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Collecting Black Memorabilia: A Chat with Roger Lewis

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Collecting Black Memorabilia: A Chat with Roger Lewis

Rosa Parks Cookie Jar

Whenever I get a chance to talk with experts I always take advantage of the opportunity to get their input on what's going on in the their world of collecting.

Recently I had a chance to chat with well-known dealer and collector of Black Memorabilia, Roger Lewis. Roger has been collecting for over thirty years and is a well-known dealer on the east coast. Roger is known to jar and Black Memorabilia collectors for his commissioning of two cookie jars several years ago, Rosa Parks and Josephine Baker, both made by A Little Company.

Roger, what's particularly hot right now?
High-end original artwork! Original pieces by black artists. I am always getting calls from people looking for artists such as Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Charles White. Collectors want their original stuff.

Other hot items would be the high-end Majolica, humidors and Brayton Laguna -- all featuring black characters. Another surprising item was the Josephine Baker cookie jar that recently sold for $1300.

Is there anything not particularly popular right now?
Black salt and peppers are not selling very well right now.

What advice would you give to collectors who want to get into collecting Black Memorabilia? Any lower-end items they should look for?
Not low-end items. Starting collectors should try and start out mid-level, perhaps something like the German humidors featuring black characters. These humidors can start at around $100.

Also look for different original artwork and unusual items.

Look for the type of things that aren't particularly categorized. For instance I have a black character lamp in every room of my house! Folks coming to my house are amazed at how many different black character lamps I have.

This is a case of finding something unusual and making it your collection.

Thanks, that's good advice for any beginner -- finding the unusual collectible as a starting point for a collection!

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