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Ropkins & Co. Brewery
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The 'Stock' Exchange
American Art Works No. 114 "San Toy"
Date: 1910 - 1915
Size: 10.5" x 13.25"
Value: $$ to $$$
Condition & Brewer Dependent
Weatherly Ice Cream
Click the Picture to Return to Meek & Beach Stock Catalog Page
No. 114 returns to a Japanese design theme, but instead of “japaned lacquerware” this design (and its companion No. 115, Yama Yama) mimics a different artist technique, wood maquertry. Most of us are familiar with maquetry from Japanese puzzle boxes, in which wood mosaic products are handmade artworks in which the different tones and grains in natural-colored woods are combined to create detailed geometric patterns. These mosaics are then finely carved using a specialized plane and affixed as decoration to small boxes, chests of drawers and other items. This technique dates back over 200 years; however, this design more closely mimics an inlaid woodwork technique called Hakone Moku Zougan. Like wood mosaic, this also uses natural-colored woods from a variety of trees and is a wood art technique that depicts pictures or patterns by inlaying them using a woodworking machine saw.
The character of San Toy comes from a popular “Chinese” musical comedy San Toy, or The Emperor’s Own first performed at London’s Daly Theatre in October 1899. The original production ran for 768 performances and was the second longest running musical up to that time. In America, it opened on Broadway in 1900 and was revived numerous times throughout the 1900s. It was a popular piece for amateur theater groups through the 1930s but lost favor due to some of the language and stereotyping (e.g., the primary action is set in the town of Pynka Pong) that would no longer be considered politically correct.
Confirmed Brewer used Stock Trays
Non-Beer Related & Non-Tray Uses
The plot involves a Mandarin (a high-level civil servant) who avoids conscription laws to prevent his daughter from being forced into the emperor’s female guard by raising her as a boy. Eventually her sex is revealed, and the emperor is charmed by her, but astrological signs indicate they are not well suited. The emperor marries another girl and San Toy is free to marry Bobby the British Consul’s son.
Sahling has no entry for this design.
Shape & Rim and Advertising Placement
Every tray example we’ve seen of this design is a small oblong (11x14); rectangular TOC sign versions are also encountered fairly often. More recently we became aware of print versions on board/cardboard. Rims consist of a woodgrain pattern, although with a different grain orientation than the face of the tray. Gold advertising text generally appears on the rim, although there are examples with advertising on the face of the tray or on the back.
Hager & Price
Hager does not discuss this design but does include it in the date table with a 1912 introduction date. It is included in his catalog. Few examples reach prices in the triple figures with non-brewers often in the very low double digits. A few nice examples from breweries reach three figures, but those are the exception.