DB26

A Question For Porcelain Sign Collectors

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This sign just sold on eBay for $575. It is 18"x38" I’ve been wanting to buy one, and I am wondering if these prices are typical for this condition? That seems like a lot to pay for a scratched mess. There is a pristine version for sale right now for $3000. I’m not any type of authority on signs and don’t know anyone who is. Does anyone here have some insight? I tried emailing a couple of the porcelain sign websites but haven’t heard back. 

 

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OR, you could go on a half dozen "design a sign" web sites and design a replica of this one or make up your own for about 50 bucks.

 

Mike in Colorado

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I'm guessing that is a pre1920 sign, based on what I see on American Pickers the sale price was soft. Bob 

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Within reason I find signs with "character" more attractive than pristine examples. One of the favorites I have is a porcelain sign saying "Petroleum Pipeline"...."No  Trespassing".

It's riddled with bullet holes.

Says it all..............Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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This one just sold at mecum auctions for $2500 and was in great shape.  

 

https://www.mecum.com/lots/LN1019-390275/1920s-dodge-brothers-approved-service-station-porcelain-sign/

 

 

There are a million fakes out there and personally wouldn’t buy anything on the internet that was over $1000.  Even experts can be fooled by these fakes.   A lot coming from India that are porcelain and they rust Em and bang them up.   If you want authentic then you will be north of 2k.  If you don’t mind the grunge look the sign for $575 isn’t that bad shockingly.   I love the real stuff.   I picked this sign locally for $100 and authentic but bad shape.   Did a ton of research to prove it was real.  Here are some pics of front and back.   Always ask to see the back of the sign 

 

 

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Edited by VintageJunkie (see edit history)

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Great topic DB26  

Maybe this one will make you feel better about the price this one is for sale in Canada.  About $925 US

 

Description

Old porcelain Chysler Plymouth sign, Big sign, 77" × 34" , it's seen better days, but good luck finding another., $1200, obo.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

In the1970's I worked on construction and when we had a chipped porcelain American Standard bathtub.

A repairmen would come to the site and take a small torch and coloured glass chips and melt the glass chips into the existing installed bathtubs.

 

Can they do that to these old signs ?  There is a lady who repairs car emblems is there anyone who does signs ?

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)

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signs are priced very high these days...............

 

the last time I went to Hershey, I saw more overpriced signs then cars.

 

ebay is a good gauge as to value and yes, many imposters.

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Some signs can be similar to cars......the price will shock you, regardless of condition. Others must be perfect, or they have little value. Just like cars, you have to study the market and get a feel for condition and price. To be honest, 3k for a sign in the scope of the car & sign world isn’t outrageous or crazy money. I saw a sign sell from a Packard Dealership go for six figures in the recent past. 

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Posted (edited)

I was offered $500 for this Oilzum sign and I refused the offer.

 It fits right into my antique wall. From this pic, you can't see the rusted through holes.

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Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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Roger, that is soft for Oilzum.  Big in the Northeast.  I have a few including an Oilzum my dad acquired between 75 and 90.  Cannot afford to add more than once in a while and the fakes scare me because while I am somewhat knowledgeable I wouldn't consider myself an expert.

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Posted (edited)

I am not too surprised that the DB sign sold for that price. Some folks just want a piece of history, no matter what condition it is in. A farmer gave me this sign and I had to unroll it from a rolled-up ball. It just fits on my shop. I have no idea what someone would pay for it.

Picture 10039.jpg

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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I sold a Star Cars double-sided porcelain dealership sign this year for a little over $400. It was in very nice original tho not perfect.

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From your description I think you left $500 to a $1000 on the table.  If you have more to sell i would advise you to get an appraisal from a knowledgeable sign collector in the future.  On the other hand if you were happy with your profit it really doesn't matter.

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Posted (edited)

Here is a video of Mantiques using paint on a enamel porcelain sign. It is not Historically original but it looks great.

 

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Robert G. Smits said:

From your description I think you left $500 to a $1000 on the table.  If you have more to sell i would advise you to get an appraisal from a knowledgeable sign collector in the future.  On the other hand if you were happy with your profit it really doesn't matter.

I've never seen one with an asking price over $500, nevermind a grand. It's just not an in-demand piece.
I paid $0 for it- owned it since the mid '80s.

