Advertising for J.P. Alley’s Hambone Cigars (Black Americana) @1927

Image of African-American pilot smoking a cigar, while flying a plane (‘Going Over’) over ocean, with destination being Paris. Satire on Lindbergh’s 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Same image on both sides.

J.P. ALLEY’S Hambone Sweets 5¢ ‘Above All Five Cent Cigars’ 5¢ FINEST QUALITY

Hole at top with string.

This sign was designed to be suspended from ceilings in tobacco shops and other retail locations where cigars were sold. This form of sign was widely used to advertise cigars from the 1920s to 1950s and is referred to in the trade as a "drop" or “fan pull.”

Printed on thick cardboard with embossed lettering.

Nice condition, some light stains.

7” diameter

 

I do not support the sentiments expressed on this card. I offer it as a testament of the culture of those times.

 

Hambone was the nickname of Tom Hunley, a folk-wisdom spouting ex-slave interviewed late in his life by a young Memphis editorial cartoonist James Pinckney “J.P.” Alley who was enthralled by Hunley’s humorously philosophical tone. Alley turned the old man’s pithy observations on life into a syndicated illustrated newspaper column called “Hambone’s Meditations” which debuted in 1916 and was soon followed by two books. When J.P. died in 1934, his son Calvin took over his work, and the Hambone character continued in papers until 1968.

Starting in the late 1920’s, two different cigar companies (over time, not at once) were licensed to market cheap cigars under the character’s name and Alley’s illustration. The image on the cigar box label is a satire on Lindberg’s 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

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