'New World Orders' sale to feature $40,000 Samuel Robb figure

An eclectic auction entitled New World Orders is to be highlighted by a rare 19th century Samuel Anderson Robb cigar store Indian on May 5, 2012.

The Philadelphia auction house behind the sale expects the carved life-size figure to sell well (estimate $30,000-40,000) given its connection to the city.


The Samuel Robb cigar store Indian ($30,000-40,000)

The 77 inch figure has stood outside the entrance of Reese's Antiques in Philadephia's Pine Street, also known as "Antiques Row", for over seven decades. It was purchased by the store in the 1940s and they have remained the item's sole owners ever since.

In late 19th century America, wooden carvings used as advertisements were commonplace, with streets crowded with a myriad of figures. The Samuel Robb Indians would have stood sentinel at cigar stores across the country. This item remains in remarkably good condition, with only one minor restoration to the right arm and original paintwork.

Cigar memorabilia plays a large role at the auction, with a collection of works by Felipe Jesus Consalvos (1891-c.1960) on offer.

The former cigar roller was not recognised for his mixed-media works until after his death. His work draws influence from the vernacular tradition of cigar band collage in Cuba. One impressive collage on a guitar has an estimate of $4000-6,000.

Chinese items also feature heavily in the sale, with a piece from contemporary artist Guo Runwen expected to draw strong interest.

An estimate of $30,000-40,000 has been set for the oil on canvas piece entitled Standing Nude with Back View. Signed by Runwen, the piece was purchased direct from the artist at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China.

Items such as the cigar store Indian, which have a strong connection to a place or event, always sell well in auction rooms, no matter what the piece may be. This is further illustrated by the recent sales of Titanic and Gandhi memorabilia.

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