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 not permitted to sit, stand, or otherwise, occupy.
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.
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.
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!!
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!
This awesome example dates to 1955, is painted and has a reflective finish on the large lettering. This sign is new-old-stock, was never used and was acquired directly from the family of the former proprietor of the now-defunct, Stanley, North Dakota, Rexall Pharmacy!!!
This beauty measures 36" long x 18" wide and was manufactured by the Continental Sign and Advertising Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It appears to be made of a galvanized metal, is pre-drilled for hanging and is in fine condition! There are a few faint manufacturing imperfections on the surface. The one worth mentioning is a 5 inch scratch by the letter "A" on the white painted word DAKOTA (the far right hand "A").
Ready for your collection! A fabulous, visually striking, pharmacy advertising piece!
This product was produced by the lime manufacturers, Hatmaker and Place, of Canaan, Connecticut, in the late 1800s. This small company was located within a large "lime belt" that stretched from Connecticut to Vermont. Back in the day, lime powder mixed with water was quite commonly used to "white wash" or paint numerous surfaces, and it was also used as a medicinal disinfectant! The manufacture of lime from marble was one of the earliest and most successful mineral industries in Connecticut, with historical records dating the establishment of the first CT lime manufactory to 1722.
Given its age and the fragility of paper, condition of this wonderful box is quite good. The lower portion of the back side of the box evidences light surface wear with some of the printing on the lower portion of the box worn away as a result. The front of the box has a 3.25 inch long tear which resulted in the loss of the lime powder from the box.
This early piece of Black Americana advertising is EXCEEDINGLY RARE and may well be a ONE-OF-A-Kind item! The Hatmaker and Place Company was one of a number of very small manufactories located within the "lime belt" that were ALL bought out and immediately closed down by a wealthy group of investors who then created and incorporated the mammoth monopoly, The New England Lime Company, early in 1902.
This fabulous piece of Black Americana is NOT to be missed by the serious collector!
A treasure of early signage designed in the Art Nouveau style, this sign measures 46 inches long by 7 inches wide. The sign weighs at least 25 pounds and sports cast detailing seldom found!
The sign features a delightful and mellow patina with an old painted surface retaining traces of old blue coloring beneath the exterior battleship gray tones. Scattered areas of unobtrusive surface rust add to the wonderful appeal of this vintage sign.
Visually appealing and artfully designed, this vintage piece of signage would make an interesting addition to one's Medical Memorabilia Collection!
Remaining in its original frame, this watercolor retains its vibrant color. A lovely piece of Black Americana executed with some naivete!
Please ignore any white streaks seen in photos; these are the result of light reflection off of the glass.
These signs have a very colorful, folk-art appeal and certainly are utterly unique! They very much fit into the American, Southern "Outsider Art" collecting genre, a genre which highlights the work of self-taught, rural area artists who create fabulous and highly expressive art using the media and materials that they have at hand and which reflects the world that they know and live in.
The signs are quite heavy as each is made from a solid wood board. The signs are nearly identical in size and measure approximately 25 1/2 inches wide x 14 5/8 high x 3/4ths of an inch thick. One of the signs has very, very slight warping, but the warpage is not readily evident as seen by pictures. Each sign has 2 holes from which to hang them, and the old rusted hanging wire which is seen in the photos has been replaced by new hanging wire.
Lettering is original and in very good condition except for some unobtrusive scuffing and loss. Please note that the lettering is bordered with black enhancement. There are 2 holes, one on each side which were originally used for mounting on the building exterior.
Will make a great addition to your collection.
This fabulous advertising piece is made of papier mache’, is painted black, and sports cream-colored lettering on both sides of the hat.
The firm of Julius Kessler Dist. Co., Inc., in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, originated in 1888 and created an American blended whiskey known for its silky smoothness!
The condition of this fab piece is very, very good given its 115++ years of age, with some areas of paint loss and wear (mostly to the top of the hat which is the surface that actually serves as the base for this piece). No structural weakness or damage to the papier mache- a very solid piece that displays beautifully!!
Measures 12”L x 9.5”W x 6”H. An eye-catching, visually appealing, early display advertisement!!
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.
Framed in sturdy wood, this metal sign is hand-painted in stunning blues, whites, and oranges and reads: “JOHN E. MELVIN – PLUMBER – TEL. CONN”.
Measuring approximately 32.5 inches wide x 18 inches high, this vintage tin sign, a most unusual find, has wonderful visual graphic appeal and would add great decorative interest to any room!
The condition of the sign is quite good with lovely patina and appropriate surface wear for its 70-80+ years of age. Note a small unobtrusive piece of framing missing from the bottom right.
Researching the drug store's history was fascinating as the same family operated it for over 50 years! The SHANNON family founded and ran this all-inclusive, community-centered, soda fountain and drug store from 1912 until 1964. The years spanning from its 1912 opening through the 1950s appeared to be the drug store's heyday as it served as a popular community gathering place catering to local servicemen and their families for decades and through both World Wars. A wonderful article dated January 4, 2019, found in THE WILSON POST describes this drug store's fascinating history and is a must read!
