This particular tin does not retain its original, US Internal Revenue paper tax stamp, so there is no way to precisely date it. As such, we will place its age as at the first half of the 1940's- the final production years of this style tin.
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 wonderful 8 out of 10--- sporting a beautiful lithograph on both sides with extremely minor, superficial scratches and rubs, along with tiny areas of paint loss. These areas of minor paint loss exist on the back side where the metal bale handle made contact with the tin and slightly scraped it, and on the front side, where several teeny areas of paint loss are present that are very difficult to see unless bright light is deliberately shown upon the tin surface as has been done in both closeup photos. When viewed in natural lighting, the tiny areas of paint loss on the front side are not readily visible unless one deliberately looks for them (see first photo).
The rim of the tin has two, tight 1/8" long splits- very difficult to see and photograph and which are not visible with the tin cover in place. The lid, base, bale handle junction points, and interior of the tin show minor evidence of light, superficial rust. Otherwise, the tin is solid. The original mustard-orange color of the tin remains consistent over the entire tin as does the clear, brilliant black lithography.
Any imperfections are quite reasonable and expected given the age of this piece-- approximately 80 years of age!! Please note that any "white" areas in photos are flash or lighting reflections and are not imperfections to the tin.
Truly an extraordinarily RARE piece of Black Memorabilia seldom found in this wonderful condition complete with bail handle and lid (Soft tissue paper has been wrapped around the bail handle to prevent any further scratching to the tin exterior.)
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 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. And an additional offering that is not part of the Ardalt Black Child Nodder series is the RARE 1950s Black Americana Sailor Nodder by UCAGCO, Japan.
Entitled A New Story of Little Black Sambo, this tale picks up the story with Little Sambo's mother, Black Mumbo, exclaiming that Sambo, after almost losing his best Sunday clothes to the tigers, would- from now on- only be allowed to wear his every day clothes. Now very unhappily dressed in only a grass skirt, a pouting and naughty Sambo decides to run off into the jungle once again without permission, and climbs a tree to gather coconuts. A tiger soon arrives threatening to eat Little Black Sambo, trapping him up in the tree for the entire day! Eventually, Tusker the Elephant arrives, successfully chasing off the tiger and saving Sambo. Sambo then returns home, where an angry Black Mumbo spanks him with a hairbrush for running off, despite the gift of coconuts Sambo hoped would appease his mother. The conclusion of the tale then moves forward one month later when the family goes to visit Little Black Sambo’s cousins, the Bimboes, who admire his fine Sunday best clothing that he was finally allowed to wear again!
Although no author is attributed, it is thought by some that the tale was co-authored by the book's two illustrators, Clara Bell Thurston, who rendered all of the lovely colored drawings and Earnest Vetsch, who rendered the "black and white" illustrations (which, actually, are done in navy blue ink) as well as the fancy hand-lettering of the text which further embellishes the book.
With 36 unnumbered pages which alternate between the superbly rendered color and navy blue line illustrations, this unique little book is in near mint condition. The original paper dust jacket is present and in wonderful condition, and at some point, it was protectively covered with a contemporary, clear, dust jacket protector that can be removed if so desired. No fading of color, no rips, creases or missing pages. Binding is tight with all three original staples present. Cover edges are subtly worn, and a one-time owner, Neva Merchant, signed her name on both front and back interior covers.
This very rarely-found, miniature-size edition of the continuation of the original Little Black Sambo story is a must have for the collector of Little Black Sambo books!
To see all of the Little Black Sambo items currently available for sale, simply type “Sambo” into the search box on our website homepage.
The sign with its flat black background, features a decorative free-hand, skill-fully executed, corner-looped edge design in old white paint advertising: SLEEPING ROOM FOR RENT.
Beneath the words 'FOR RENT', the words "WHITE ONLY" have been covered over with a layer of similar-colored background paint. Both words are still visible beneath this layer of paint with the word "WHITE" being most readily visualized.
I believe that this "paint-over" can be easily, professionally removed, and I toyed with the idea of having this done, but then felt that I should offer the sign as it is in its current state, as it is reflective of a small yet positive progression in history, in the viewpoint of at least this proprietor in our society in this time period. What prompted this change of viewpoint, which obviously occurred decades before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is forever lost to history. The place of origin of this sign is unknown.
