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Nipper, the RCA Dog, Hears His Song

November 16, 1995 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nipper, the puzzled dog peering into the horn of the RCA gramophone, is going home.

Nipper was perched atop the Triangle Sign Co. in Baltimore from 1950 to 1974, when RCA dropped him as its trademark and the 14-foot, 1,700-pound statue was purchased for $1 by a Virginian named Jim Wells.

``I had been after that dog for years,″ said Wells, 77. ``We’re collectors. I finally convinced them that this was the place for him because we’d take care of him. He was getting a little sad _ couldn’t keep paint on him. But I had him fiber-glassed, a nice white one that let him withstand the weather.″

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However, Wells himself is having trouble withstanding the weather. He and his wife of 53 years are moving from suburban Fairfax, Va., to Florida next month, and feel Nipper should stay near his home turf.

So he’s selling Nipper to Baltimore’s City Life Museum for $25,000.

Nipper was a real dog, a fox terrier, whose owner, artist Francis Barraud created the world’s most recognizable trademark in 1936 from his home in England in the early 1900s.

But it was the familiar likeness that drew thousands to the Wells’ home and entertainment business and became a landmark for travelers on Lee Highway in Fairfax.

``If you knew where Nipper was on Lee Highway, you could get anywhere,″ Wells said. ``It’s quite a pooch.″