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Meet Esky – The Esquire Magazine Man

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1940s Mascot Now Popular with Advertising Memorabilia Collectors
Esky - The Esquire Man - Chalk or Plaster Bust in Navy Uniform

Esky - The Esquire Man - Chalk or Plaster Bust in Navy Uniform

- Photo Courtesy of Morphy Auctions
Say hello to "Esky", also known as The Esquire Magazine Man. During the 1940s, Esky’s likeness originated as a cartoon character in the magazine, and then became a display icon used in men's departments and specialty stores where items featured in Esquire Magazine were commonly sold. The display figures vary in size and shape, but all have his signature blonde mustache and wide-eyed gaze in common.

Most Esky figurines are full figures depicting a standing pose. Some having him holding a sign, others have a base that reads "You saw it in Esquire." A few were even somewhat mechanical in nature. For instance, they had an apparatus that fit into the back of the figure that would make Esky appear to be smoking as vapor exuded from his mouth. Since Esky was often sketched smoking a pipe in the magazine, this isn’t too surprising. The "smokers", along with some of the other store displays, were formed of hard rubber. Others were made of chalk or plaster (like the bust shown above).

Other items featuring Esky were also made, including photo props, paper weights, plastic masks and die cut paper displays. He is depicted wearing a variety of clothing styles, including a Santa suit in some cases, as these displays appear to have changed with the seasons. Prices range from several hundred dollars for a Halloween mask in fair condition to around $2,000 for a 24” tall store display wearing a dress hat and top coat. Few of these come on the market today, and anything featuring this character is considered to be a desirable form of advertising memorabilia.

About the Piece Above

This Esky store display bust, made of chalk or plaster, emphasizes the character’s facial features. It is not a commonly found piece, as most examples are full bodied figures, and may even be one of a kind. He is depicted wearing a navy officer’s uniform and may have been used in a store frequented by service men in the 1940s. Measuring 19” tall, it is close in size to that of an adult male. Condition is excellent. This piece sold at Morphy Auctions in December, 2012 for $1,920 (not including buyer’s premium).

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