auction

Right so.

Lot 545 Keighery Antiques And City Auction Room

Thanks Nialls

117 thoughts on “Under The Hammer

  1. Formerly known as @ireland.com

    That is probably the name that it is known as. If they use some PC name, people who want one, may not find it.

    The Kiwis are renaming some places, with names of a similar nature.

      1. Anomanomanom

        Well its not racist anyway. It’s an inanimate object not a person. And it’s probably genuinely what people would have called it(I know that was/is racist), but if it’s going on sale you would need to call it the name it’s known by.

          1. Anomanomanom

            By all of today’s standards it extremely racist. I’m talking about in the context of this particular item. But it’s an item in an auction, not really racist.

          2. Dόn Pídgéόní

            Ah, it’s not the object that people are objecting to (although maybe racist Nan would love it for Xmas, I don’t know), it’s the description that is used and the use of n****r. That is offensive and really not called for. There are other words that can be used.

          3. Sido

            So you would prefer “black guy” money box then as an inclusive name for this item that we can all get behind?

          4. Dόn Pídgéόní

            Inclusive or not racist Sido?

            Go on, use your huge brain to think of another term you could use.

          5. Sido

            I prefer to use my huge brain on more testing problems Don. I see matters progressive taste, like this, best and more comically, left to yourself and the likes of Moyest. Though thanks for the invitation.

          6. Jess

            Don I have to disagree with you there, this isn’t the auctioneers fault. This is an historical artifact, it does nobody any favours to make the description of the item more palatable. Its description as a n****r makes me uncomfortable, and it will make the auctioneer uncomfortable. But it should do that. It highlights a moment in human history where de-humanisation was so commonplace that it can be on a child’s toy..

            Its like The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there was a short lived movement to remove references to or rename N****g Jim that quite rightly did not take off. The argument that not only was it a work of literature but it was also a historical document. Personally I think its worth reminding ourselves not only of the horrors of racism but also how mundane it can be when its accepted

          7. Dόn Pídgéόní

            You can have all of those discussions about race and history, lynchings and dehumanisation without using what we know today is a word that has a lot of negative power. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. It would be better to not use the word out of respect for the connotations that it produces based precisely on the history that it conjures up, especially when trading in these kinds of goods that rely on the very stereotypes that as a progressive and inclusive society we try not perpetuate.

            This is really all about context. A book using that term written when it was is fine because it reflects that time and context in which it was set. An object doesn’t have that same context, it is in the here and now, not in the past. Other terms can and should be used and that isn’t a bad thing, it’s not PC gone mad, it doesn’t take anything away from it.

            This is long. Even I’ve lost my train of thought..

          8. Jess

            I disagree that an object does not have the same context as a book, artifacts are equally relevant to books when looking at history. Both come from a certain time and have a setting. Do slaves iron collars have less context than a treatise on the subject? Changing the name of this item changes the context, it dilutes it and as such dilutes the argument against racism because you are taking away a real world example of racism.

            You cannot have an effective conversation about historical racism and ignore how mundane and every day it was and is, and the best example of how every day it was is represented by this item. Pretending de-humanising language didn’t exist serves the opposite purpose to fighting racism today, it quite literally is white washing history

          9. Nigel

            Jess, to be honest I’m not sure what the problem is. The item is up for sale, as described. The response is to go wow, WTF. People seem to be taking an attitude of mild shock at the naked, casual, tacky everyday nature of the racism it represents as some sort of call to deny it ever existed and wipe it from history? I mean, one can be objectively accepting about the racism that existed in the past and the way it was expressed, but foran artifact of that past to suddenly appear and take people aback as a bracing reminder of what things were like is hardly surprising and suggestive that at the very least, times have changed. I don’t know how the auctioneer should have presented it, whether the up front way they did, or if a more contextualised approach would have been better, but surely it can be discussed without mystifying accusations of denying(?) or rewriting(?) history.

