Illustration of a bald little boy with large ears gesturing to a goat on the right. Text is printed in black on the long yellow shirt that the boy is wearing. Button is white with thick yellow outline. "HIGH ADMIRAL CIGARETTES" printed at the bottom of the button in red. Illustration includes an illegible signature.
Back paper printed: GIVEN WITH HIGH ADMIRAL CIGARETTES - RILEY-KLOTZ M'F'G CO. - NEWARK, N.J.- MADE UNDER W.& H. CO. PAT'S. - JULY 17, 1894 - APRIL 4 & JULY 21, 1896.
COPYRIGHT 1896 B. NEWBERGER N.Y.
Mickey Dugan, more commonly known as Yellow Kid, was a character created by cartoonist Richarld Felton Outcault (1863-1928) who later went on to create Buster Brown. Yellow Kid first appeared in Truth, a weekly humor magazine in 1883, but gained city-wide success appearing in the New York World newspaper as a single-panel color cartoon called Hogan's Alley in 1895. Outcault was lured away from Joseph Pulitzer's paper by fierce competitor William Randolph Heart's New York Journal. A legal battle over rights to the strip ensued, creating dual Yellow Kids in the competing newpapers. In the end, Hogan's Alley was retained by the New York World, and Outcault's strip was renamed "The Yellow Kid."
Our button is one in a series of over a hundred depicting Yellow Kid in promotion of High Admiral Cigarettes that were distributed with purchase. They were likely a regional promotion since Yellow Kid appeared only in New York City newspapers between 1895 and 1898. The idea of using Yellow Kid to sell cigarettes might seem inappropriate but the comic strip was aimed strictly at adults; the cartoon focused on tenement alleys and street kids living in New York City.