Cigar Store Indians

Wooden Cigar Store Indians

We Sell Native American hand carved Wooden Cigar Store Indians by Frank Gallagher. Aspen wood from Colorado is the preferred raw material for the creations of the Gallaghers. A photocopy of the two page story highlighting the Gallagher family from the June 1998 Issue of Arizona Highways will be sent with each Gallagher Indian.

We can have the Gallaghers carve a custom Wooden Cigar Indians for an additional price. They have carved a Plumber for us holding a pipe, wearing a hat (with their company logo), suspenders, a shirt with the company name on it and more. He can carve almost anything within reason. It can also be painted with what ever colors you choose.

Frank Gallagher, following in his ancestor's footsteps, is a highly skilled artesian in his own right. His art? The creation of Wooden Cigar Store Indians.

One of the original Wooden Indians are on display in the Smithsonian Institute. The Gallaghers continue the art of carving as their ancestor would want it; the old way - the right way - by hand.

The wide range of Wooden Cigar Store Indians that can be carved is absolutely astounding. Traditional Cigar Store Indians are in many forms - sculpted Indian chiefs, braves, princesses and Indian maidens, sometimes with boarded papooses. Most of these displayed some form of tobacco in their hands or on their clothing.

The American-made Cigar Store Indians were clothed in fringed buckskins, draped with blankets, decorated with feathered headdresses and sometimes shown holding tomahawks or bows, arrows and spears. Sadly, these "generic" Cigar Store Indians facial features rarely resembled members of any particular American Indian tribe.

However, not all of the Wooden Cigar Store Indians created were made by non-Native Americans. One of the most famous Native American carvers of Wooden Cigar Store Indians was Samuel Gallagher. Following the custom of Indian laborers of that era, Samuel took his employer's last name as his own. Samuel began carving Cigar Store Indians in the 1840's after almost all of his tribe, the Man-Dan were killed. Almost the entire Man-Dan village was infected by small pox - it practically wiped out the entire tribe. Samuel however, was away from the village at the time, and was spared the dread disease. His great, great grandson Frank is known to be one of approximately 12 true full-blooded Mandan Indians still living.

Wooden carvings, or Wooden sculptures, is one of the oldest and most widespread forms of natural art. Due to easy access to wood, the relative simplicity of the necessary technology, and the durability of the product, wood carving has been practiced in almost all cultures from the earliest times. Almost hand in hand with woodcarving has developed the agricultural revolution.

Tobacco, for example, is not a "necessary plant" for the continuation of life. Scholars have long debated how it became such an important crop to the indigenous people of the Americas. All that can be known for certain is that in 1561 Jean Nicot gave the tobacco plant the generic name, Nicotiana. In 1586. Sir Walter Raleigh began the popularization of pipe smoking gin Great Britain and the cultivation and consumption of tobacco spread with each voyage of discovery from Europe. This period was exciting for not only commerce but also art - the birth of three-dimensional wood carving evolved from it's previous two-dimensional state on friezes into the statues and forms more commonly seen today.

However it wasn't until 1617 that small wooden figures called "Virginie Men" were placed on counter tops to represent tobacco companies. These precursors to the traditional Native American styled Cigar Store Indians were called "Virginians" (the local English renditions of Indians) and were depicted as black men wearing headdresses and kilts made of tobacco leaves.

The bulk of the early Cigar Store Indians were carved in Eastern seaboard or Midwestern cities by artisans most likely never encountered a Native American; the figures appear to be white men in native garb. As time passed the American entrepreneurial spirit adapted as did the Wooden Cigar Store Indians with it. Some innovative tobacco sellers sought unconventional images for their trade signs to set them apart from the more established merchants. Suddenly a new market sprang up - Wooden Cigar Store Indian carvers competed among themselves for the various tobacconists' business, attempting to "one-up" one other in individuality, versatility and depth.

Wooden Cigar Store Indian artists like the Skillin family, John Cromwell, Thomas Brooks, and Samuel Robb operated full time studios. Many of these famous Cigar Store Indian woodworkers employed a full-time staff of carvers and painters to meet the high production demands for their Cigar Store Indian product. They put out catalogs of the various Cigar Store Indian product lines and frequently updated and expanded the Cigar Store Indian styles and materials. Their works testify to the contemporary enthusiasm for allegorical abstraction and graceful neoclassical forms.