          10. Dόn Pídgéόní

            I disagree that an object does not have the same context as a book, artifacts are equally relevant to books when looking at history.

            Yes, looking at it. But the choice of words to describe it can reflect “modern” sensibilities, whatever they may be, without taking away that context and without using terms which are now consider offensive.

            Both come from a certain time and have a setting. Do slaves iron collars have less context than a treatise on the subject?

            You wouldn’t call those n****r collars in a museum now would you? No but that’s what they were called. Changing the use of language here doesn’t take anything away from it, doesn’t change anything, or dilute anything about how horrible that was.

            You cannot have an effective conversation about historical racism and ignore how mundane and every day it was and is, and the best example of how every day it was is represented by this item.

            Exactly. The very existence of something so stereotypical shows that. But calling it a n****r vase or whatever helps how in a modern world where we know this?

            Pretending de-humanising language didn’t exist serves the opposite purpose to fighting racism today, it quite literally is white washing history.

            Again, I’m not pretending it doesn’t exist. I also don’t think that calling this a n***r can is going to have any effect whatsoever on the use of racist language today, particularly when it is using racist language. As to whitewashing history, how is it possibly doing that? Its a vase…

          11. Jess

            Hi Nige. No of course it’s not surprising that people are taken aback, people should be taken aback by it. Changing the name removes that effect.

          12. Nigel

            That’s a fair point, though I think there might be a balance necessary between complacent white people needing a bit of a shock to the system every now and then (and how can we be sure such shocks don’t reinforce complacency by assuring modern white people that we’ve left all that behind?) and not being completely insensitive to people who aren’t white and probably not very complacent about the issue at all.

          13. Jess

            “You wouldn’t call those n****r collars in a museum now would you? No but that’s what they were called”

            Were they? Is that what they were advertised or patented as? Or was this just a colloquial term.

            “Exactly. The very existence of something so stereotypical shows that. But calling it a n****r vase or whatever helps how in a modern world where we know this?”

            Because that’s what it was called. As I pointed out it helps because it shows as a real world example of racism and how common that word was.

            ” Again, I’m not pretending it doesn’t exist. I also don’t think that calling this a n***r can is going to have any effect whatsoever on the use of racist language today, particularly when it is using racist language. As to whitewashing history, how is it possibly doing that? Its a vase…”

            Its not just a vase, its an antique and an artifact being sold at an auctioneering house. An auctioneer must present the item honestly, even if they think the name is grossly offensive.

          14. Jess

            “Whitewashing history… that is some silly right there”

            And Don, I’m being polite in my responses to you. I’d like to think you can do the same.

          15. Dόn Pídgéόní

            1) Yes, that’s what they were called. And by your argument, it doesn’t matter if it was just a colloquial term or not, to be truly representative of the time and place they need to be called that.

            2) This is circular – see above. If people want a real world example of racism, look out the window. It’s still there. Calling an object on an antique dealers website is not going to educate anyone. Museums who have these objects don’t call them that and that would be where a lot people get their education on race and it’s representation in objects.

            3) Again, this is circular. Yes, it is an antique but it is being sold in modern times. There are choices about the language that you use. They have made a choice which I think is completely wrong and without merit. Your reasons for supporting it are extremely poor and surprising from you tbh, as much as my opinion of you counts for anything.

            I would interested in hear more about how not using n****r is white washing history. I would prefer that to come from someone who is a POC as I don’t think either of us have as much skin the game tbh do we?

          16. Dόn Pídgéόní

            ““Whitewashing history… that is some silly right there”

            And Don, I’m being polite in my responses to you. I’d like to think you can do the same.”

            I apologise but seriously.. I would like to see some writing to support that.

          17. Dόn Pídgéόní

            @ Nigel – spot on. Also, in this day and age, most people know you don’t use that word. It’s a pretty clear indication of someone being a massive racist. What complacent white people could use education on is not these obvious cues of racism but more insidious ones. Like those kids being kicked out of an Apple store or people pulled over simply for driving a nice car while black. Thankfully that is largely where we are today with racism but we could be doing more about these smaller but no less harmful events.

