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Cigar store Indian returns home after a ‘holiday’

The history of Cigar Store Indians is a British tradition which goes back to the 17th Century. Cigar stores placed small wooden models of Indians or ‘Virginie Men’ on the counter tops which were supplied by the tobacco companies. The statues grew in size to be almost life size and were often placed outside the cigar stores.

I asked about his history and heard an amazing story. For many years the Indian had stood outside the store. Then on a Winters evening some 2 years ago someone rushed into the store to report that a drunken group had ‘kidnapped’ the Indian and were heading off with it. 

A search of the area revealed nothing, and the staff of the store resigned themselves to his loss. Then about 2 months ago the store got a call from a customer who had been into a pub in Surrey and thought he recognised their Indian standing in the bar.

Bill, who works in the store, and who lives near-by, dropped over to the pub one evening with a copy of a picture showing the figure standing outside the store. It turns out that the Surrey Landlord had received a call from a friend who refurbished pubs. He was preparing to clear out an old Mayfair pub and wondered if there might be anything of interest before it all went in a skip. The only thing that took his fancy was the figure and he returned to Surrey where he took pride of place in the Bar.

Having established the statue’s bona fides, the Landlord agreed to hand him back to JJ Fox and they arranged with a customer to collect it in his delivery van.

So, after his 2 year ‘holiday’ he is back in his rightful position.

*   *   *

The question for my American friends is, does anyone know where he originally came from?

On his base is painted the legend: “Stuckell’s Cigar Store” and “Old honesty 5c Cigars”

Does anyone know where Stuckell’s store was or is? Is it still open or when did it close?

Now that he is back in his London home it would be really great to know a little more about his origins and his original home State side [so please leave a comment].

JJ Fox and Robert Lewis is one of the four great Cigar stores on the route of the Cuban Cigar Walk London. For more information on the Cuban Cigar Walk London, visit Citiesinsound.com. (_[ca]__{{{

Reprinted by permission of the author. To see the original article on Nic’s “Sound Advice” blog click here.

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Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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