Cigar Trade Sign, ca. 1890
My great-grandmother worked for the Hummel cigar factory in Slatington, Pennsylvania, and all of my life when I went to my grandmother's house, I could see this cigar hanging at the top of the stairs and I asked my mother how long it had been there. She says, "I don't know. It's been there all my life." So we figured it comes from my great-grandmother. And I believe the factory went out of business at the turn of the century, somewhere around in there.
Well, without knowing that history, I made a judgment that this trade sign was somewhere from the last half or maybe last quarter of the 19th century. As you know, cigars are in. For what reason, I'm not sure, but at any rate, they're chic again so I think as a result of that, things having to do with the cigar-making industry, they're attracting new collectors. There are a lot of people out there looking for such material, and I think this is a splendid little trade sign. Originally this sign, I assume, hung on the wall in this manner. And you can see that this is beautifully carved. It has its original painted surface. It also is inscribed with the name of the company, and this person has even gone to the extent of lighting the cigar, at least with paint, and it even has a little glow around the end of it. People love this kind of material. Trade signs in general are very collectible now in this country, particularly ones in original condition and in this case, very specifically the fact that it's a cigar... this is it. Um, valuing it, I think if we were to attach a value to it, I wouldn't be surprised if it were to bring $1,500, $2,500...
Or more. It's one of those things. All we need are a couple of wealthy cigar collectors that have to have it, and now it's suddenly not so much a matter of "What's its worth?", it's, "Hey, what can I afford to pay?"
So it's one of those splendid objects that, um... it's whimsical, it's in great condition, it's Americana.
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