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Lot # 668 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1890s Occupational Shaving Mug and Children's Mug Collection (7)

Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $5,800.00

Collection of five circa 1890s occupational shaving mugs decorated with baseball designs. All types of occupational shaving mugs are highly collected. Baseball-theme shaving mugs are particularly rare. A collection of five is extraordinary, all the more so when they are of such high quality as is the case with the five examples presented in this lot. Occupational shaving mugs were very popular between the years 1880 and 1920. Though clearly magnificent decorative works of art, their rise in popularity before the turn-of-the-century was caused as much out of a concern for public health as artistic expression. Due to an epidemic of disease that appeared to relate to shaving, barbers began the practice of keeping individual shaving mugs for each of their regular patrons. In fact, many towns and cities passed legislation requiring the use of individual mugs, with the mugs identified by name and number. Because illiteracy was still widespread during the era, particularly in rural areas, barbers often labeled the mugs with a picture of the patron's trade or primary tools. A regular patron at a barbershop was recognized and honored with his own mug, often beautifully decorated. Mugs have survived to this day featuring nearly every occupation of the time including doctor, butcher, tanner, telegraph operator, woodworker, plumber, etc. These five occupational shaving mugs were carefully assembled by our consignor over a period of many years. Three of the white ceramic mugs are particularly elaborate and bear colorful baseball player images, while the other two display a bat and ball motif. Four of the mugs feature the former owner's name in ornate gilt lettering. All of the mugs average 3.75 inches in height, with the average diameter measuring 3.5 inches. One of the mugs (featuring an illustrated design and the name C. G. Nothwang) has two breaks along the base which, though they have not been repaired, are not very noticeable and do not detract from its extraordinary display value; otherwise, all are in Excellent to Mint condition. Accompanying the collection are two small circa 1860s children's mugs that would be perfect for display with the larger mugs. The first is an early Staffordshire china mug (3 inches in height and diameter) featuring an illustrated colorful transfer design of children playing "ball." The phrase "Trap Bat & Ball" is lettered along the base. This mug illustrates a very early form of ball playing which is very likely a direct predecessor to the game of baseball. Ex. The second is a ceramic mug (2.5 inches in height and diameter) featuring an illustrated scene of children playing catch. Vg-Ex. Total 7 pieces (5 occupational shaving mugs and two additional children's mugs). Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000/$6,000. SOLD FOR $5,800.00


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