University Archives


Collection of 6 Cuban Mementos

A Group of 6 pieces from Cuba spanning from the Highlife era, to the period of the Revolution,  as per below:

1. Zombie Club Program, Febreo 1947, Havana Cuba

Program for the Zombie Club, February 1947, Havana Cuba, measures 6.75 x 5 inches, 32 pp., illustrated with photos. Ticket is located bound in to the front, and has perforations so it can be removed. Text in Spanish. This Dinner/Dancing, exotic revue restaurant club was on 256 Zulueta St., and catered to Americans but also was frequented by Cubans, as witness the text in Spanish and the reportage of weddings and social events by both Americans and Cubans. Condition very good, with typical age toning and grubbiness.

2. Two individual exotic cocktail stirring pieces from the "Cabaret Tropicana Nightclub", each depicting a dancer on pointe, with her arm over her head. One in blue and one in pale grey., and each 6" tall, and made of hard plastic. The verso has the raised relief of "Tropicana Havana, Cuba". The "Cabaret Tropicana Nightclub"  opened in Havana on New Years Eve, in 1939.

3. A fine condition 1000 Peso bill with red seal, "Banco Nacional de Cuba, Series 1950". 

4. A small metal sign 4" x 2.5" stamped with "Esta es tu casa / FIDEL" (this is your house, Fidel). Light rubbing to the sign, two small circular holes on each side to allow for a nail to secure the sign. 

5. Original Cuban Pin of Cuban Campaign of Literacy, circa 1961

Cuba’s reputation as an exotic and permissive playground came to light in the 1920s, when the country became a favorite destination for robber barons and bohemians. Hotels, restaurants, night clubs, golf clubs and casinos sprung up in Havana catering to the rich jet-setters seeking luxury. Socialites, debutantes, celebrities like Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, and American mobsters came to play in the Cuban paradise.

Sugar was Cuba’s economic lifeline, but its tropical beauty—and tropical beauties—made American tourism a natural and flowing source of revenue. A 1956 issue of Cabaret Quarterly, a now-defunct tourism magazine, describes Havana as “a mistress of pleasure, the lush and opulent goddess of delights”. What the tourists didn’t see, or didn’t want to, was the underclass, people of poverty like the macheteros — sugarcane cutters — who worked only during the four month season, and the rest of the year were unemployed, and angry.... and then came along Castro and the Cuban Revolution.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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