Kelly Tires tin sign rolls to a robust $13,200 at Matthews Auctions, LLC sale held March 5

A rare Kelly Tires double-sided tin trade sign, 24 inches in diameter and showing a lady waving while driving, sold for $13,200 at a Spring Petroliana & Advertising Auction held Mar. 5 by Matthews Auctions, LLC, in Peotone, Ill. 30
By: Ken Hall
The top lot of the sale was this rare Kelly Tires tin sign, which hit $13,200.
The top lot of the sale was this rare Kelly Tires tin sign, which hit $13,200.
March 15, 2010 - PRLog -- (PEOTONE, Ill.) – An extremely rare Kelly Tires double-sided tin trade sign, 24 inches in diameter and showing a lady waving while driving, sold for $13,200 at a Spring Petroliana & Advertising Auction held Mar. 5 by Matthews Auctions, LLC. The auction was conducted on the day before the popular Chicagoland Petroliana & Advertising Show, held each spring in Peotone.

   The Kelly Tires sign – the top earner in a sale that saw nearly 500 lots change hands – was rated 8.9 on a scale of 1-10 for condition, both sides, and boasted super color and shine. The only flaws were a few very small paint chips. It was marked Stout Co., St. Louis. According to legend the lady on the sign was modeled after Shirley Temple, who never gave her authorization.

   “This was our first big sale since November, so I didn’t know what to expect going in,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC, “but, considering the economy, it exceeded my expectations. Prices were strong, proving to me that the market for pertroliana and advertising collectibles is healthy. And it didn’t hurt having the Gulf Oil collection of Pat Lutz in the sale.”

   Around 125 people attended the sale in person, while just under 200 bidders participated online, through Proxibid. “There were between 45 and 70 people online at any given time,” Mr. Matthews remarked. “The Internet was one of the main reasons the sale was as successful as it was.” Absentee bidding was strong and the few phone bids that were taken were mostly winners.

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

   A hard-to-find Avio Motor Oil single-sided tin sign, 14 inches by 20 inches, saying “a Product of Midwest Oil Company,” rated 8.5 and with only some minor staining in the middle of the field, brought $5,500; and a rare United Motors Service arrow sign, double-sided porcelain, 14 inches by 42 inches, with an early touring car logo and graded a stout 9.5, rose to $6,050.

   An Alligator Boot (“the Only Boot That Eliminates Shock”) metal counter display with great graphics, 24 inches by 12 inches by 13 inches, marked Leo Meyer Co. (Akron, Ohio) and graded 8.75, coasted to $5,500; and a rare Gulf Oil (“the Oil of Untold Uses”) counter-top metal display with original handy oiler, 12 inches by 10.45 inches and graded 8.0, garnered $4,070.

   A Perfect Circle Piston Rings single-sided tin embossed sign (“Don’t Drive an Oil Hog”), with great graphics, 36 inches by 30 inches, with great color and shine and only light wear, graded 7.9, fetched $2,640; and a Columbia Gorge Stage Depot double-sided tin display sign, with a photo of an early bus, 24 inches by 18 inches, with good color, graded 7.9, made $3,190.

   An exceptional Sinclair Opaline Motor Oil single-sided porcelain sign (“Made Expressly for Ford Cars”), 20 inches by 48 inches, graded 9.5 with just some minor chips along the bottom edge, breezed to $3,630; and a large-size Time Gas double-sided porcelain die-cut sign (“10 ‘Til 1 O’Clock”), 72 inches by 48 inches, graded 9 on one side and 8.75 on the other, brought $3,575.

   A Firestone Aircraft Tires & Accessories single-sided tin sign dated 1946, 30 inches by 72 inches, graded 8.0, hammered for $3,025; a rare Gardner Automotive single-sided tin sign, graded 5.5 and with heavy wear, finished at $1,072; and an Invader Motor Oil double-sided die-cut tin sign with knight on horseback graphics, 30 inches by 30 inches, graded 9.5, hit $1,650.

   A Penn Trump Motor Oil one-quart metal can, unassembled (and unable to be assembled), graded 9.5, realized $715; a Wadhams Tempered Motor Oil salesman’s sample 5-gallon motor oil can in rocker box, graded 8.0, demanded $743; and a rare Fleetwing Vertical Bird license plate attachment, single-sided tin and die-cut embossed, graded 7.0, went for $462.

   Matthews Auctions, LLC has two big auctions coming up in May. The first, scheduled for Saturday, May 1, will be a Classic Car, Boat, Petroliana, Gas Pump & Advertising Auction, to be held at 943 Alton Street in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc. Offered will be more than 20 classic cars and other vehicles, a great selection of gas pumps, boats, neon signs, memorabilia and more.

   Then, a two-day sale will be held the weekend of May 15-16, at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo.  It will be an Absolute Petroliana & Automotive Advertising Auction, featuring the single-owner lifetime collection of Clyde Hodge. “This will be a great auction, with a large selection of signs, globes and collectibles with the Rocky Mountains right out the back door,” Matthews said.

Matthews Auctions, LLC is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call them toll-free, at (877) 968-8880. Or, you can e-mail them at To learn more about the firm and its calendar of upcoming sales, to include the May 1 and May 15-16 dates, click on


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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.
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Tags:Petroliana, Advertising, Auction, Peotone, Chicagoland, Kelly, Tires, Tin, Sign, Matthews
Industry:Hobbies, Business, Lifestyle
Location:Nokomis - Illinois - United States
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