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Sold to a private collector at the Philadelphia Antiques Show
Tobacconist’s trade figure
Made by J.W. Fiske, New York City, ca. 1879
Cast zinc
H. 40"
Courtesy of Allan Katz Americana

This tobacconist’s trade figure retains its completely original painted surface and undercoat; highly unusual considering these figures were usually exposed to the elements outside storefronts.

This trade figure was produced by the Fiske foundry in New York and is listed in their 1879 catalogue as item number 312. Made of zinc rather than wood, as were many tobacconist trade figures, only a few examples of this model are known to have survived to the present day. When these figures were originally sold, the Fiske company offered a yellow undercoat (buyer would add the topcoat) or for an additional $1.50 the figure could be factory decorated.

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