          18. Jess

            1: No I never once said that, nor did I imply that.

            2: The antique dealer did not make up the name, nor do they have a responsibility to fight modern day racism, they have a duty to represent things by their actual name.

            The fact that racism still exists

            3: So what if its sold in modern times? all things are sold in modern times

            4: “I would interested in hear more about how not using n****r is white washing history. ”

            I never said not using that word is whitewashing history. I said removing it from historical artifacts where it was used is whitewashing history. It is doctoring the past in the most literal fashion.

            “I would prefer that to come from someone who is a POC as I don’t think either of us have as much skin the game tbh do we?”

            I fail to see how the fact that I am not a POC gives credence to your argument over mine. How do you know that a black person would take more offence to this item being called what it is, what you think it should be, or be more offended that some white people have decided to hide their past racism by renaming a historical object. Perhaps we should leave it to them rather than deciding for them?

          19. Dόn Pídgéόní

            Jess, that is your entire argument.

            You disagree, fine, well not fine but I’m not likely to convince you either. They made the choice to use a term that is LOADED with racial prejudice when there was no reason to. They could have used a lot of different words but CHOSE to use the most racist one. Go figure. Douche bag antique dealer is a douche bag.

            “I never said not using that word is whitewashing history. I said removing it from historical artifacts where it was used is whitewashing history. It is doctoring the past in the most literal fashion.”

            So you said it…If that’s not what you meant, I’d be interested to hear what you did mean.

            Jess, neither you or me are going to be particularly concerned if someone uses the term n***r are we. As Nigel says, as white folk we will go, oh that’s not on, or weird why did they use that, or have a long and drawn out internet comment exchange about whether we think this is racist or not. Someone who is a POC is not going to have that same reaction, that word is way way way more loaded for them and I would be more interested in what they have to say on it then I would another white person because it doesn’t have the same meaning for us. Much like the abortion debate and men being involved – support us women to get abortion but at some point, you need to step back because it isn’t about you anymore.

          20. Jess

            Why do you think they made the choice to use that term? What would you name this item, serious question.

            They used that term because when this item was being manufactured and sold that’s what it was called, not its description, its name. If you google the item you will find several other examples. No amount of sensitivity will remove the fact that historically that was what it was called. Its molded onto the cast metal thing for gods

            “Jess, neither you or me are going to be particularly concerned if someone uses the term n***r are we.”

            Yes I am quite concerned actually. someone using that term would immediately inform me of the type of person they are. Someone using that term

            You may assume that you know exactly how a POC would react, but I’m afraid you don’t. You can’t assume that the presence of the word in historical context it more offensive to someone else that removing it from that context. I’m sorry but you don’t get to claim authority on that, nor do I.

          21. Dόn Pídgéόní

            “Why do you think they made the choice to use that term? What would you name this item, serious question.”
            African-American is a good start, pretty sure that’s what most people use, even if it is molded onto it. What is it costing you not to use that instead?

            “Yes I am quite concerned actually. someone using that term would immediately inform me of the type of person they are. Someone using that term”
            But you are fine with it in this context and that I do not understand at all. Your arguments in support of this make no sense and you aren’t even standing by them – see is it whitewashing or not.

            “You may assume that you know exactly how a POC would react, but I’m afraid you don’t.”
            Previous articles on similar occasions give me an idea but, no I wouldn’t assume and I’m not. That’s why I ask for the opinion of POC. As I would defer to the opinion of a woman in the case of women’s rights. I’m surprised that you don’t see the similarity given how clued up you are on that. A feminism that ignore race gives our local MRAs the perfect logical in to say, well, white feminists talk to the issues of black women all the time, why can’t I talk to the rights of women?

