Tobacconist's store Indian statue sells for $150,000

A hand carved wooden tobacconist's store Indian statue achieved $150,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas over the weekend.

It was the highlight of a sale of Americana and Political Memorabilia.

Cigar store Indian
Detroit-based sculptor Julius Theodore Melchers created this statue

The piece is believed to originate from the workshop of Julius Theodore Melchers (1829-1908); a well-known sculptor who lived and worked in Detroit.

Heritage comments: "This tobacconist figure wearing a bear claw necklace and medallion with colorful polychrome paint exhibits Melcher's attention to detail and appears to be mostly original…

"One can easily appreciate the work it took to create this nostalgic, iconic piece of Americana…

"This is one of the finest Tobacconist figures we have sold to date."

White Europeans associated tobacco with Native Americans and so these ornate and beautifully made figures became tobacconists' symbols.

The record for any tobacco store Indian is $675,000, set for an example attributed to Samuel Robb or Thomas Brooks in 2013.

A collection of five lightbulbs and a socket that Thomas Edison used as evidence of copyright infringement in a series of lawsuits during the late 1800s made $30,000.


Edison did not like people using his patent

Edison is often celebrated as the inventor of the electric bulb, but he essentially synthesised and refined other inventors' prototypes.

He was among the first to apply for a patent and was tenacious in pursuing those who he believed to be taking advantage of his work - as these court exhibits attest.

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