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Jude's avatar

People who buy Black Americana collectibles; who are they?

Asked by Jude (31971 points ) November 23rd, 2011

When looking at antiques on various sites, I often see Black Americana collectibles. What sort of a person do you think collects this stuff?

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11 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Museums?
Anthropologists?

Earthgirl's avatar

It is often more collectible because of being more rare. A lot of it is what could be called politely non PC. Impolitely, it could be called offensive. It is a part of our history whether we are comfortable with it or not. But I think it might be a little hard to understand as you seem to imply, if a white person collects it. It could be a person with a real appreciation for African American folk art. I guess it depends on what you are talking about. I know that Black Kewpie dolls for example are usually much more valuable just because they are more rare.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ANTIQUE-PRIMITIVE-RARE-KEWPIE-DOLL-BABY-BOY-CAST-IRON-ART-HOME-DOORSTOP-STATUE-/310222336657?pt=Antiques_Decorative_Arts&hash=item483ab13291#ht_4029wt_836

gondwanalon's avatar

It is collectible because it is history. I’ve got some tobacco in a big can and also in a card-board container that is nearly 100 years old. I can’t write the name if it here but it is called “N….. Hair Tobacco”. And has a face of a black man with a huge afro and big rings in his nose and ears on the packages. I cherish this odd collectible and wouldn’t think of selling it. If you have the nerve to look at what I have then see this

Kayak8's avatar

I bought a house years ago that included a number of collectibles that, if owned by a white person, would have been suspect. The owner was, in fact, an African American woman. She and I later had a chance to talk and she explained that she collected slave-era collectibles as a way to stay real with herself and her accomplishments (it was a 3-story Victorian house with butler’s pantry, etc.).

gravity's avatar

@Earthgirl Wow… thanks for sharing that. I am from the deep south and I have never seen a Black Kewpie doll. I love Kewpie dolss and always have! I don’t see as much of the primitive artwork as in the past but I must say I have seen it. I used to work in a gift shop about 20 years ago and often saw people collecting this type of art as figurines and dolls and such. always interesting to me… just a part of history… even bad history is history.

anartist's avatar

Many are educated upper middle class blacks who collect historical artifacts from a past they have overcome.

JLeslie's avatar

A black girlfriend of mine collects black Santa Clauses. Not sure they are antique though.

I had a neighbor who had some black statue type things in his backyard, if I remember correctly it was two black, um I think children, sitting on a log. It was actually a nice piece of art in my opinion, but I am sure it would likely be perceived as racist. Another friend of mine once mentioned a relative through marriage had a lawn jocky on his lawn. The lawn jockey guy was definitely a racist and idiot.

Cupcake's avatar

I have a racist coworker who lives way out in the country who collects old african-american figurines. Knowing how she feels about people of color, it makes me uncomfortable… like she’s laughing at them with her figurines.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake I find it so odd that racist people own black figurines. I just don’t really understand why.

Cupcake's avatar

I don’t think that she would consider herself a racist.

When she was growing up, her father used to get all of the kids in the car and drive to the “city” to visit their grandparents. Part of the allure of the trip was stopping at the ice cream stand and sitting in the (locked) car eating ice cream while laughing at the “coloreds” who “probably couldn’t afford any ice cream”.

So it’s really not so surprising to me to find out that she has a figurine of a black man with a string that when pulled drops his pants and exposes his behind. She finds it funny. I find it possibly interesting within a certain context, but offensive since I am familiar with her beliefs (and fears) about people of color.

Jude's avatar

@Cupcake I hate people like that.

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