You may be familiar with Mecum Auctions for the various collector vehicle auctions they offer each year, but their offerings are not limited to the classic rides. This Oct. 18-21 in Elkhorn, Wis. Mecum Auctions will bring more than 1,400 examples of vintage road art and signs, petroliana, and general advertising before bidders.
Featured here are six lots we most anticipate crossing the auction block.
To see the full catalog of the Oct. 18-21 auction, visit www.mecum.com.
The Esso Oil Drop Man character dates to World War II. This character is the creation of Danish company Esso as a means of bringing attention to petroleum shortages during the war, according to information at RetroPlanet.com. The character, whose nickname became Happy after Esso’s early trademark slogan “Happy Motoring,” first appeared in advertising campaigns in the U.S. in 1958. This single-sided porcelain sign measures 18 by 36 inches. It has an estimate of $500 to $1,000.
The company known as Sunoco, Inc. began as Sun Oil Company of Ohio in 1886. It expanded and diversified to include at different times shipbuilding, production of oilfield equipment, development of a mining business. Sunoco struck a deal in 2004 to be the Official Fuel of NASCAR, and in 2012 it merged with Energy Transfer Partners, according to the Sunoco site. The metal rack retains a great majority of its original paint, with minor scuff marks and signs of wear evident. As of Oct. 5, it has a current bid of $250.
Did you know there is an organization for collectors of license plates? It's the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA) — now in its 63rd year. Membership of the group totals more than 2,800. This fascinating map bears license plates from states within the continental U.S. This single-side sign features a neon border (neon is not working). It carries an estimate of $1,000 to $2,000 into Mecum Auctions' Road Art auction.
The partnership between Disney and Standard Oil took shape in the late 1930s as part of a multi-faceted advertising campaign. Signs and print advertisements are part of the legacy. A highlight of this early marketing campaign is the promotional animated short “The Standard Parade." The advertising film dates to 1939 and features a number of Disney characters. This is one of a couple Standard Disney signs in the Oct. 18-21 auction. Interestingly, in an article written by Paul F. Anderson and posted on www.disneyhistoryinstitute.com, Mr. Anderson discusses the use of these signs as toppers on oil barrels and covers for spare tires. The signs, like the single-sided tin sign shown here, would sit atop motor oil barrels delivered to service stations, he explains.
Enjoy the "Standard Parade short....
In the first quarter of the 20th century, White Eagle Oil & Refining Co. actively provided oil throughout the Midwest and Western states, including North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Wyoming, Iowa, and areas of Colorado and Kansas, according to information obtained from Schwankemuseum.blogspot.com. In 1930, White Eagle Oil & Refining Co. was acquired by Standard Oil Company (Socony). This scarce metal five-gallon oil rocker that would contain Keynoil, produced by White Eagle Oil & Refining Co., heads into the auction with no reserve. The latest bid, as of the morning of Oct. 5, is $100.
This double-sided porcelain neon sign is one of the Main Attractions in Mecum Auctions’ Oct. 18-21 auction. It measures 48 x 48 inches and has an estimate of $10,000 to $20,000 heading to the auction block. This year marks the centennial anniversary of the foundation of Phillips Petroleum Co. Brothers Frank and L.E. Phillips, forming the business in 1917 are noted for drilling a record 81 gushers early in the company's operation, according to an article published in the Des Moines Register.