What can we say but wow one of the most incredible pieces of Breweriana we have ever seen. This is an incredible Anheuser Busch Tavern trade sign from 1890. The sign is painted on hand planed boards that are tongue and groove joined. There are 11 boards, each one hand made to make this sign. The sign is hand painted for a beer and liquor distributor and seller in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The distributor was a liquor dealer and bottler in business in the late 1800's well into the 1900's. This sign hung outside their place of business probably until prohibition. The Joseph G. Plante & Co. switched to selling grocery items during prohibition and the sign was tucked away in the store attic. That is where it was found recently.
The logo was used by Anheuser Busch from 1890 to 1920 according to their company web site.
This sign was most likely taken down and stored in 1917 when New Hampshire enacted prohibition.
New Hampshire has a long history of brewing, though the recent microbrewing movement has been somewhat slower to catch on here than in neighboring states. There is evidence of brewing at Strawbery Banke, now Portsmouth, as early as 1635, with most beer being brewed at taverns for the next two centuries. Despite Portsmouth's waning overall importance in the state, the Frank Jones Brewery was the dominant brewery from its inception in 1859 until New Hampshire began Prohibition in 1917. Many breweries were consolidated in the years following the repeal of Prohibition, and the state went without a brewery from 1950 until the opening of the Anheuser-Busch regional brewery in 1970. Portsmouth, however, has been restored as the brewing capital of New Hampshire with the state's second and third largest breweries, Seattle-based Redhook, and Smuttynose Brewing Company, the largest and oldest New Hampshire-based brewery. Despite lagging behind its neighbors, a nascent craft beer culture is emerging in New Hampshire, and the state recently released an official brewery map to promote local beer.
There are a couple of very interesting things about this sign. The name across the top "Joseph G. Plante & Co." is actually painted over another name, which means that there was another owner prior to Plante. This is an interesting fact as it means the sign is actually older than the Plante Co. We think that the sign painter signature at the bottom is the person that over-painted the original owners name.
The sign has been professionally cleaned as the years of dirt were very heavy, but not a drop of paint was added, it is in it's original condition. The cleaning has brought out the wonderful colors of the original paint and patina. This is an all original sign from 100 years ago and from one of the most famous companies in America.
The sign is 56" wide and 9' 6" tall. As we stated it is made of 11 tongue and groove boards that fit together perfectly and soundly to form the sign.
The sign can be easily shipped in it's unassembled condition.
We have this item on display at Columbia Rivertowne Antiques in Columbia, PA.
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