Offered is a colorful, 1883, lithographed, Lime Kiln Club, Black Americana, Cigar Label by Mensing & Stecher of Rochester, New York (company noted in the lower left corner). The lithographed 8" x 6" label would have been placed on the inside cover of the traditional wooden cigar box of that era. This highly detailed label features a caricature image of a very boisterous group of African Americans at a lodge meeting. The moderator is trying to get order while some of the members talk and fight amongst themselves with one even holding a pistol.
A trademark label affixed to the bottom of a sour mash whiskey barrel, "ICMCo" stands for the Ithaca (New York) Cigar Manufacturing Co. for whom the label was made.
Interestingly, this cigar label was based on a racial parody book featuring a fictitious fraternal organization of African-Americans, titled 'Brother Gardner's Lime-Kiln Club' by "M. Quad". Quad, in actuality, was noted newspaper columnist and satirist, Charles Bertrand Lewis, of the Detroit Free Press.
Framed in an 8.75" x 10.75" silver-toned wood frame, this Lime Kiln Club lithographed label is extraordinarily scarce and highly sought after. It is listed as one of the top 100 blue chip cigar labels by "InStone 100" (a cigar label rating organization). The lower right hand corner notes the US Patent Office Registry date of May 22nd 1883. This 19th century piece would benefit from professional framing using archival, acid-free materials to enhance its life for many more years to come.
Condition: The color remains as brilliant as the day this 140 year old label was produced! Four unobtrusive and minor tears are noted: two in the lower left corner area, one at the center top near the moderator's gavel, and one between the K and I in Kiln. A crease is noted in the white margin above the label title, and a water mark is present in the lower right side of the white margin. However, none of these blemishes detract from this highly intricate lithograph! Take a few moments to carefully study all of the activity and detailing in this colorful piece!