Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Highly Sought William Demuth's Smoking Punch Tobacconist Figure

    Rare Punch Cigar Store Advertising Figure Cast in Zinc, Circa 1885.
    Over time many other figures were made by Demuth, but the Punch figure remains the most difficult example to acquire and rarely comes in this spectacular condition. An identical example can be seen in Frederick Fried's 1970 book Artists in Wood included with this lot.

    Standing 18.5" tall, this figure depicts the Lord of Misrule, Punchinello. With cigars in one hand, the figure seemingly beckons the shopper into the tobacconist's store to buy a cigar. Cast into the base is the following: " Wm. Demuth & Co. Manufacturers New York". Demuth, well known as a distributor of carved pipes and cigar store trade figures, formed a partnership in 1863 with a Brooklyn foundry operator, Moritz Seelig, to produce cast metal trade figures to sell through Demuth's catalog alongside the standard wooden figures that had been so popular. The metal figures, although more expensive, were described in the catalog as being made of zinc so as they were not subject to "cracking from exposure to climatic changes." This example retains an extraordinary amount of the original paint with much of its patina still present, especially on the gold-colored decoration. It's an honest and clean example with no retouching or repair. Punch still has his original cigar hanging, clinched between his teeth. His back is fitted with a metal tube for making puffs of smoke flow through his cigar.

    Over time many other figures were made by Demuth, but the Punch figure remains the most difficult example to acquire. The last recorded sale was a very fine example that realized $180,000 in 2008.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    4th-5th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,364

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 June 7 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $950,931