Samuel Robb cigar store Indian brings $35,380
A Samuel Robb cigar store Indian figure made $35,380 at a Philadelphia auction on May 5
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Tuesday 8 May 2012
A Philadelphia auction house's New World Orders auction was highlighted by the sale of a Samuel Robb cigar store Indian on Saturday (May 5).
Samuel Robb's carvings were used as advertisements, which stood outside cigar shops across the US during the late 19th to early 20th century. Robb enjoyed success as one of the foremost commercial carvers of his time, creating figureheads for clipper ships and unique carvings for storefronts.
Standing at 77 inches tall, the figure not only provided an important piece of American folk art, but also a piece of the city's history, having stood at the door of Reese's Antiques on Philadelphia's "Antiques Row" since the 1940s.
The introduction of sidewalk obstruction laws in 1910 has meant that the figures have become increasingly scarce and have escalated in value for collectors. With damage and restoration work to the right arm, the carving achieved $35,380.
The sale comes only a month after another almost identical figure in finer condition made $94,400 in Michigan.
Continuing the smoking theme, a mixed-media piece from artist Felipe Jesus Consalvos sold for $7,320, against an estimate of $4,000-6,000.
A former cigar roller, Consalvos' work was not recognised until after his death. The item at auction, a collaged guitar, is characteristic of the artist's work which draws heavily on the Cuban tradition of decorating everyday objects with cigar bands to dramatic effect.
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Images: Material Culture Auctioneers