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Tobacconist's sign, England, 1750-1900

Made in the shape of a Native American from Virginia, United States, this was used as tobacconist’s sign to attract customers into the shop. Virginia was the site of the first European settlement in the United States (in 1607) and settlers began growing tobacco on increasingly large plantations there and exporting their product. Reflecting the origins of the product, Native Americans were commonly depicted on tobacconists’ shop signs. ‘Virginia’ tobacco is still available today but is now grown all over the world.

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Glossary: shop sign

Use broadly for signs identifying places of business.