Measuring 33 inches tall and 12 inches deep at its maximum depth, the bell hop carries a black tray topped off with a hefty aluminum ashtray. The ashtray is large enough to serve as a receptacle for a smaller potted plant, updating the use of this wonderful sculpture to a modern-day purpose!
The bellhop is quite sturdy as it is constructed of 3/4 inch thick wood, and it is well-balanced, as it is mounted upon a 12 inch diameter wooden base of equal thickness. Condition is wonderful with a great aged patina. At some point long ago, the bell hop lost the front half of his foot, but this loss was cleverly repaired so that it is not readily evident. Also cleverly repaired some many, many years ago, is the bellhop's wrist which appears to have been either broken off or cracked, but which has been nicely repaired and repainted.
Four of the hand towels were made by the same individual, and are entirely hand-cross-stitched and hand-hemmed on a somewhat heavy-weight, cream-colored, cotton muslin. They measure approximately 36 inches square.
These four towels are as follows: "Monday"- featuring Mammy washing clothes in a wooden barrel, "Tuesday" featuring Mammy hanging clothes to dry on the clothesline, "Wednesday" featuring Mammy mending clothes, and "Thursday" featuring Mammy delivering a hand-picked, flower bouquet to a neighbor. Condition of all four towels is quite good with small, scattered, stain spots here and there- none in the area of the cross-stitching.
The fifth towel, "Friday", is made of a slightly lighter weight and whiter-colored, cotton muslin. It measures 28 x 29 inches, and again, it has a tiny stain spot here and there away from the cross-stitched area. The hems are machine stitched but the cross-stitching is hand-completed. This towel features a humorous scene of Mammy serving/making pancakes while a pitcher of milk or water unknowingly spills behind her!
These delightful towels would look charming folded and displayed on a kitchen wall rack or could even be framed - folded so that only the cross-stitched area is visible in the frame!
As each towel is priced separately, please email us stating which item you wish to purchase so that we can customize your order form.
The child’s head nods up and down in a "yes" motion by pivoting on a tiny metal bar inserted through his neck (see photos).
Condition is mint, and the piece is signed on the bottom of his right foot: “Hand Painted Lenwile China Ardalt Japan 6530 A”.
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 pieces also available (pictured here as well) - the Black Girl Child Nodder and the Bending Over Black Girl by Ardalt, Japan!!!
GOLD DUST Trolley Signs are a very rare find in today’s market as they were made of cardboard, a material much less likely to withstand the test of time as opposed to tin advertising signs which were much sturdier!
This Gold Dust trolley sign features the Gold Dust Twins dressed in ruffled, red skirts emblazoned with the words “GOLD DUST”, busily scrubbing the front porch and the kitchen in a vigorous attempt at “Spring Cleaning”. The colors featured in this trolley sign are just stunning—greens, pale peachy-colored orange, pale blue, and yellows with white apple blossoms and red tulips flowering in profusion!! To the left of the Gold Dust Twin scrubbing the front porch, sits a large box of Gold Dust Washing Powder. The advertisement proclaims in black-outlined, peachy-orange lettering: “For Spring House Cleaning”.
The condition of this trolley sign is truly quite fine. Colors are very strong and consistent throughout; please ignore the various glass reflections seen in some of the photos- they were unavoidable and do appear to make the colors appear a bit faded—which is inaccurate! The sign is free of rips or tears although it does have two, early, fold-creases – one running from top to bottom of the sign along the left side of the pail and between the “O” and “L” in “GOLD” and the other vertical crease on the very right edge of the sign, running through the stove in the kitchen to the “T” in “DUST”. The creases are very unobtrusive and do not detract from the wonderful, colorful imagery this sign conveys.
An unusual opportunity to acquire a very RARE piece of Black Americana!!
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!
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.
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!
Measuring 4 inches wide x 3 3/4 inches high, the black color-toned set was manufactured by A.D. Handy, Stereopticon & Supplies, Boston.
The four slides tell the story, through drawings and southern black dialogue, of a black boy attempting to steal a watermelon (slide 1). Four other black boys hiding behind a fence and watching, spook him, making the boy think there is a ghost behind him (slide 2)! Dropping the watermelon in fright, he dashes off for safety (slide 3). The shattered watermelon is then left on the ground, already broken into bite-sized pieces for the 4 other boys to enjoy!
This offering is truly an exceptionally scarce Black Americana collectible!!
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!
The folder is undated and was never mailed. Some edge wear evident at corners and some slight separation at the seams of individual cards. While some photos may appear a bit blurry, this is a function of photography and not condition. All postcards are crisp and clear!
The Real Photo postcard folder features the lyrics of "Dixieland" and 18 full color scenes of industry common in the South during this period: cotton picking and production, tapping pine trees for turpentine production, watermelon farming, Razorback Hog farming and sugarcaning. All photos feature African-American laborers.
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 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."
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.
This circa 1920-30's Johnny Griffin inkwell is constructed in solid brass and has a hole for both placement of pen and glass insert for ink. This piece is offered without the pen and glass ink insert.
It is in all original condition with delightful patina- not a reproduction- no replaced parts- and measures 6 inches long x 3.25 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high. It does not retain any marking other than a mold number 4557.
Johnny Griffin 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.
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!
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.
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!