Colgan's Gum Case

Schmitt & Co., Cincinnati, OH, c. early 1900s, 17 1/2". These are 2 styles of the Colgan's gum case. The version on the left is the harder of the 2 to find, and in fact may be considered rare by those in the know. The version on the right is the more common, but is still not easy to find. As far as I can tell both versions are the same except for the front glass. Both have the following stamped onto the metal tag affixed to the bottom front rail:

209 & 211 MAIN ST

I'm not much of a gum-case guy, but I was smitten with the one on the left when I saw it at the Indy Ad Show in 2004. I knew it was unusual because I'd seen the version on the right before, and had heard that the version on the left existed and was extremely scarce, but I'd never seen one live. I guess the seller caught me in the right mood, 'cause this "not much of a gum-case guy" opened his wallet pretty wide to buy this.

About a year later I was at the Chicagoland show and saw the one on the right---the more common version. I liked it, but thought, well, I have one and don't need another. Then I thought, well, the first one I bought is on one side of the buffet at home, and this would sure look good on the other side of the buffet, and would keep the first one company. One's light oak, the other's dark oak, the front glass is different, yet the symmetry accentuates the differences---or is it the other way around?---to where these aren't redundant, they're complementary! So I bought it, and it now sits on the other side of the buffet and perfectly balances the first one I bought. And since I have 2, neither is lonely. The picture above makes it hard to see the flavors because of the backdrop, but from top to bottom they're Taffy Tolu, peppermint, pepsin, licorice, orange, and cinnamon.

Both cases are 100% original, except for some of the glass shelves and perhaps the felt lining the bottom. The shelves are all old glass, but some were cut for this case this century, not 100 years ago.

The 2 styles shown above are typically considered to be the only 2 styles known, but in 2012 I saw this case on a table at a show in St. Charles, Illinois. It looks like the same case as the 2 above, but it has paper labels instead of painted glass. The labels looked to be old and original, and I considered buying it but in end decided against it. This is the only Colgan's case I've seen with these types of paper labels; it was a cool piece.



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