Jump to content

A Question For Porcelain Sign Collectors


Recommended Posts

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. 

 

AA14FD0A-96C3-447A-B5A9-C827B6BB0813.thumb.jpeg.615084b45c1688408c522322e2956b85.jpeg

 

086486E0-49C4-4846-955D-5CFEC34554D4.thumb.jpeg.e0930b1b76b474647ec47d68de92882b.jpeg

 

17F77FA5-C143-4CC9-99FB-E83528AF0A90.thumb.jpeg.af84f1db628aa0ebc1fd4327ae1565be.jpeg

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

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)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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 

 

 

67D1D0BF-2229-4DF7-B57B-CC1E783D7C2B.jpeg

DE076A6B-DB4A-4560-A495-70A61B18C894.jpeg

Edited by VintageJunkie (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

 

 

 

image.png.e90f632de883e58c56b99c11346ff417.png

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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)
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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)
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

031.thumb.jpg.37c180a73914b577fc79eae1af3ede43.jpg

 

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.

 

TireShop.jpg.3257a2c79a634e074cac64c069fa657a.jpg

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

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!!

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

thumbnail.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

sign.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

349D51B6-6DBC-4357-A66D-1BC666694E21.jpeg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Any signs relating to Automobile Dealers and Gas Stations are fair game.

The market for good vintage porcelain signs and neon porcelain and gas station advertising is healthy and alive.

I am only interested in "real" signs with an identifiable mark of where and when they were made.

The Dodge Desoto Dodge Truck sign for instance was made by several different companies back in the day. 

I have been collecting signs for a long time and try to collect signs that relate to some of my vehicle or old gas station memories.

I also have a passion for "marine" related oil and gas items like square oil cans and porcelain signs and some o/b motors. 

This room is what I call the "overflow" room and is a small part of the inventory.

One day when I shift down to a lower gear I will hang them in the shop / show room / old gas station setting that is on the drawing board.

This same sort of semi controlled addiction has applied to cars and trucks and all the related accessories for them.

But I have been purging a few vehicles lately.

Such as a 42 Dodge pickup just sent to France, 46 Dodge 1 ton locally , 35 Dodge coupe locally, 35 Dodge slant back locally, 70 El Camino SS 454 LS6 M22 #'s match CDN GM Docs locally and I have a few others looking for a home....  

Currently doing a full frame off restoration of a very rare civilian model 1942 Dodge Suburban with barn doors and also doing a frame on restoration of a 1935 DB KC 2nd series pickup that was special  ordered by the IRS in Fargo ND in October 1935 with a few "extra options".

 

Happy New Year to everyone...! 

 

Onward and upward and pedal to the metal throughout 2020.

Dodge, Desoto, Dodge Trucks.jpg

IMG_5068.jpg

IMG_4001.jpg

IMG_5084.jpg

IMG_5081.jpg

IMG_5066.jpg

IMG_5073.jpg

Edited by dodgebrother (see edit history)
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

That is an impressive collection to say the least,  but I would sell a few and build a bigger building so you can display them all.  I finally finished one of my garages off enough to hang a few of mine.  When I get the new shop finished I will have plenty of room to hang the rest with alot of space to grow. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is one I purchased a few years back, can't recall how much it was but it was under $500.  Only original one I have ever seen, but there are repops coming out of India now that look too pristine and the colors are wrong.  Mine is complete with all the chips, rust and some sloppy re-paint on the lower half of the sign, but it still has the original holes from the neon wiring.  Looks just fine on my garage wall and goes well with my 34s as it has the 'Motors' wording proper for 34 as opposed to the 'Corp.' wording used in 35 and later.  Have seen one photo of an old Dodge/Plymouth dealership with this sign along with a similar size set of Dodge 'wings'--hate to think how much one of those would cost these days, pristine or not.

20200101_134105[1].jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks it took a few years to pick them up.

 

I don't really need to sell any signs to build a shop though.

I just need to consolidate to one location.

 

Here are a few of my shops and they are currently a bit crowded as well.