            “I’m sorry but you don’t get to claim authority on that, nor do I.”
            We are both doing exactly that Jess! Luckily BS is a bastion of whiteness so we could just make it up :)

            I don’t think I much more to say to be honest, I just don’t get why you of all people are giving this a pass.

          22. Nigel

            ‘2: The antique dealer did not make up the name, nor do they have a responsibility to fight modern day racism, they have a duty to represent things by their actual name.’

            I assume that in the interests of decorum that there are other, acceptable, terms of art that could be used with which interested parties would be familiar. This seems like a lapse to me, but perhaps it’s not. Perhaps the racist antique object trade doesn’t go in for decorum?

          23. Jess

            “African-American is a good start”

            Ok leaving aside that these were also manufactured in Britain. You do realize that the use of the word n****r is not an adjetive here. The name of the object in question was manufactured and sold under the name ‘The Jolly n****r bank’, there is no other name i can find by which it went. They were never called ‘ the jolly african american bank’.

            If your selling an item you need to use the name it was manufactured under. Same if i was selling a car or anything else. If you were to advertise it under a different name, you would not be truthful.

            The auctioneer is selling the item under the only name it has. That is the difference. He is not describing it as a depiction of a black person using the word n****r, it is the difference between an adjective and a noun, a quotation and an original statement, a historical item and one being manufactured today.

            I also don’t understand how changing its name would do any good in your eyes. Everything about this thing is racist, its looks, its name, the fact that it has ‘the jolly n***r’ cast in iron on it, the fact that its made for children.

            I don’t understand how taking away only one thing and calling it ‘the jolly african american’ would make this any more palatable. I would have thought that calling it african american is more racist, its not like its an accurate portrayal, its totally dehumanising in every aspect.

          24. Jess

            “I assume that in the interests of decorum that there are other, acceptable, terms of art that could be used with which interested parties would be familiar. ”

            Nigel i think you are understanding my argument better than Don. This is not a category of item or a description of the item. It is the name of the item.

            Perhaps they will have a description that says ‘The Jolly n****r bank: late 19th century racist depiction. An example of coonism” when it comes to the auction, i don’t know. Perhaps they should have some description, perhaps they shouldn’t sell the thing at all. But the one option that is not open to them is to sell the item under a false name.

          25. Dόn Pídgéόní

            I understand your argument, I don’t think it’s valid. As I have said. Repeatedly.

            “Coonism”? Jay-sus Christ…

          26. Dόn Pídgéόní

            How is calling something a piggy bank of an African American more racist than jolly n**”r? Seriously?

            As you were Jess, . This has been a real eye opener.

        1. Dόn Pídgéόní

          “if it’s going on sale you would need to call it the name it’s known by”

          Are you high right now?

          1. Dόn Pídgéόní

            Because only someone who was drunk or high would say its fine to use a racial slur in a description of an object because it’s more important for folk to have a term that will be accurate in their online searches of antiques.

          2. Nigel

            Because using a racial slur in the description of a racist antique object is somehow related to its use by African American musicians? What?

          3. rotide

            Don said:
            “if it’s going on sale you would need to call it the name it’s known by”

            Are you high right now?

            I’m merely pointing out that if you wanted a hardcopy of Niggaz in Paris, You would indeed have to march into HMV and and use the word.

          4. Nigel

            And one is offensive and the other isn’t and I’m pretty sure you’re smart enough to know why so this is tedious.

          5. rotide

            One isn’t offensive?

            Well at least you finally understand the concept of context, i look forward to next halloween.

          6. Sido

            Whereas you Don, excel at being unpleasant and trying to close down debate on Broadsheet.
            Seriously, you should look at the amounts of posts it gets nowadays compared with a year ago.
            You should try and remember that this is John Ryan’s business and Bodger’s employment. Instead of ruining what was once a good site for the rest of us.

          7. Dόn Pídgéόní

            CAREFUL EVERYONE! I AM SO POWERFUL AT THE INTERNETS I AM CLOSING DOWN BROADSHEET AND TAKING FOOD FROM THE BABY BODGERS!!

