Because we sell anything and everything, we often get ads for the interesting, the unusual and the extremely specialized. One of the best parts of working here is that we learn so much about so many different things. Here’s where we feature an ad that made us sit up and take notice.
He looks a little disgruntled. Or maybe even a little bored. We suppose it’s because he hasn’t yet realized that he’s this week’s star ad:
Here are his vitals:
CIGAR STORE INDIAN 6’H., wooden, sell $450. (VG) +(MT.TOP) 570-606-5613 (See Picture Online)
Since we’re all about advertising, this fine fellow fascinated us. Traditionally, cigar store indians stood outside tobacco shops to inform the largely illiterate public that tobacco was for sale within. Very much like the striped barber shop pole or the three brass balls that could be found at pawn shops, this wooden figurine let everyone know that this establishment was a purveyor of tobacco. Why an indian in particular? Because tobacco was introduced to early settlers by the Native American population (who subsequently became strongly associated with tobacco in the public consciousness).
Interestingly, the very first statues of this sort appeared in Europe in the 17th century. And since the European craftsmen who carved them had never been to the New World, much less seen a Native American, the earliest ones were incredibly fanciful and bore little resemblance to the dress of actual Native Americans. In addition, female figures originally outnumbered male ones.
Find him (and countless other interesting items) in our Antiques & Rare Items category, starting on page 36 of this week’s issue.