The sign is hand-painted on Masonite, a smooth-faced, compressed wood hardboard that was invented in the 1920s and was in popular use during the Depression-ridden 1930s due to its relatively inexpensive price tag. The sign has nine holes to facilitate hanging: three on each end and three down the center of the sign. The sign retains an original surface patina with age-related crackling to the lettering. In addition to the words "White Only" being painted over, a decorative flourish centered between the words "Sleeping Room" and "For Rent" has also been painted over, reason unknown. Mild surface paint loss, scuff-marks, and edge wear are present, commensurate with a 90+year old sign.
An exquisite example of Segregation Era signage that tells a story of prejudice evolving to an acceptance of equality.
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 paper package contains nearly all of its original powder, having never been opened; however, as noted in the second photo, the corner edge wear has resulted in some minor leakage of the powder. Because of this, the package has been shrink-wrapped to preserve the remainder of the product.
The shrink wrapping makes the package very difficult to photograph; additionally, some minor leakage of the powder under the shrink wrap also obscures viewing. The first two photos are of the actual package currently offered for sale--with shrink wrap on and minor leakage of powder under the shrink-wrap. The remaining photos clearly show the details of the Zoulou packaging using an undamaged, unshrink-wrapped package that has already been sold, no longer available for purchase. These photos are offered purely for the convenience of the viewer so that the details of the Zoulou package can be readily seen without the encumbrance of the shrink wrap blocking package details; these photos do not represent the condition of the package currently being offered for sale. The first two photos represent the condition of the actual Zoulou package currently offered for sale, with the pricing reflecting condition.
The manufacturers of the Zoulou powder claimed that healing properties were associated with the powder.
A well-detailed, rarely-found example of turn-of-the-century use of graphics in advertising!
This particular piece is in very fine condition, with cold-paint flaking on the spout and lid edge decoration noted as this piece's only readily-visualized flaws. (Cold paint refers to paint applied AFTER a piece has been painted, glazed, and fired in a kiln. Because this after-paint is not glazed and fired, it is easily subjected to flaking and disintegration.)
The teapot remains in fabulous, all-original condition with its twisted-wire, original, bail handle intact and in fine condition. The tea pot measures 5.5 inches wide from the edge of its spout and across the body to the opposite side. With its handle upright, the pot measures 7.75 inches tall. The teapot with lid, absent the handle, measures 5.25 inches tall. It is 5.75 inches wide.
As noted previously, the teapot spout presents flaking of its green paint, with two tiny flea bites present on the tip of the spout detected only via touch versus the eye. The pot has no chips, cracks, repairs or repaint. There are very teeny surface rubs on the left cheek, but these are paint flaws which occurred prior to glaze application and firing. There are also two teeny "dots"-- one on the forehead and one just to the inside corner of the right eye that are also flaws created either right before or during firing.
This fabulously RARE piece displays just wonderfully and would be a prized asset in the collection of any advanced collector! And its diminutive size makes it easy for one to display in one's collection!
Both dolls retain their 3 original pigtails, all tied off with tiny pieces of string. Their hand-painted lips and eyes remain in excellent condition as is the dark brown paint which covers the bisque bodies which were originally white when manufactured (the white bisque coloring is visible at the joints).
Both dolls have jointed arms and legs which allow them to assume different positions. The string holding the larger doll's legs in place has stretched over these many years resulting in looser leg joints. (This can be repaired if so desired by the new owner.)
The larger doll is dressed in a hand-made outfit consisting of an ivory, yarn-knitted petticoat under a yellow crocheted dress while the smaller doll remains au naturalle! A darling, teeny tiny pair that display quite nicely!
Entitled "Gathering Cotton", the plate depicts eight slaves, including two children, picking cotton and placing it in woven straw baskets.
Plates such as this, particularly those with the alphabet embossed around the rim, were produced for use by children as subtle educational tools. England was well ahead of the United States in recognizing the moral evils of slavery abolishing it in 1833, but continued to produce slavery-themed plates for the American market.
This plate measures only a diminutive 5 1/2 inches in diameter, and the interior is decorated with the black transfer-printed scene which was then hand-painted in colors prior to firing. The rim is embossed with decorative swirls as well as the alphabet in capital letters.
Condition of the plate is quite good. It has a use/age-related spider-crack that is visible on the backside of the plate and is also partially visible on the front side. (see photos) This spider-crack is quite tight and does not pose any concern to the structural integrity of the plate. Also noted is some subtle edge roughness which occurred during firing; hardly noticeable when the plate is displayed on a stand. This plate has graced my collection for the past 30 years!