            That made me laugh a lot, thanks.

          8. Neilo

            @Don Pidgeoni: not all hard copy purchasers are vinyl-loving hipsters, some of us are hi-res loving dorks.

          9. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Instead of ruining what was once a good site for the rest of us.”

            Holy Jayzus, are you simple. An anonymous avatar writes a comment you’re free not to read and this is ‘ruining’ BS for you. AND you think you speak for other people as well. The amount of clearly emotionally unstable idiots that frequent internet message boards is starting to make me think I need to do a bit of introspection.

          10. Nigel

            Rotide doesn’t seem to think so. Rotide’s going to dress up as that album next Halloween and try to scare people with it.

          11. MoyestWithExcitement

            Ok. You’re clearly a very smart man who everyone should listen to and who definitely isn’t socially retarded in real life so I’ll take your words on board.

          12. Dόn Pídgéόní

            Careful Sido, for every lobotomised shadow insult, BS loses a limerick a day from the archives

        2. Nigel

          I think the answer really depends on what, if anything, is considered best practice for auction houses selling items like this and whether this adheres to that best practice.

  2. Mr. T.

    It’s an antique from a different time. It’s naive and ignorant to attempt to apply contemporary racial etiquette to it.

    1. Nigel

      While dignity and sensitivity might seem inimical to the object itself, you might hope for an effort at either or both from the auction house.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Aye. ‘Hello, folks. I’m selling this ‘The Irish are dirty, potato eating degenerates and they’re really stupid as well’ money box made in London in the 1920s’. I’m sure *no* Irish people would be offended by that just like nobody was offended by a comedy about the famine that hadn’t even been released.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Excellent. I’ll be able to renew my subscription to ‘Knaves and Rogues Monthly’ with the money.

        1. rotide

          I’m offended that you would use the morons who were offended by that proposed comedy as an example of anything at all.

        2. munkifisht

          https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=anti+irish+propaganda&num=100&espv=2&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjY39PplLjJAhXCbxQKHeUsByQQsAQIIA&biw=917&bih=950

          “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs”

          Just because something’s racially offensive today (not racist. Racism implies intent. Inanimate objects can’t be racist) does not mean it doesn’t hold a historical significance. Personally I find this anti Irish propaganda fascinating and important to understand how attitudes towards the historically reviled Irish have changed over the centuries.

          Then again, modern society is pathetic in how it wants to brush away racism like it never existed. Putting your fingers in your ears and shouting “LALALALALALALA” isn’t going to make racism go away.

          1. scottser

            it wasn’t so long ago you’d send a christmas card covered in swastikas and your ma would be boasting to the neighbours about her new ‘nigger brown’ carpet.
            mad times.

          2. munkifisht

            True that. I remember loving an ol Golly bar. I mean fer fupp sake!

            Point though is it’s not healthy for a society to pretend that that’s not the way things were. This has a great educational aspect to it if nothing else.

          3. Spaghetti Hoop

            I agree. You cannot erase 140 years of Minstrel Shows and their influence on American music development. What is also interesting is the amount of food packaging that depicted blackface in the UK and Ireland…Lyons Tea as I mentioned, there was also a jam and flour I believe.

        3. Anomanomanom

          Who got offended by the famine show? I honestly know No one who was offended. And your showing your ignorance in comparing a sentence describing irish people(I did laugh though) to a single word that was used against black people.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Who got offended by the famine show?”

            Quite a lot of people, hence why there was so media attention for a tv show which literally hadn’t even been written at that point.

            “I honestly know No one who was offended.”

            And of course, if you don’t see something, it doesn’t exist.

            “And your showing your ignorance in comparing a sentence describing irish people(I did laugh though) to a single word that was used against black people.”

