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1928 Lloyd Waner Lucky Strike Trolley Car Sign
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $2,666.25
In 1928 Lucky Strike produced a series of five colorful advertising signs to be displayed in trolley cars. Each sign, which is similar in design, pictured a different baseball star of the day in promotion of Lucky Strike Cigarettes. Today, those signs are regarded as among the most attractive and desirable baseball advertising display pieces ever produced. They are also among the very few baseball advertising display pieces dating from the 1920s which are in full color. Offered here is an outstanding example of the Lucky Strike trolley car sign featuring Hall of Fame outfielder Lloyd Waner. The sign pictures a large illustration of Waner in a fielding pose and prominently identifies him by name along the top. Below his name, the advertisement extolls his status on the ball field: "Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Senasation—1927." His ringing endorsement appears alongside his image: "Luckies fine flavor is enjoyable..and they never cut my wind." It is interesting to note that 1928 was both the height of Lucky Strike's cigarette advertising blitz and the beginning of what is now an advertising staple: the celebrity endorsement. Lucky Strike launched the most aggressive tobacco advertising campaign ever seen in 1928 and, according to Allan M. Brandt in his authoritative work The Cigarette Century (Basic Books, New York, 2007), its campaign took full advantage "of the 'cult of personality' that emerged in the 1920s as a force in advertising." As a result, the American public was bombarded with testimonials by athletes, celebrities, entertainers, and socialites as to the benefits of smoking Lucky Strikes. In their choice of ballplayers, the company certainly recruited the cream of the crop, as all five players featured in their advertisements were later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (Lloyd Waner, Paul Waner, Harry Heilmann, Lefty Grove, and Tony Lazzeri). In the late 1970s a hoard of about fifty "Lucky Strike" signs surfaced. Most top-grade examples found today, almost certainly including this very piece, originate from that single find. The sign (21 x 11 inches) displays light staining along the white border areas and a few extremely minor creases (most can only be seen when viewed at certain angles). The colors remain flawlessly bright and the piece displays as Excellent. Mounted and framed to total dimensions of 29 x 19 inches. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000+. SOLD FOR $2,666.25
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