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Cigar Store Indians

A carving of a wooden Indian, a red, white, and blue striped pole, three golden balls suspended from a curved bar, and the mortar and pestle―symbols used by early store keepers to advertise and inform a predominately illiterate populace of their respective trades and services. And with only 12% of the people in the world able to read and write in 1820, the use of such symbols wasn’t really an option for business owners, it was a must. This is the story of Cigar Store Indians.

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