I vividly remember visiting Skansen—an open-air museum and zoo in Stockholm dedicated to showing the traditional Swedish way of life prior to industrialization—on a cold and rainy day fall day several years ago, largely for the purpose of visiting their wonderful gift shop, where I loaded up on quintessentially Swedish gifts to bring home to friends and family.
It thus felt rather serendipitous to find this Skansen souvenir (“minne,” in Swedish, which literally translates as memory), created more than a hundred years prior (in 1898, seven years after Skansen had opened), at a recent estate sale. I am not quite sure what purpose it might have had other than to serve as a decorative souvenir, but I think it’s a wonderful object, and sure do love the hand-painted man in tall hat, fur-trimmed coat, green trousers and red striped socks!
I like the idea of this antique souvenir being used to mark places for future journeys in a giant world atlas, or—as he himself has travelled at least one ocean and more than a century—perhaps to be tucked into a suitcase as a good luck talisman!
The piece measures 15 inches long and 1 5/8 wide at widest. There is a knick in the wood on the upper right corner and wear in that area, but otherwise it is in very good condition.