Friday, October 17, 2014

Black Americana Memorabilia - Smoking Sambo, Coon Chicken Inn Glass

Smoking Sambo

Smoking Sambo Vintage Fakes

The Smoking Sambo fakes sell for up to 100 dollars, though recently the price has come down quite a bit, due to so many fakes being offered on eBay.


These thin cardboard pyrotechnic novelties were once sold in mid-20th century fireworks stands. The fold-out prop on the back was to help the card stand up so a cigar-like smoke bomb could be placed in the mouth and lit. After quite a bit of suspenseful smoking an eventual explosion was supposed to blow the head off the card.

Authentic examples of this kind of Black Americana paper novelty had the manufacturer's name (United) and use instructions printed on the reverse side, so a completely blank back side is a sure sign of a reproduction. 


Always remember that printed items like this are very easy to make and available for purchase brand new for just a few dollars each from online suppliers.

Coon Chicken Inn Glassware 


 

The Coon Chicken Inn was a highly successful restaurant chain from the late 1920s through the 1950s. All glass items with the Coon Chicken Inn trademark should be avoided. ML Graham, grandson of the restaurant's founder, has flatly stated that all glass items are fakes. "In all the original artifacts that we have of my grandparents' inns," said Graham, "there are no glass tumblers or glass ashtrays. I have seen many of them offered for sale, but they are all reproductions."

And in fact they aren't even reproductions, since there are no original items of this type to reproduce. All they've done is print a Coon Chicken Inn logo on a modern item and price it at more than 10 times what it's worth. If people want to buy novelty items like this, they are free to do so, but merchants who advertise these items as "Vintage" are committing fraud.

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