            Funnily enough, you’re showing your ignorance now, with that line….and a troubling lack of understanding. The ‘single word that was used against black people’ had a meaning, you know. It had connotations. It reminds black people about things like the ‘three fifths clause’. The word’s purpose was to tell a black person they were inferior to a white person. Just because there’s no ‘one single word’ for how Irish people were viewed by Brits (very similar to how blacks were viewed by whites) doesn’t make the comparison I gave any less appropriate.

      2. Mr. T.

        No, the item is what it is. You sell it as is and describe it as. That’s not racism.

        No professional auctioneer or historian is going to change their methodology because some little uninformed twit gets all pretend offended on behalf of others.

        Get back to being middle class hipsters with no real problems.

        1. Nigel

          I didn’t say it was, I said something like that could do with a bit of dignity and sensitivity in the way it’s handled and presented. Taste is already out of the question. Actually, maybe dignity is a lost cause, too.

          1. Sido

            A re-write of history is in order, to help it be of more use to us and contemporary society.
            Maybe we could burn those nasty Punch cartoons while we are at it.

    1. All the good ones fly south for winter

      Well his mood is irrefutable but the jury is as of yet still out on the exact manufacturing technique of the item.

    2. Sido

      Might mean something to do with its mode of manufacture. Their were some types that were cast but some later reproductions were made of tin. The cast ones have more value.

  3. Kevin

    I bought one a few years ago in Brussels, though not in as good condition as the one above. Going back home I was called over the intercom in Charleroi airport, and had to explain to security the solid mass in my luggage which their scanners had detected. Oh how we laughed.

  4. eamonn clancy

    They should have just used quote marks, and put Kanye West’s name after it, because he’s the only person allowed use the word. Oh, him and Snoop Dogg.

    1. Nigel

      Yes, labeling this with the names of famous living African Americans would undercut the racism beautifully.

    2. Dόn Pídgéόní

      The fact that you are mad about that shows you know nothing about what that word means to people.

  5. Fergus the magic postman

    I had a Golly Man when I was a child. Just because it was called something different at the time, doesn’t mean it should be called the same thing now, especially when the offensive words can easily be substituted.

    1. munkifisht

      But the point is that that IS offensive, and it should be, and you shouldn’t be afraid of being offended by it. That’s a good thing. You are offended and you should be, but pretending it was called something else robs it of it’s meaning.

      1. andy

        I agree but I think it still has place in history and shouldn’t be discarded. The auctioneer should have called it something else but other than that I don’t see the issue.

      2. Dόn Pídgéόní

        No one is pretending it was called something else. Everyone knows what they were called. Then people wised up and don’t use that word anymore.

        1. munkifisht

          I highly doubt everyone know what they were called. It’s in much the same way most Irish people seem totally content with the pretty vile treatment and racism we were subjected to historically.

          That’s what the thing was called. There’s no denying it, don’t be a coward and hide from it.

          1. Dόn Pídgéόní

            Again, I am not denying it. Why do so many people insisting that it is fine to use that word for anything?

          2. munkifisht

            Because it’s reductive to pretend like words like that never existed. Calling the item anything other than a “nigger-bank” takes away from the vileness of it. It’s a horrid thing, but that doesn’t take away from the importance of it.

          3. Nigel

            I don’t think it’s reductive to avoid use terms from the past that are incredibly offensive in the present, nor is it pretending such terms never existed. We remove and contextualise these words because they are no longer acceptable in casual usage.Something as simple as adding inverted commas would have placed the name at a remove. But I don’t know, maybe this is the way it’s done in the auction business and I’m only taken aback because I’m not used to it.

  6. Formerly known as @Ireland.com

    Elvis Costello’s song, “Oliver’s Army”, mentions “white n*****”. Should it be banned/changed?

    1. Nigel

      Nothing should be banned. Whether it should be changed is up to Elvis Costello. I don’t see why it would, though. Does it bother you that this is a complex, tricky subject not always easy to reconcile?

      1. Formerly known as @Ireland.com

        I am fine with complex topics. I asked, given the debate above about objects and books.

        I wouldn’t dream of changing the lyrics of that classic.

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