Oldsmobile ‘Rocket’ vintage advertising sign blasts off to $6,050

RAYMOND, Ill. – A rare Oldsmobile double-sided porcelain “Rocket” sign, the one that hung under the regular Oldsmobile sign to advertise the auto maker’s “rocket” engines, sold for $6,050 at an auction held Nov. 23-25 by Matthews Auctions LLC, based in Nokomis, Ill.

Oldsmobile Rocket

Rare Oldsmobile “Rocket” double-sided porcelain die-cut sign, rated near-mint at 9.5 ($6,050). Photo courtesy Matthews Auctions

The auction was held at the gallery of Pope Auction Center, on Illinois Route 48 in Raymond.


This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine

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The sign, measuring 10 inches by 60 inches, was rocket-shaped and boasted excellent color and gloss. It was the top achiever of the more than 2,000 lots that came up for bid, in a wide array of categories: toys and firearms (on day one) and petroliana, antique advertising and country store collectibles, soda and breweriana (on days two and three).

“This auction actually did better than I thought it would, with some nice surprises in the form of high prices realized for items we didn’t think would bring as much as they did,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions LLC.

“We also had many different kinds of merchandise in one sale, so there really was something for everybody. Buyers and sellers went home happy.”

Following are additional highlights from the vintage advertising auction. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.

Whippet and Willys-Knight double-sided porcelain sign, with great gloss and color ($4,125).

Whippet and Willys-Knight double-sided porcelain sign, with great gloss and color ($4,125).

A Whippet and Willys-Knight double-sided porcelain sign (“Authorized Service – Genuine Parts”), 24 inches by 36 inches, both sides rated 9+ out of 10 for condition, with great gloss and color, gaveled for $4,125; and a Wrigley’s Doublemint/Spearmint Gum double-sided porcelain sign (“Lunch”), rated 8, 9 inches by 30 inches, with some wear and chips, hit $3,740.

Two lots posted identical prices of $3,575. The first was a DeSoto – Plymouth “Sales and Service” double-sided porcelain sign, 18 inches by 35 inches, rated 9 both sides, with good gloss and color but a few chips here and there.

The second was a Fisk Tires wood sand painted sign (“Tubes, Service Station”), with a boy-in-tire logo, rated 8 and 7, with frame and hanger intact.

An Eagle Bird Cigarettes single-sided porcelain sign with 10 layers of porcelain and exhibiting great color and gloss, rated 9+ and measuring 30 inches by 20 inches, made $3,300; and original mixed media on artist board artwork for Pepsi-Cola (“The Light Refreshment – Refreshes Without Filling”), rated 8.9, with a bottle cap applied over the painting, hit $2,530.

The Fine Art of Collecting & Displaying Petroliana

The Fine Art of Collecting & Displaying Petroliana

A Grape-Nuts cereal single-sided tin self-framed sign (“To School Well Fed”), 30 inches by 20 inches, with super color and graphics but some wear on the outside frame, made $2,310; and a 1920s Winchester Flashlight five-piece cardboard window display poster, 40 inches by 24 inches, with a man working on his early roadster using a Winchester flashlight, rose to $2,090.

For more information on Matthews Auctions LLC, contact 877-968-8880 or danm@matthewsauctions.com, or visit www.matthewsauctions.com.

Dan Matthews has written a book about petroliana, titled “The Fine Art of Collecting Petroliana,” which is available at www.matthewsauctions.com and krausebooks.com.

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