Petroliana collectors revel in fresh-to-market finds
Wayne model #491 “Roman column” 10-gallon visible gas pump, repainted sold for $9,900.
A Starkey coin-operated 10-gallon gas pump with good cylinder but no bonnet brought $14,300.
LOVELAND, Colo. — A brilliant, round Frontier Gas “Rarin’ to Go” double-sided porcelain sign, one of only two known, soared to $26,400 — nearly triple its presale estimate — at an auction held May 15-16 by Matthews Auctions, LLC, based in Nokomis, Ill. It was the second major auction held in May by the firm, which conducted a sale in Wisconsin May 1.
The Frontier Gas sign — 60 inches in diameter and boasting a colorful yellow rider and great gloss — was easily the top lot of either sale. “We expected that sign to bring $10,000, so it was a nice surprise when several determined bidders drove the price up,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC. “But it was Clyde’s favorite sign of all, so we expected it to do well.”
Clyde would be Clyde Hodge, whose single-owner lifetime collection of gas signs, globes and collectibles was auctioned without reserve (everything sold, regardless of price). The sale took place at The Ranch, a popular and scenic venue in Loveland, at the base of the Rocky Mountains. About 200 people attended the event, at which nearly 750 lots crossed the block. “The sale went way beyond our expectations,” Matthews remarked, adding, “In addition to the on-site crowd, we had 240 people registered to bid online (through Proxibid.com), with a 38 percent sell-through. Absentee and phone bidding was also active. The overall gross was 25 percent more than I had predicted. That made travel and other expenses easier to take.”
The May 1 auction — held in the Central Motor Sales Building in Wisconsin Rapids — featured nearly 500 lots of classic cars, petroliana items, gas pumps and advertising memorabilia. Overall, it wasn’t the huge success that Loveland was, but it wasn’t a disappointment, either. “We did about what we expected,” Matthews said. “Gas pumps, in particular, did very well.”
Following are additional highlights from the May 1 auction. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
A Starkey coin-operated, 10-gallon gas pump in fine original condition, featuring a good cylinder but missing the bonnet, was the top earner of the day, topping out at $14,300. In the runner-up slot was a Wayne model #491 “Roman column” 10-gallon visible gas pump, repainted and with a plastic cylinder. The gas pump, very desirable among collectors, climbed to $9,900.
A Wayne model #800 clockface gas pump, professionally restored in Shell colors and with the original Shell globe and new decals, coasted to $9,625. Also, a Tokheim model #36b computing gas pump with Arno air meter on the light pole and 30-gallon lubster, commanded $4,400. The pump was nicely restored in Phillips 66 colors and came with an island on wheels.
A hard-to-find Universal Batteries Sales and Service double-sided, heart-shaped sign, 20 inches by 20 inches, with both sides graded 9.5 out of 10 for condition and only minor chips along the edges, realized $2,585. Also, a pair of Shell single-sided porcelain signs, mounted back-to-back, each measuring 59 inches by 58 inches, with great color and gloss, made $1,870.
Following are additional highlights from the May 15-16 auction. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
An original Ford Sales and Service Parts & Accessories octagonal neon clock, 18 inches by 18 inches by 7 inches, rated 9 out of 10 for condition and in good working order (down to the original cord) realized $6,490; and a Ford Jubilee embossed metal sign, 28 inches by 28 inches by 4 inches, rated 8.75 for condition and with just one scratch in the blue, hammered for $3,300.
A Conoco Floor Dressing square 5-gallon can, with the same Minuteman image on all four sides and even a Minuteman on the cap, changed hands for $2,860. The can had great color and was graded 8 out of 10 for condition. Also, a Powerlube Lubricant #10 grease pail, never opened and fully loaded, rated 7.75 with only light surface rust and scratches, rose to $2,860.
A Bay 13.25-inch single lens on a Red Ripple Globe body, with the display lens rated 9 and the reverse just a frosted lens with painted letters, breezed to $2,680. The body was in great shape, with uniform color and the original friction tape in place. Also, an original 1957 Chevy all-steel, rear clip couch with cassette player and speakers, all lights working fine, made $2,420.
A Penn Fargo Motor Oil single-sided porcelain die-cut sign, 24 inches by 34 inches, rated 7.9 with great gloss and color but having four chips in the field, earned $2,200. (Fargo was based in Denver, Colo.). Also, a Coronado white 13.5-inch lens on a wide glass globe body, the display lens rated 8.75 but with minor pant flecks, a cracked back and damaged body, went for $1,320.
Matthews Auctions, LLC’s next big sale will be held Friday, Aug. 6, in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn in Des Moines, Iowa, located at 6111 Fleur Drive. The event is timed to coincide with the 2010 Iowa Gas Show & Auction in the same venue. Featured will be hundreds of lots of quality petroliana, automobilia and more. The auction will begin promptly at 9 a.m. (CT).
Matthews Auctions, LLC is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or a collection, you may call them toll-free, at 877-968-8880.
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