Jolly N*g*er Piggy Bank (Top Hat)

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Identifier

TBAFB0019

Title

Jolly N*g*er Piggy Bank (Top Hat)

Description

Castiron coin bank was made to resemble a blackface caricature of a Black man. The figure has an arm outstretched which acts as a holder with a lever behind his left shoulder. When pressed, the arm raises and the figure's mouth opens (by removing the 'tongue') and causes its eyes to roll back in its head. The figure wears a black suit with blue trimmings and a white bowtie, along with a characteristic blue-trimmed top hat that distinguishes it from the other bank of the same name. The figure is also depicted with large red lips, white teeth, and brown painted eyes. On the figure's back the words "Jolly Nigger Bank" are raised and painted white atop a blue background. The bottom bears the manufacturer's name "J. E. Stevens" along with a patent number "PAT445" as well as a date of manufacture "1896".

Creator

J. E. Stevens

Relation

Facing Blackness is a multimedia exhibition that takes the public through the obscure history of portraying Black people from the colonial period to contemporary society. Using unique archive material and visual art, we show how anti-black racism became part of the Dutch 'cultural archive' and our everyday ideas, customs and utensils. On the other hand, the exhibition shows how there has always been 'everyday resistance' to various forms of racism and how Black people themselves have given and continue to give meaning to their culture and identity.

Source

The Black Archives

Format

Piggy Bank

Subject

Black Caricature

Coverage

Suit, Top-Hat

Date

c.1896

Physical Dimensions

15x15x21

Country of Production

USA

Place of Production

Cromwell (Connecticut)

Keywords

Black Caricature, Piggy Bank

Rightholder

J. E. Stevens

Archived By

Richard Weaver

Oral History

Doing research during the archiving process - Richard discovered that there is a strange connection between the US and UK makers of these racist castiron piggy banks, where both J.E.Stevens and John Harper & Co are using the same exact stylings and moulds for their designs despite being separated and patented by both companies.

Bibliography

https://www.mechanicalbanks.org/sy/schreckinger-text.htm ; https://www.mechanicalbanks.org/sy/s-1982-1990/1983-12.htm

Citation

J. E. Stevens, “Jolly N*g*er Piggy Bank (Top Hat),” The Black Archives, accessed November 26, 2022, https://collection.theblackarchives.nl/items/show/3547.
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