The Texaco sign, the top lot of the 425 or so items that came up for bid, had the black “T” in Texaco and measured 42 inches in diameter. It showed a little wear on the left side, a small rust spot in the “O” of Station and a few chips around the mounting holes, but these flaws didn’t deter bidders, who saw it for what it was – a rare sign that was in overall great condition.
Around 150 people attended the event in-person, held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in the northwest corner of metro Columbus. Another 200 people registered to bid on the Internet, via Proxibid.com and Auctionzip.com, and phone and absentee bidding was brisk. Some lots drew up to 10-15 phone bidders each (including the Texaco sign) and many left bids were recorded.
“This was a good, strong sale, one that told me the demand for petroliana, automobilia and advertising in general is very healthy,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC, the Nokomkis, Ill.-based firm that conducted the auction (as it has annually for years, always on the second day of the Check the Oil Gas & Oil Show). “I’m confident moving forward this year.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
Another Texaco item, this one a rare Easy Pour two-quart oil can sign with can graphics, rated 9+ for condition, changed hands for $8,800. “This was the best example of this sign I have ever seen,” Matthews remarked. “It is rare, and hard to find one in such good condition.” The 16 inch by 15 inch sign’s only flaws were a chip around a mounting hole and a few factory flaws.
A scarce Case Agency tin flange sign, rated 8.9 and measuring 24 inches by 16 inches, went for $8,250. The sign had great graphics, with Old Abe (the Case Agency mascot) perched on a world globe. It was clearly marked “The H.D. Beach Co., Coshocton, Ohio.” Old Abe was an eaglet that was raised by Chippewa Indians and later taken into battle during the Civil War.
A Sunoco Motor Oil “Mercury Made” porcelain light-up oil bottle display, containing two glass inserts, three oil bottle racks and 18 Sunoco bottles with metal spouts, hammered for $7,425. The display, rated 9, measured 28 inches by 29 inches by 15 inches. It had some chips on the outside edges and corners, but it did light up and was overall a nice piece in excellent shape.
A Boyce Moto Meter single-sided tin sign with cardboard backing, rated a modest 7.75 but a rare early advertising sign with great graphics, went to a determined bidder for $6,050. The sign, measuring 27 inches by 19 inches, had a few scrapes and rust spots, but its sheer rarity is what sparked a bidding war. “It was a great, hard-to-find sign that did very well,” Matthews said.
A Petro Oil Burner single-sided porcelain sign with early tanker truck graphics, rated 8.5 and measuring 30 inches by 21 inches, fetched $4,950. The sign, marked “Baltimore Enamel,” was not without its flaws. It had chips around the mounting holes and around the outside edges of the sign, plus a large chip at the bottom of the “P in Petrol. But it had great color and graphics.
A framed photo of the United States Airship Akron (built by the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation)
A Dunlop double-sided porcelain flange sign, showing a tire mounted on wire spoked rims, rated 9 and 8.9, 28 inches by 17 inches, with both sides boasting great gloss and color, rose to $4,125; and an Ace High Motor Oil single-sided tin embossed sign, rated 7.75 and having nice early car and airplane graphics, 14 inches by 20 inches, with good color and shine, made $3,300.
A Havoline Motor Oil single-sided porcelain can-shaped sign, rated 9+ and measuring 20 inches by 13 inches, very clean, breezed to $2,530; a Shell double-sided porcelain clam-shaped sign, rated 9 on both sides, 48 inches by 48 inches, with excellent gloss and color, hit $2,420; and a Whippet Motor Oil one-quart round can with greyhound graphics, rated 8.5, made $1,320.
Matthews Auctions, LLC’s next big auction will be held Friday, Sept. 14-16, in Ina, Ill. Featured will be the lifetime collection of petroliana, country store and farm items of William “Bill” Dagg. Thousands of items will cross the block and two auction rings will be running in the Saturday and Sunday sessions. Watch the website as the dates approach: matthewsauctions.com.
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 email@example.com.
Mr. Matthews has written 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, please log in to www.matthewsauctions.com.