Despite its age-related imperfections, this plate displays absolutely beautifully, and for those collectors who are interested in slavery-related artifacts, this would be a noteworthy and visually-appealing addition to one's collection.
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!
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, rarely-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!
A note to collectors: vintage Black Memorabilia puzzles from the pre-WWII era are a VERY rare find. Many were given out as "premiums" for utilizing a given product, and did not stand the test of time. Happy collecting!
Helen Bannerman was inspired to write these stories for her two young daughters while the family lived in India; Mingo and Sambo were Indian children and not African-American. They were converted over time to this race, however, by subsequent story tellers and illustrators.
A mini book measuring 4" x 5.75", this cloth-bound hardcover was published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, with 64 pages of vividly colored illustrations, and no copyright date. Research indicates this version was published circa 1902.
Condition is a 9 out of 10! This 120+ year old book has seen little use with just a teeny bit of wear to book edge points and age-related staining with some minor paper loss to the original, overlay-ed paper cover. Some soiling to interior pages here and there, but otherwise, intact and tight with no tears, creases, pen/pencil markings! Amazing condition for a book of this age!
A simply wonderful story, truly a fairy tale of sorts, that is seldom found in this lovely, original, early edition! To see the Little Black Sambo items currently available for sale, simply type “Sambo” into the search box on our website homepage.
The trademark for Sharpoint is a cleverly-designed, eye-catching, broadly smiling image of an African American gent. If one looks closely, one can clearly see the words "Sharpoint Cobblers Nails" printed within the black space of the gent's mouth! A very "sharp" advertising strategy!
Sharpoint Wire Cobbler's Nails were manufactured by the Charles F. Baker Co, Boston, Massachusetts. This remaining smaller box retains its end flap which features both the manufacturing and patent information, with the patent number corresponding to a 1933 USA Patent date. Amazingly, the box still retains the original cobbler's nails!
The box is in very good condition considering its age and the fact that it has held tiny, sharp nails for over 80 years! The cover litho remains very crisp and clear. Typical, age-related edge wear is noted. Please peruse all photos for condition details. The box has been shrink-wrapped to protect the integrity of the cardboard, and again, it does contain the original nails.
This VERY, VERY RARELY FOUND SALESMAN SAMPLE size box WITH ORIGINAL NAILS is offered at $125.
The story book, Little Brown Koko, was first published in 1940 by author, Blance Seale Hunt, whose character became so popular that a series of Little Brown Koko story book adventures followed in quick succession!
In excellent, spotless condition, the towel may be folded and framed if desired! A great companion piece for those who collect Little Brown Koko books!
Measuring just 7 inches wide x 9 inches high, this unsigned piece is very skillfully executed accomplishing a three-dimensional sense of depth through the expert use of light and dark, while capturing the intriguing expression on this young boy's face. Just what is he thinking?
Was this enchanting charcoal portrait completed as a study in preparation for a final, more complex piece, or was it, indeed, the final execution of a subject caught in passing?
Condition is quite fine. Note the faint trace of the artist's title for this work done in a lighter charcoal hiding behind the darker, final printing of the title. Framed in an old black wooden frame, this intriguing charcoal portrait would benefit from professional framing using archival, acid-free materials to enhance its life for many years to come.
This document is quite unusual in that it was generally atypical that slave families were permitted to remain together when a slave sale was conducted, regardless of the age of any children involved.
The single page, 15.5" wide x 19" long document was folded in half by its author, and the bill of sale is written out on one side of the folded page (see photos). The folded page was then flipped over, folded into thirds, and the title of the document was written out: "Bill of Sale John Woolfolk, Edgefield District. S.C. (South Carolina) for Judy- a Seamstress Edward (and) Eliza her children".
The text of the Bill of Sale reads as follows, First Paragraph:
"Augusta the 8th June 1809, Received from Thomas Cumming, Six hundred Dollars, being the consideration money infull for the following negro slaves sold and delivered to him this day. Judy a woman of about 21 years old Edward a Boy of about three years old and an infant female, named Eliza, Both Children of the said Woman Judy, which Said three negroes, Judy, Edward and Eliza, I do hereby warrant and defend against the claims of all persons whomsoever"
"Given under my hand and seal the day and date first above written."
Condition of this slavery document is quite remarkable given its 213 years of age! Expected age-related discoloration of paper and slight (approx 3/4 inch)paper split at one end of one fold only. (see photos)