The Texaco display rack was the top lot of the approximately 420 items of petroliana and automobilia that crossed the block that day. The sign, measuring 12 inches by 13 ½ inches by 5 inches, was “the best of example of this piece I have ever sold at auction,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC, adding, “Condition is what drove the price up, for this and other lots.”
Over 200 people packed the Embassy Suites Hotel in Dublin, where the auction was held, to bid on porcelain, tin and cardboard signs, globes, great display pieces and other examples of gas station and automotive collectibles, all rising stars in the collecting world. Telephone and absentee bidding was very brisk, in fact accounting for a good percentage of the top lots sold.
“Many of the top earners were cardboard displays and other display pieces, not signs, and that runs counter to what we’ve seen in previous sales,” Mr. Matthews observed. “Display pieces are becoming more and more sought after by collectors and are an up-and-coming category. Of course, condition is what matters most. Items rated 8.5 or 9 and above all brought high dollars.”
Online bidding was facilitated by Proxibid.com and LiveAuctioneers.com. Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
The second top lot was a Ford Genuine Parts single-sided tin counter-top (or hanging display) neon sign, circa late 1920s, rated 8.5 with good color and original neon tubing, switch and transformer. It knocked down at $6,050. In third place was a tin flange sign reading “Stop Here for Silver Edge Raybestos Brake Service” boasting great graphics. It commanded $4,675.
A Johnson Sea Horse Outboard Motors single-sided tin self-framed sign (“Bailey Service, Inc.”), with sea horse logo, 32 inches by 56 inches, rated 8.9 with great color and shine, brought $3,850; and a Stanley Garage Door Holders single-sided tin wood-back sign (“Hold Your Garage Doors Open!”), with great graphics, rated 8, 26 inches by 34 inches, made $3,520.
Two lots coasted to identical hammer prices of $3,300. One was a single-sided porcelain oval sign having “Power With Race Horse & Jockey” graphics (and meant to have neon around the perimeter), rated 9 with great gloss and color. The other was a set of 15-inch lenses in a metal globe body for Associated Green Gold Gasoline, with original body and the display lens, rated 9.
A single-sided tin embossed sign for Kelly-Springfield Automobile Tires / Consolidated Rubber Tire, 14 inches by 20 inches, rated 8.75 with good color and shine (marked H.D. Beach Co., Coshocton, Ohio), fetched $3,190; and a double-sided tin tombstone-shaped sign for Reo Sales & Service, Heavy Duty Trucks, Safety Buses, 30 inches by 20 inches, rated 9, hit $2,970.
A Spectral Ford Radio three-piece cardboard stand-up display with great graphics went for $2,420. The cardboard easel-back signs measured 61 inches by 40 inches, 61 inches by 20 inches and 37 inches by 19 inches. All were rated 7.5-8. Also, a single-sided cardboard sign for Splitdorf (“Pep!”) Spark Plugs, 30 inches by 22 inches, rated 7.75, changed hands for $2,200.
A Goodyear Service Station porcelain flange sign with tire-around-
An Off ‘n’ On Tire Chains die-cut cardboard tri-fold display, 12 inches by 22 inches by 6 inches, rated 9, sold for $1,760; a Dreadnaught Chains “Always Grip, Never Slip” die-cut cardboard easel-back sign, with battleship and chained tire graphics, rated 9.5, garnered $1,650; and a Mapco Speedway Coil single-sided tin embossed sign, rated 9, also topped out at $1,650.
Rounding out the day’s top lots, an Oak Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign with tree graphic and good gloss and color, rated 8.25 for the display, demanded $1,650; an “Ask For Veedol Motor Oils, 100% Pennsylvania Supreme Quality” double-sided porcelain tombstone-shaped sign with the display rated 9.5 went for $1,540; and an “X Liquid Repairs Leaky Radiators” single-sided tin self-embossed sign, marked Burdick and rated 9, realized $825.
Matthews Auctions, LLC has an antique and collectible toy auction planned for Saturday, July 23, in Raymond, Ill., beginning at 10 a.m. (CDT). After that, the firm has two blockbuster events planned for August. The first, slated for Friday, Aug. 5, is timed to coincide with the very popular Iowa Gas Show in Des Moines, Iowa. Featured will be petroliana, automobilia and more. The auction will be held in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn at 6111 Fleur Drive in Des Moines.
Then, on Sunday, Aug. 28, Matthews Auctions, LLC (in conjunction with Gavin Pope Auction Company) will stage an absolute auction dedicated to petroliana, automobilia, advertising and slot machines, at 823 North O’Bannon in Raymond, Ill. (where Gavin Pope is headquartered)
Matthews Auctions, LLC is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single item, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them toll-free at (877) 968-8880, or you can send an e-mail directly to Dan Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Matthews recently completed writing a book about petroliana, titled The Fine Art of Collecting Petroliana. For information on how to order a copy, please log on to the Matthews Auctions, LLC website, at www.matthewsauctions.com. For more information about Matthews Auctions, LLC and their calendar of upcoming auctions, log on to www.matthewsauctions.com.
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Ken Hall writes pre-sale and post-sale press releases for auction houses, for a fee. He writes, submits and tracks stories for clients. Submissions are published in trade magazines, posted on industry websites and appear in local newspapers.