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1927 Beech-Nut Chewing Tobacco Gene Tunney vs. Jack Dempsey Tri-Fold Advertising Display
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $1,541
This rare tri-fold advertising display for Beech-Nut Tobacco features a beautiful artistic rendition of the famous “Long-Count” heavyweight title fight between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney at Soldier Field in Chicago on September 22, 1927. This expensively produced store advertising display is a very large piece that was designed to have a big presence in stores. It would be impossible to miss, and obviously was a natural magnet for attention. The nighttime scene captures a packed-to-capacity crowd as they watch the two combatants square off in the illuminated ring that serves as the focal point of the piece. A large illustration of a pack of Beech-Nut tobacco is displayed at the top of the piece, with the tail smoke of a plane spelling out the words “The Scrap of the Century.” A white box just above the center bottom panel sets the scene: “A photographic reproduction of the/World’s Greatest Sporting Event/Heavyweight Championship Fight/Gene Tunney vs. Jack Dempsey/Soldier Field Chicago Sept. 22, 1927 – Attendance 145,000.” The large print at the base reads “Beech-Nut Chewing Tobacco/Quality Made it Famous.” Illustrated packages of Beech-Nut tobacco adorn the base of each side panel, with the words “No Stems” and “No Shorts” labeled, respectively, below the packs. Lorillard’s, which manufactured Beech-Nut tobacco, issued a similar tri-fold advertising display one year earlier that captured the action at Yankee Stadium during the 1926 World Series. The fact that the company repeated the format the following year, using the Dempsey/Tunney fight as its centerpiece, indicates that it was a hit with both merchants and patrons. The passage of time has in no way diminished its extraordinary visual appeal and this remains one of the classic sports advertising displays of the 1920s. It is also rare. This is the first example we have ever offered and we can recall having seen only one or two others over the years. The display (59 x 38 inches, unfolded), produced on heavy cardboard stock, has a number of minor handling flaws, including a few scratches, surface abrasions, edge wear, light stains, a small tear along the base of the left fold line. It appears that bottom portions of each end panel were at one time covered with a paper overlay, as a number of tiny remnants, some displaying print, are evident. It should be noted that none of the minor flaws detract in the least from the piece’s spectacular overall Excellent appearance and it displays much as it did in 1927. This is an extraordinary example of this extremely substantial store display piece, and one that would be a highlight in any advanced display advertising collection. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,541
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