lip. The hair is also simply painted in black with a crude nose drawn in. The eyes are also hand-done and feature pupils and numerous full eyelashes. The left eye is slightly faded while the right eye is quite distinct.
The carver/artisan is unknown as is the walking stick's origin. A unique Folk Art Black Americana piece!
Measuring 7.50 inches long x 3.25 inches wide, this Belgian cigarette or cigar, heavy paper/cardboard box features a fabulous litho of a very dapper Black Gentleman smoking one of the "JOHN" cigarettes. Its small size offers many options for display including framing for shelf or wall enjoyment.
A truly scarce find in phenomenal condition!
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.
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.
Measuring 12 inches tall and 7 inches wide at the widest point of her skirt, Aunt Jemima is in quite wonderful condition with just very minimal and subtle paint loss, most prominently to her white apron (see photos).
Some slight superficial rubbing to the finish here and there as expected in a nearly 70 year old collectible. Marked on the base " F & F Mold & Die Works, Dayton Ohio Made in the USA".
Quite difficult to find in this condition! Please view our other Aunt Jemima offerings!