Collectors pursue mint vintage advertising signs
TheTexaco sign was the top lot in an antique auction that saw a staggering 1,500 lots cross the block over the course of the three rings and two days.
RAYMOND, Ill. – An outstanding Texaco Marine Lubricants single-sided porcelain sign, made in 1959 and rated 9.25 out of 10 for overall condition, sold for $6,325 at a two-day, three-session sale held Nov. 6-7 by Matthews Auctions, LLC, based in Nokomis, Ill. The auction was held at the gallery of Gavin Pope Auction, with whom Matthews Auctions often partners.
The sign – measuring 15 inches by 30 inches and featuring a ships and speedboats graphic, with great gloss and color – was the top lot in an auction that saw a staggering 1,500+ lots cross the block over the course of the three rings (sessions) and two days. And since many of the lots were sold in multiples, the final tally of items sold may actually have hit the 3,000 mark.
Headlining the event were the estates of Joe Srholez of Sussex, N.J., and Art Childers of Evansville, Ind., plus Part 2 of the sale of the oil bottle collection of Ron Throckmorton. The Nov. 6 session had 500 lots of petroliana and automobilia signs (to include porcelain, painted steel and cardboard), gas pumps, globes, soda machines, oil and additive cans, and other items.
Nov. 7 was split into two sessions, each one comprising around 500 lots. Session 1 featured a variety of oil and additive cans, original Packard artwork for magazine ads, several radiator mascots, Model A and other brand showroom posters, postcards and various automotive-related literature. Session 2, held later the same day, was dedicated almost entirely to toy cars.
These included nearly 50 lots of promotional toy cars, Metal Craft trucks, Steelcraft blimps and Mack pedal trucks. The session also featured over 100 lots of Japanese tin litho cars, trucks, airplanes and more (some new in the box), German toys (including Bing, Lehmann and others), an Arcade gas pump, toy gas stations and an original Scwhinn Black Phantom bicycle.
“This was a successful auction by any measure,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC. “Attendance was high both days, the phones were ringing and around 45 percent of the successful bids were either online or absentee. The Internet bidding, facilitated by Proxibid and LiveAuctioneers.com, attracted winning bids from Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
Three lots from Nov. 6, Session 1 (aside from the Texaco sign) topped the $4,000 mark. A Ford anniversary crest neon single-sided porcelain rolled edge die-cut sign, rated 8.9, made $4,950; a United Motor Service single-sided porcelain die-cut arrow sign with early touring car graphic rose to $4,950; and an Oilzum Motor Oil single-sided tin sign, framed, broight $4,510.
A Francisco Auto Heater “Summer Here All the Year” single-sided tin sign with great cutaway car graphics, framed and rated 9+, breezed to $3,410; a Genuine Ethyl gas globe with great graphic, a 9.5-rated 13-inch lens and a new Capco globe body gaveled for $3,300; and a Hoosier Pete 100 Regular Gasoline glass gas globe with 13.5-inch lens, rated 6.5, hit $3,310.
A Texaco Certified Lubrication die-cut cardboard sign, 37 inches by 24 inches, with Marfak cardboard easel back display, rated 8.9, topped out at $2,970; a Weed Chains ìAs Necessary As Gasolineî single-sided tin sign with wood back, rated 7.5, with price wheel, rose to $2,530; and a Gulf Gasoline and Supreme Auto Oil single-sided tin sign, rated 8, hit $2,420.
A “We Sell Socony Motor Gasoline” porcelain flange sign, 24 inches by 20 inches, both sides rated 9, garnered $2,310; a Michelin Bibendum, 11 inches tall, sitting on top of a small air compressor, in very good condition despite a broken dial, realized $1,430; and a Defiance Spark Plugs “Your Engine Knows” double-sided tin flange sign, both sides rated 9, went for $1,430.
The top lots of Session 2 (Nov. 7) were a Sinclair Opaline Motor Oil 1-gallon flat metal can with an early open wheel race car graphic, with good color; and a Manhattan Trop-Artic Oil half-gallon flat metal can with early sedan graphic, rated 9. Both pieces brought a respectable $3,300. Also, a 1910 print on oil cloth of an Oldsmobile Racing A Train commanded $2,475.
Also from Session 2, Nov. 7: A Standard Oil of Indiana Polarine Motor Oil one-gallon flat metal can with early touring car summer-winter scene, rated 7/8, brought $1,980; an oil on canvas rendering of a Packard Phaeton Deluxe convertible car, for a magazine ad, coasted to $1,760; and a Standard Oil of New Jersey Polarine Gear Oil one-gallon flat metal can hit $1,650.
A Wonder-Mist Cleanser and Polisher half-gallon flat metal can with limousine graphic, both sides rated 9, climbed to $1,072.50; a 1957 Chevrolet full-line showroom catalog filled with color plates, rated 9, fetched $770; and a 1922 framed print of a “Careful Crossing Campaign” showing a car about to be hit by a train at a train crossing, 30 inches by 36 inches, rose to $770.
The top lot of Session 3, Nov. 7 (all toys), was a West German-made Gama 300 Cadillac four-door sedan tin litho friction-power toy car, 12 inches long, rated 8.5 with good paint. It sold for $852.50. Runner-ups were an Arcade “Andy Gump” cast iron car, rated 7 with paint wear ($770); and a Marx Sparkling Rocket fighter ship tin litho wind-up toy, 12 inches long ($715).
Other star lots from Session 3 included a Fontaine Fox Toonerville tin litho wind-up trolley by Dent, new in the box, 5 inches long ($632.50); a large 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air 2-door Japanese tin litho friction car, 15.5 inches long and rated 8.5, with very light wear ($605); and a tin litho wind-up toy Vespa Scooter with sidecar and riders, 6 inches long, rated 6.5 ($935).
Matthews Auctions, LLC’s next big auction will be held Saturday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. (CST), also at the Gavin Pope gallery (at 823 North O’Bannon in Raymond, Ill.). Offered will be hundreds of antiques, toys and advertising items, many of which would make excellent holiday presents. Online bidding again will be facilitated by Proxibid.com and LiveAuctioneers.com.
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