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I have a few signs hanging in the garage and have sold others over the years. Most have been dated coded on the edge.

 

The Pennzoil sign has never been hung outside. It is embossed with a nice clean wood frame. I have put it on Ebay a couple of times for $1200. I never let the sale run for more that a couple of days. It bothers me to think I have so much crap I could be selling and here I am listing my good stuff. I end the sale.

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The Kelly sign has a 1956 date. The yellow Springfield letters have faded. It used to hang on the barn roof, above the shop extension. I got that and the Firestone sign around 1990 when he closed up. That's me in black and the corner of my '60 Chevy. The peak of the barn is in the upper left. We stored dry casings in the loft.

 

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There was a fellow in the Red Field South at Hershey before that field was eliminated in 2019 that would restore enamel signs - not inexpensive , but he did excellent work. I believe he was from either North or South Carolina  but can not recall exactly.

The video here of the sign restoration using an air brush and paint is good if you wish to go that route. I may add that if you do not own an air brush to spray on the paint you can also consider this: clean and prep the rusted areas as seen in the video - grind out the rust, prime the spot, use some finish body putty, reprime the area once that is done. Have patience and let the paint and putty dry ! 😣

If you want to repaint the now smooth area by hand with a brush may I suggest : ( I taught art for 35-40 years and have collected /restored my own cars, toys, etc for 50+ years)  you buy a good red sable paint brush in an art store ( do not use a cheap brush that has bristles that look like a whisk broom and is found at the local dollar store) the paint you want to use you will find at an art store as well - One Shot sign lettering enamel. It is not cheap, but if you brush it on ( enough to cover but not to thick) the brush hairs will flow out smooth. This paint is used by pin stripers to pin stripe cars and sign painters to letter trucks for advertising. It is why it is called sign lettering enamel. MAKE SURE you do this in a place that is dust free so dust doesn't settle in the wet paint which takes a long time to dry. Let it dry overnight and resist the temptation to touch it to see if its dry or you will leave a finger print in the paint! Clean your brush with the recommended paint thinner completely! You can use the sign lettering enamel on the center of your restored hubcaps as well.

I have done all of what I mentioned , patience and time is required. Have fun in 2020!!

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Deals can be had if you aren't searching for a very specific sign.  You just have to be very patient.  I have bought a few nice signs for what I thought were very reasonable prices , even from Vendors at places like Hershey.  The best stuff came from Friends,  but they knew I wasn't going to flip them. 

I also like Cardboard and Paper.  It usually didn't survive as well and is often 10 times more detailed and Graphic. 

I was just gifted this unhung Chevy Billboard sized window display from Chevy in 1969.  It's several panels.  Pretty cool.  Now I have to figure out how to mount it to display in my new shop.  I knew I built a huge shop for a reason. I just wish I had bought one of those really cool old soap box derby cars that was at an estate sale I went to 2 years ago now.  Would have looked cool hanging under it on the wall. 

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I am glad to see this topic as it lets all of us be aware of signs that we may not have seen before in any condition. So although it has strayed a bit from the original topic about condition, most being shown that need a lot of help or have had some scratchy and rusty experiences over the decades. I will share one of my favorites in my collection with all ( I am not a big sign collector although I really like them, they usually have to find me ) This sign I got in England about 35 years ago, it was hanging on the inside  wall of a friends garage and we did a trade and I took the sign home with me. Lucky it wasn't to large ,so I wrapped it carefully and it went on the plane with me for the trip back here.

It is 15 1/2 inches high by 31 inches wide and was made in Holland ca. 1930, artist ( according to the internet) was Wan Heskes . Condition of my sign is mint, no scuffs, chips etc. and at my friends garage sat behind his 1929 Lincoln model L dual cowl phaeton body by Locke.

Just posting here so you can see the variety of signs that were made - Beverol was a motor oil as you probably have already surmised. And NO the sign  is not for sale, I see it every time I am in my archive/library room and it is an inspiration for whatever I am working on. 

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My only genuine porcelain non reproduction item.  I had several reproduction signs in my old garage as they were fine for what I wanted.  Today’s prices, even for reproductions, has gone crazy.

 

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Thank you everyone for your advice and valuable information. Very fascinating subject. All of the signs posted here are so wonderful to look at, thanks for sharing. 

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