Sherrys Antiques and Collectibles

Old RIP horny toad figurine by House of Webster
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Old RIP horny toad figurine by House of Webster


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Directory: Cyberattic: Pre 1940: Item # 1019461

Please refer to our stock # safn-1340 when inquiring.
Sherrys Antiques* Collectibles* Frivolous Necessities
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This ceramic horny toad (actually a horned lizard, not a toad) was made by The House of Webster Ceramics, once located in Eastland, Texas. This is a shade of olive green. In raised letters on the horny toad's chest is "Old Rip" possibly the most famous horny toad of all time. According to the legend, in 1897 a horned lizard was placed in the cornerstone of the county's third courthouse. When it was demolished in 1928 to make way for the current Art Deco model, the cornerstone was opened and, according to published accounts, a crowd of 3,000 turned up to see the opening of the old building's time capsule. To everyone's surprise, when the marble box was opened the interred lizard was still alive--some 31 years later! Skeptics questioned whether the critter could have survived in such circumstances, but the lizard became an instant celebrity and was dubbed "Old Rip" (after Rip Van Winkle). Town folks took him on a tour of the nation that included a stop in Washington, D.C. to meet President Calvin Coolidge. The travel and excitement must have been too much for Old Rip because on January 19, 1929, he went to the pesticide-free land in the sky. The autopsy showed that he had fluid in his tiny lungs and pneumonia was listed as the cause of death. One would think that the Texas tale would have ended there, but there's more. In 1962, according to Wesley Treat's Texas Twisted, gubernatorial candidate John Connally couldn't pass up a photo op with Eastland's most famous resident. But when Connally held up the mummified lizard by its hind leg, the limb broke off, to the chagrin of county officials and the amusement of the press. This Old Rip still has all four limbs and is in perfect condition.

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