Tuesday, April 24, 2012
From Laura Starr; Black Dolls as signs for Pawnshops
In Chapter XVII, Starr writes of a shop in London, "A Dolly Shop," which sells, nto dolls, but an unlicensed "apwnshop where old clothes form the principal stock in trade . .. A black doll is always used and some writers contend that this is an image of the black virgins that are common in Catholic countries. " Starr goes on to describe the origins of this type of doll, "In NOrton Falgate . . there was a shop for the sale of toys and rags. One day an old woman brought a large bundle of rags to sell. Shea sekd the proprietor not to open it until she should return and see it weighed As the woman did not return, the budle was opened . . to the ragman's surprise he found ablack doll enatly dressed, wearing a pair of gold earrings. HE hung it over his door that the woman might see it and ocme to claim her porperty" (Starr 176). The woman saw the doll and returned; she settled with the shop owner, but left him the doll to use as a sign. Another legend Starr writes about is that the black doll came about because old clothes were traded to African peoples and tribes. I've seen dolls used as signs in old thrift shops, and in front of a radiator repair shop once. In Carmel, a wooden doll carved as a flapper was used as a sign, and had to be taken down because of an oridnance. The owner then put a $20,000 price tag on the doll; this way, she could use her log. Nuts, if you ask me.