Petroliana brings rich prices at Matthews auction


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Oilzum Motor Oil single-sided tin sign in wood frame, dated 1948, graded 9.75 ($4,510).

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Mohawk Gasoline neon single-sided porcelain sign, graded 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 for condition and with exceptional gloss, sold for $30,250 at a Petroliana & Gas Station Collectibles Auction held Aug. 7 by Matthews Auctions, LLC.

The sale was staged at the Des Moines Airport Holiday Inn, on the last day of the popular, three-day Iowa Gas Show, held in the same venue.

“This was one of our best auctions ever, at what is the biggest sale in the country for gas station collectibles and petroliana,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC. “Around 570 lots, mostly cans and signs, changed hands, and we had close to 200 people in attendance. Bidding was brisk online, too, through Proxibid. We had over 140 registered online bidders. They bought 22 percent of the lots.”

Mr. Matthews said he detected some buying trends at the sale. Globes, common signs and readily available collectibles, for example, brought soft prices, while signs, oil cans and hat badges commanded nice high prices. “Overall, though,” he added, “the sale actually did a little better than I thought it would do. We were all done in six hours and fifteen minutes. Everybody went home happy. It was a good day.”

The Mohawk sign, which would have achieved a 10 rating were it not for a few minor edge chips, was the top lot of the auction. Additional highlights follow. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.

An Ace High Motor Oil single-sided tin sign in a wood frame (48 inches by 96 inches), graded 8.75 for condition, was the second top lot of the day, bringing a respectable $23,100. Also, an Indian Gasoline one-piece etched milk glass globe, with Running Indian logo and Havoline etched vertical on each end, climbed to $9,900. Both sides of the piece had been repainted and the body was in good shape.

A Signal single-sided porcelain sign, graded 9.5 and measuring 28 inches by 4 3/4 inches, realized $5,060; an Oilzum Motor Oil single-sided tin sign in a wood frame, dated 1948 and measuring 19 inches by 61 inches, rated 9.75 and with the slogan “If motors could speak we wouldn’t need to advertise” with logo, brought $4;510 and a Bee Line Capco neon sign, 13 1/2 inches, both lenses excellent, made $4,400.

A Wasatch single-lens neon sign on a reproduction blue ripple body in good condition, gaveled for $4,400; a Perfect Circle single-sided tin sign with a graphic of a large car (36 inches by 29 1/2 inches), graded 8 and with good color, coasted to $4,400; and an extremely rare Texaco single-sided porcelain sign, advertising the Texaco Easy-Pour 2-quart can of motor oil, graded 8.5, rose to $3,575.

A Mobil Gargoyle one-piece embossed milk glass cabinet globe, graded 9.5, demanded $3,300; a Piggly Wiggly single-sided porcelain sign, 27 inches tall, graded 8.75, with some touch-up work done to the grommet holes, fetched $3,410; a Sunset Gasoline hat badge in excellent condition (2 inches by 2 inches) hammered for $3,520; and a Seaside Gasoline hat badge, also in excellent shape, made $1,980.

Tops among the oil cans was a full one-quart round metal orange can of Husky (Cody, Wyo.) Motor Oil, graded 8.5; it soared to $2,090. Also, an empty one-quart round metal can of The Bomber motor oil, graded 8.5, breezed to $990; a full one-quart  round metal can of Ace High motor oil, graded 9.5, commanded $1,045; and an empty one-quart round metal can of Skunk Oil, graded 8.5, made $900.

Matthews Auctions, LLC, has another big sale planned, for Oct. 16, when it will hold its annual Fall Peotone Petroliana & Advertising Auction in Peotone, Ill. The event, starting at noon, will be held the day prior to the start of the Fall Chicagoland Advertising Show (Oct. 17-18). On Nov. 7, the firm will conduct a smaller petroliana and gas station collectibles auction, in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Matthews Auctions, LLC, based in Nokomis, Ill., is always accepting quality consignments for future sales (to include the Oct. 16 and Nov. 7 sales). To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them at 217-563-8880 or 217-259-7059. Or you can e-mail them at info@matthewsauctions.com. To learn more about the firm and its upcoming auction dates, visit www.MatthewsAuctions.com.

 
Photos courtesy Matthews Auctions.

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Ace High Motor Oil single-sided tin sign in wooden frame, 48 inches by 96 inches ($23,100).
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Full one-quart orange metal can of Husky Motor Oil of Cody, Wyoming, graded 8.5 ($2,090).
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Indian Gasoline one-piece etched milk glass globe with Running Indian logo, repainted ($9,900).
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The top lot of the sale was this Mohawk Gasoline single-sided porcelain neon sign ($30,250).

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