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Samuel Robb Carved Tobacciana Trade Sign

About the Item

Tobacciana trade sign carved by Samuel Robb, New York, Circa 1885. Figure holds a knife and bundle of cigars with tobacco boxes. Retains original base. Total height from floor is 74". As found condition with no restoration, surface shows lots of age, thick old paint that has crazed and worn to bare wood in areas, typical tight crack in back runs from top of head to bottom of dress. On cast iron wheels. Base reads one side "Try our Havana Filler Cigars Our Own Make Magazines Cigarettes. The other side reads Magazines Cigarettes Tobacco Pipes Cigars Cigarettes. 74", Base 19 1/2" x 16" x 26". Samuel Anderson Robb (c. 1851–1928) was an American sculptor, best known for his carved wooden figures for tobacco shops and circus wagons. Robb was born in New York City, the son of a Scottish shipwright. He apprenticed to a shipbuilder (probably Thomas V. Brooks) for five years, then went to work for a wood-carver, making figures for tobacco shops, and attending night classes at the National Academy of Design and Cooper Union. After his apprenticeship, he worked for William Demuth carving tobacco figures. In 1876 he married Emma Jane Pelham and opened his own carving shop. After Emma died in 1878, Robb married Agnes Loudon in 1881, with whom he had four children. He subsequently left his family, however, and had no communication with them for seventeen years, when he encountered Agnes on the street and the family was reunited. Robb's workshop was the largest in nineteenth-century New York City. His carvings ranged from traditional cigar store Indians to circus wagons and ventriloquist dummies. The wood used for figures, no matter what use they were put to, was carved from solid white pine logs, which were readily available locally, a soft wood that was easy to carve with hand tools and a relatively inexpensive wood specie. Robb often sourced reclaimed wood in three- to seven-foot sections of masts and spars from dismantled sailing ships that he purchased at spar yards in the maritime district. He closed his workshop at 114 Centre Street in 1903, after completing a set of circus wagon carvings for Barnum & Bailey. Family Owned & Operated Cisco’s Gallery deals in the rare, exceptional, and one-of-a-kind pieces that define the history of America and the Old West. Our pieces range from American Indian to Cowboy Western and include original items of everyday life, commerce, art, and warfare that tamed America’s frontier. Our 14,000 square foot gallery opened in 1996 in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Personal Service Cisco’s operates on old fashioned values – honesty and integrity, and all of our items are backed by our money back guarantee. We appreciate the opportunity to earn your business. Whether you desire assistance with a jewelry purchase, choosing a gift, identification, or even selling – we hope to be your trusted source.
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 74 in (187.96 cm)Width: 16 in (40.64 cm)Depth: 19.5 in (49.53 cm)
  • Materials and Techniques:
  • Place of Origin:
  • Period:
  • Date of Manufacture:
    1885
  • Condition:
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Seller Location:
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
  • Reference Number:
    Seller: AH18511stDibs: LU4019339785142
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