This brightly colored, hand-painted, metal advertising sign measures 20 inches wide x 14 inches long, an ideal size for easy display in one's collection. Its condition suggests that it may never have been used. Upon close inspection, hand-applied, yellow brush strokes are noted, with the black lettering possibly applied as a stencil. Various small areas of paint loss and minor metal imperfections exist, all commensurate with age. A fabulous piece of Lebanon, Tennessee, advertising and local history!
This gorgeous advertising mirror was gifted to select pharmacists who were required to sign a contract promising to consistently offer the particular Green's medicines that were imprinted on the mirror's frame: Green's August Flower, Ague Conqueror, and Boschee's German Syrup.
The frame measures 21" square with an elaborately embellished decorative face of embossed detailing and is constructed of a plaster-based material. The name "G.G. Green, Woodbury, NJ" is prominently embossed on the bottom portion of the frame.
The frame's construction remains quite sturdy. The overall condition is good with some restoration required, if so desired, to the missing pieces as seen in the photos. The missing pieces cause minimal distraction from the beauty, intricacy and rarity of this frame. The mirror had been replaced at some point prior to our ownership.
A brief biography: Colonel George Gill Green served as a Union surgeon during the Civil War and later became a manufacturer of patent medicines. He reached millionaire status after buying the rights to Ague Conqueror, Boschee's German Syrup and Green's August Flower and then, successfully marketing their use. A local philanthropist, he provided the funding for the construction of Woodbury's Opera House. He also built the G.G. Green Manufacturing building, and both structures are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dr. T.D.M. Wilson graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1875, and the following offered items from this estate auction provide an historical glimpse into his long medical career.
The first item is a fabulous 19th century brass DOCTOR T.D.M. Wilson sign measuring 14L x 9W inches, which likely adorned the entrance way to Dr. Wilson's office.
Also offered in this grouping is a rare group photo of Dr. Wilson (4th from the left) and other Phi Kappa Sigma members. The frame measures 16.5"L x 12.5"W. While the photo is a bit faded, the image is remarkable and includes a distinguished group of Phi Kappa Sigma members.
The third and fourth items in this grouping are a small, framed, 1909 AMA membership certificate with Dr. Wilson's name inscribed, and a very unusual IRS narcotic SPECIAL TAX STAMP from 1926. This Narcotic form is unique in that it names Dr. Wilson as the single physician allowed to dispense narcotics within the 23rd District of the State of Pennsylvania.
Finally, 2 handwritten letters postmarked in 1884 from Dr. Wilson to his loving wife are included, offering a small glimpse into his personal life.
Together, this is rich grouping of artifacts provides one a unique opportunity to further enhance one's collection of medical objects.
This diminutive tin case is painted black with gold accenting and gold lettering present on the front of the case. The black paint shows reasonable wear given its 130+ years of age with the majority of wear evident along seam lines and at the base. The gold painting on the front of the case remains quite nice with very small areas of unobtrusive paint loss present (please see all photos). This tin case was clearly well cared for over the years.
The case contains three, pull-out, tin drawers with tiny, circular, loop pulls at the ends, that when slid out, reveal 15 separate compartments designed to hold the corked, glass, sample bottles. Fourteen bottles remain present, all of which are original to the case. The bottles advertise the spices and perfume waters that the Loverin and Browne Company manufactured for wholesale purchase by various independent groceries. The base of each bottle sits on a spring which would have facilitated secure storage during travel.
An interesting addition to one's advertisement collection! Very easy to display with great visual appeal!
The black-painted, metal frame houses a plastic, cream-colored insert that features an embossed lettering and design technique that advertises the name of the product for sale. The background of this insert sports a streamlined, horizontal, raised "striping" reminiscent of the Art Deco era. When light is allowed to pass through the plastic, translucent insert, the insert appears to be magically illuminated so that the green-colored backside of the sign shines through with brilliance. This effect can be enjoyed by either hanging the sign in front of a window or by fastening tiny LED lights (not included) on the backside of the frame.
The dimensions are approximately 48"L x 5.5"W x 3/4"D, and the overall condition of the sign is very good. The plain metal frame has been repainted in a durable, semi-gloss, black finish. The painted finish is in very good condition with areas of minor surface imperfection and slight areas of roughness here and there.
The vintage plastic insert is laminated in two tones, with the front noting a rich, aged, cream color, and the back noting a rich green tone. The front of the insert has faint surface imperfections and some areas of uneven discoloring. The lower left portion of the letter "M" has a minor, small, unobtrusive crack. Overall, the insert retains a nice glossed surface patina commensurate with its age.
A note: the first photo best represents what the sign will look like when illuminated from the back with LED or natural window lighting.