From 1901-1924, Bruckner produced this original, 12" Topsy Turvy doll for Horsman's Babyland Rag Doll line that features Caucasian, "Betty", on one end and African American, "Topsy", on the other. The inspiration for this doll is based on the character of Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic 1852 novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin".
The Bruckner Topsy Turvy doll was advertised in a 1907 Babyland Rag Doll catalog as follows:
"TOPSY-TURVY---What is this?
Looks like just a pretty miss.
But turn her over and you'll find,
She is quite another kind.
First she's White and then she's Black,
Turn her over and turn her back.
Topsy that side--Betty this--
Yet complete, each little Miss."
The detail on this hard to find classic doll is lovely. Both heads indeed have the pressed, molded mask faces with lithographed features. Topsy's face is in mint condition! Betty's face is also in excellent condition with no superficial rubs to the flesh-toned coating of her mask; her lithographed facial features remain just beautiful!! (Such rubs are not unexpected as these particular doll masks are, unfortunately, very prone to rubbing. To find one of these 100+ year old dolls without such rubbing is quite rare!)
Grinning Topsy has red bows tied to her black mohair braided pigtails which are tucked into her red headscarf. Her red blouse, which matches her head scarf, is trimmed with cream banding around the sleeve and neck edges. The cream scarf she wears around her shoulders tucks into her very full, red/cream checked, gingham skirt. Topsy’s cream banding is lightly soiled and there is also some subtle fading to her red head scarf, most notably in the back. Flip her over, and....
Betty's more subtle Anglo face and her hair are lithographed. She wears the same red/cream checked gingham fabric of which both her dress and ruffled bonnet are constructed. Over her very full gingham dress, Betty should also wear a sheer, ruffled, white pinafore, however, it has been lost over time. Betty’s cream banding around each sleeve is also lightly soiled as are her hands.
Both dolls have the typical "mitten" hands of the stuffed rag dolls of this era. There are no other difficulties to report other than some tiny, stray (original) glue spots here and there. No rips, tears, or odors, and she has been stored in a smoke-free home. The 1901 Patent Bruckner Topsy Turvy doll typically carries a $650+ dollar price tag, but deductions to price have been levied to account for the minor imperfections that are noted in this doll.
The photos show it all- these two girls are a charming pair! A very difficult to find doll in such wonderful condition!
Also offered for sale is a COMPLETE 1901 Patent Bruckner Topsy Turvy doll with absolutely no soiling or fading. To view, simply type Bruckner into the SEARCH box on our homepage.
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.
Ready for framing, this unusual piece of history would be a fabulous addition to one's collection of slavery or medical artifacts. It measures approximately 7 inches wide x 1.34 inches high and would look fabulous double-matted in an exquisite frame.
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 smaller print featuring a little baby sitting in a pie, measures 7.25 inches wide x 9.50 inches long. It is complete with original black wooden frame, glass, and paper backing. Copyright by Morris & Benden NY is noted without a date. The phrase, "If you could lub like I lub pie - oh me, oh my - oh me, oh my!" is printed at the bottom. Very nice condition and ready to hang!
The larger print featuring a teeny black baby tucked between pillows in a very large fluffy bed bears a penciled inscription on the paper backing indicating that the piece was given as a gift in 1925! Measuring 7 6/8 inches wide x 10.50 inches long, this print retains its original black wooden frame and paper backing but requires replacement glass, an inexpensive investment for this small frame. These two sweet prints would look lovely hanging together given their common sweet black baby theme and with their coordinating black frames!
”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!
This particular tin retains its original, paper, US Internal Revenue tax stamp with an additional red ink imprint clearly dating this tin November 1941.
The image of an African woman with the racist title of “Nigger Hair” imposed over her shoulders was used by The American Tobacco Company of Wisconsin to promote its product; the lithographed tin was manufactured by the B. Leidersdorf Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Interestingly, it must be noted that after World War II, the product name "Nigger Hair" was changed to "Bigger Hair", although the exact same image of an African Woman continued to be used. The company simply added the words “Fiji Islander” to the left of her face in a very, very weak attempt to broaden the product’s appeal by moving further away from the earlier, severely derogatory moniker. At that time, the material out of which the tobacco container was constructed was changed from tin to heavy cardboard.
Measuring 7 inches high x 5 ¾ inches wide, the condition of the tin is a fabulous 9 out of 10--- sporting a lithograph on the front side with extremely teeny, minor, superficial scratches and rubs, and on the back side, tiny scratches along with tiny areas of paint loss (please see photos for condition). There is a very subtle crimp on the seam side of the tin at the base- difficult to see and impossible to photograph. The lid and the base of the tin show minor evidence of oxidation. The inside of the tin is clean with some minor oxidation evident. The tin is free of both rust and pitting.
The original orange color of the tin remains consistent over the entire tin although the color is a darker orange tone in actuality than what the camera “saw” when photographing it. Any imperfections are quite reasonable and expected given the age of this piece-- nearly 80 years of age!! This tin is just a wonderful example of early Black Americana advertising and looks so much better "in person" than what the camera was able to capture with its lens! Please note that any "white" areas in photos are flash or lighting reflections and are not imperfections to the tin.
The tin still retains its contents; it appears very little was consumed. The contents are quite antiquated and are no longer fit for human consumption and are presented for display purposes only. Additionally included is a grouping of discount tobacco coupons that were discovered inside the tin on top of the contents!