Wooden Cigar Store Indians were designed to capture the attention of the people walking by, informing them that tobacco was sold inside. It is said that the average cigar smoker in America in the late 1800s couldn't read the words "Tobacconist Shop". Furthermore, the Wooden Cigar Store Indians was necessary for business. As America was quickly becoming a social melting pot of people with diverse origins, the average nineteenth-century American resident lacked a shared common language, and so the sidewalk cigar-store Indian was vital for business. Visual trade signs were essentially stand-ins for written sign-posts that might have been incomprehensible to potential customers, many of them immigrants. Thus the Cigar Store Indian, largely due to necessity but also due to its particular grandeur and style, is still famous today.

Today in the late 20th century the best of the Wooden Cigar Store Indians antique sculptures sell for as much as $100,000.

Native Americans have been handcrafting jewelry since they first drew inspiration from their natural surroundings and transformed shell and stone into wearable jewelry. Some of the oldest discovered pieces date from over 10,000 years ago. The skilled artisans at Alltribes continue the age-old tradition and create captivating works of art that will surpass your expectations!

Alltribes is one of the rare jewelry stores that has a workshop employing Native American artists creating extraordinary pieces of jewelry on site. While most of our silversmiths are Navajo, we employ artists from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some work from home, on the reservation, and some work here in our shop. Alltribes Native American Art and Jewelry blends ancient history, natural beauty, and unparalleled expertise flawlessly. We are conveniently located near Scottsdale, Mesa and Phoenix, AZ in the historic town of Gilbert. Unfortunately, due to Covid and other factors, we are unable to take walk in customers at this time. We are more than happy to offer curbside pickup if you are in the area, give us a call.

Our Jewelry

The design and quality of our Silver and Turquoise jewelry are unmatched and stand far above the rest. Turquoise conveys a special meaning as it has for centuries and in populations across the globe. Turquoise signifies healing, spirit and good fortune. With masterful techniques, our artisans incorporate this semi-precious stone into beautiful and intricate designs, drawing customers from around the world.

You can own a piece of Native American artistry without spending a fortune. Alltribes provides deep discounts because we don't purchase our jewelry elsewhere. Our in-house artists and silversmiths create custom pieces without the extra expenses of middlemen, shipping and tariffs.

Our Local History

Gilbert, AZ provides the ideal location for crafting our Native American jewelry. The Navajo and Hopi Indian tribes have inhabited nearby lands for many thousands of years. Their eternal respect for natural beauty and their innate talent shines through in every handcrafted piece of jewelry.

Our dazzling, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise comes from a nearby mine in Globe, AZ. This unique and exceedingly rare turquoise is renowned for its hardness, durability, and gorgeous color. Our artisans preserve the natural beauty of this precious stone, so you can admire its elegance for years to come. A hand buffed polish protects the stones and heightens its natural beauty.

Our Tradition

In addition to Native American jewelry, Alltribes upholds the ancient traditions of Native Americans by offering more than remarkable jewelry. We offer a wide variety of Native American Cultural Art including authentic Hopi Kachina dolls, pueblo pottery, Navajo Wool Rugs, hand-dyed leather belts, dreamcatchers, tomahawks and other Southwestern and Native American artifacts, to beautify your home and your life. It is our pleasure, to help spread knowledge about the Native American culture to the general public.

As part of our continuing effort to inform and inspire, we offer a vast array of in-depth knowledge for those who want to learn more about Native Americans and the Southwest. Our online knowledge center is free for all and includes some of the most interesting and complete information available online.

Alltribes has been serving our valued customers for over 50 years, so you can rest assured that when you have a question or concern, we'll be right here, ready to help. When you purchase something online today, you never know if the company will still be there, next week or next month.

Alltribes' reputation and longstanding experience ensure you get more than just jewelry – you get a wealth of seasoned knowledge and exceptional service…..that you can count on! We consider our customers to be part of our extended family and we're proud to say that our family now spans continents. We'd love to have you join us!

In addition to our local Native American products, we offer distinguished wares, sourced from Native American tribes across the U.S. Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and other Native American artists provide one-of-a-kind items that we proudly offer to you, at direct to you prices!

Alltribes is much more than just a manufacturer, store and knowledge center. We keep a jewelry workshop on site. If you want a custom design, our silversmiths will work with you to turn your dream into reality. Have an idea for something new? Talk with our artisans and discuss how to bring it to fruition. And should your beloved jewelry ever need to be repaired, we help with that, too.

Whether you're a Native American enthusiast, a collector, a designer or simply someone who loves beauty, Alltribes showcases a diverse collection of superior artifacts, sure to satisfy even the most selective customer.