Truly an extraordinarily RARE piece of Black Memorabilia seldom found in this phenomenal condition complete with bail handle, lid and tax stamp! (Soft tissue paper has been wrapped around the bail handle to prevent any further scratching to the tin exterior.)
***For the ultimate collector of Nigger Hair Tobacco tins, an extraordinarily rare, 1949, Bigger Hair Tobacco container is also offered for sale- separately. The addition of the Bigger Hair Tobacco container will complete your collection from both a cultural and historical perspective! *** Type "tobacco" in our web cover page SEARCH box to locate it.
Both the Nigger Hair and the Bigger Hair Tobacco containers may be purchased together for the single price of $1195 with no further discounts applicable.
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!
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.
The records are in used condition with minor scuffing and/or scratching typical of used records of 80+ years of age. These records have not been recently played and are presented as historical artifacts, and as such, they are offered for sale without guarantee of "playing quality".
1912 "I'se Gwine Back to Dixie" by the Haydn Quartet
1923 "Two Black Crows Part 1 and Part 2" A Comedy Sketch by Moran and Mack
C1915 "No One Loves You Any Better Than Your Mammy" by Link-Nelson
1908 "Coon Band Contest--Fox Trot" by Earl Fuller's Famous Jazz Band
C1910 "Uncle Tom One-Step" by Hugo Frey.
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.
Measuring 7" long x 4.5" high x 4" wide, this colorful toy features two African-American boxers who are activated by jiggling the paddle which causes the boxer's arms and legs to freely fly about.
The boxers have painted wooden bodies with lithographed tin arms and legs. They are attached to the wooden paddle by a thin metal wire.
The toy is complete and in all-original condition and has not been subjected to any repair or repaint. Wear to the painted faces is evident as noted in the extreme close-up photos provided. No manufacture marking evident.
This seldom-found toy displays very nicely and would be a delightful addition to a Black Americana toy 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.
A tiny bisque black boy holding a watermelon slice is seated on a throne of sea shells. The name of the location that this sea shell souvenir was meant to commemorate is worn and is no longer readable.
Two very minor chips are present as shown in photos which do not detract from the beauty of this piece!
The female is clothed in a green felt dress and head piece that are decorated with tiny blue and white beads. She wears double strand white beaded bracelets and anklets and also wears a double stranded white beaded necklace with a large red bead center. Underneath her dress in back a tiny head peeks out- a little plastic baby that she is carrying!
The male is clothed in a brown and red polka dotted skirt with 2 fur pouches, and a fur headdress. He is swathed in longer strings of beads that encircle his waist and also run diagonally across his chest. He, too, wears a double stranded beaded anklet and necklace. Larger Red beads hang from the sides of his dress as well as from the 2nd fur pouch that hangs behind him.
The arms and legs are movable at hip and shoulder joints of each doll. The Male has the following in raised lettering on his back: P. M. and J. H. B. The remainder of the marking is obscured by beading and clothing. No other markings are visible.
A visually striking pair!
Fabulous colored and black and white illustrations as represented by photos adorn this 26 page book! The book features the adventures of a little Southern boy who lives with his gran'mammy and gran'daddy in a log cabin set down in a cotton field.
Interior pages are in very nice condition, are clean and bright and are tightly bound together. The hard bound cloth covers are in fine condition, with slight wear to cover spine edges and book corners typical of a book of its age. There are two drip marks at spine and a few on the rear. Otherwise clean. A 1" tear at top of frontispiece is present along with a tiny one at bottom. No other damage. An early owner's name and gift date is inscribed in ink on the interior front cover. This is a first edition as later editions had the cloth board without the color pastedown. Illustrated on every page, alternating color and black and white.
A charming addition to one's Black Americana collection, and a black-themed children's book that is very rarely found in today's collectible market!!
Mammy's paper memo pad is original to the piece; however, she is missing her original pencil which would slip into the hole in her right hand and down into the broom top to form the broom handle! A present day pencil may be used as a replacement.
Condition is quite good with some tiny, age-related, surface and edge flecks as seen in photos. No repaint, cracks, repairs, no breaks! No maker's mark.
Constructed of cardboard with black printing, this circa 1930-40's sign reads: " Coleman's Hotel Colored. Special Attention to Tourists. Ashland Virginia".
The sign remains in all-original condition inclusive of minor discoloration as noted in photos and small chips to the upper right and lower left corners. Print source is noted: "Herald-Progress Print, Ashland, VA".
This is NOT a reproduction, but rather a fortunate preservation. It is quite amazing that this sign has survived the many years being constructed out of cardboard. It was clearly stored away in such a manner that preserved its original condition.
Travel for African Americans during the Jim Crow period was difficult and complicated, with limited options for eating, sleeping, even procuring gasoline for the car. As a result, black-owned hotels and motels placed signs such as this one prominently in their windows. There were even special travel-guides to help African Americans plan their trips, hopefully, without incident. Victor Green's "Green Guide" provided state by state lists of colored hotels, motels and other travel-related businesses that catered to African-Americans.
Quite possibly the ONLY sign remaining extant from this particular, racially segregated establishment. An historically significant piece!
Measuring just 6 ½ inches tall with a skirt circumference of 4 ½ inches, her head, torso, and arms are constructed of fabric with an inverted basket serving as her skirt. Her clothing is machine-stitched with attention paid to detail: teeny gold fabric braiding serves as earrings and necklace; delicate lace accents her skirt hem; her red shawl features zig zag stitching accents; her face is finely hand-painted.
A sweet addition to one’s Black Memorabilia or Doll collection!