The first is basically for a few cars at home, the second (offsite) older shop is jammed with trucks and signs.

The last one (the new shop) with the Kubota and my ranch trucks a 68 GMC and 67 Ford is where everything is going to end up one day.

The tractor and work trucks and other overflow vehicles will go into other shop(s).

This one I will set up as my main auto shop with hoist etc. and lots of signs on inside walls and then create a sort of old time gas station outside.

Well at least that is Plan A which is always subject to change.

 

There are some really nice shops that have been built by members and posted on here that are absolutely beautiful.

I love seeing those photos and hope to create something as unique.

 

These things take time................

 

 

The Boys in the Garage.jpg

1946 Dodge, 1935 Dodge Brothers, 1935 Chevrolet-1.jpg

The new shop.jpg

Edited by dodgebrother (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

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,   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. 

thumbnail.jpeg

 

Guess who is the  1977 Mass State Senior Champ?   I still have three of our cars,  my Senior champ car,  my brothers Junior champ car,  and our best Senior car which did crap, but looked good.   Here are the two latter ones.     I just need  a barn to hang them on the wall like they are racing.    How big is that sign?

 

 

IMG_6432.jpg

IMG_6433.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

Guess who is the  1977 Mass State Senior Champ?   I still have three of our cars,  my Senior champ car,  my brothers Junior champ car,  and our best Senior car which did crap, but looked good.   Here are the two latter ones.     I just need  a barn to hang them on the wall like they are racing.    How big is that sign?

 

 

IMG_6432.jpg

IMG_6433.jpg

I don't have the exact size.  I was going to lay it out and measure it as the guy I got it from just said billboard sized but also lost the measurements he made when he laid it out.  We had snow on the ground when it arrived so I couldn't lay the panels out to measure them.  I realized later they would probably all lay out on our Deck but I need a dry day with no wind once the snow melts off it,  so it might be a little while. He wanted me to check anyways to make sure he didn't misplace any of the panels.  I also want to see what it looks like in person so I'll get it laid out first good day. 

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said I like paper stuff.  Here is some shots of a few in the mostly finished garage.  I still have a bunch of small porcelain, a few flange signs, and enamel signs plus displays to set up once i get it finished off more. I just picked up all the colonial moldings for the windows and doors.  I just need to finish them so I can get them installed along with the window extension jambs. 

Alot of the signs weren't all that expensive.  The framing and Plexi adds up to as much as some of the signs and I make the frames myself. 

The Coke Sign is pretty big.  I picked that up this summer from my 6th grade school teacher who has had it for years.  It's going in the big shop along with my 40 foot Neon Coach House Sign. 

I was thinking of putting a fake tin ceiling in this garage with the 2x2 Copper finished stamped tin style panels,  but at about 3500.  That's alot for a ceiling.  I still would have to figure out the lighting as I don't think Flourescent lights would look good with a fancy ceiing. Track lighting would be nice as I could position it on various select pieces. 

 

IMG_1910.JPG

IMG_1911.JPG

IMG_1916.JPG

IMG_1912.JPG

IMG_1913.JPG

IMG_1914.JPG

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

That's already covered.  This is the new shop. 16 foot ceiling and about 4300 square feet clear span.  It's just a long way from being finished like the other inside.  But it's up and mostly finished on the outside. 

IMG_5406.JPG

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have enjoyed looking at everyone's signs. What beautiful and varied collections everyone has.

 

I have only had one Reo Motor sign the top sign below I was told it could be from the 1950's 

 

The bottom sign I do not know the time frame.

 

The sign was just painted blue and yellow with Reo Salea and Service on it. Does anyone have a picture of other Reo signs ?

 

Mark   in Toronto  1931 Reo Royale Victoria  in pieces

 

image.png.3b5b911fb1a5d6060936cc1b7b263fef.png

 

 

image.png.4be0deff27ed2f5e7e1fe8a2a9a71c34.png

 

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I also have only one sign that I payed I think was around $20 for. But I believe the prices have gone up since I bought it around 1980. We were on vintage car run with a stop at an antique store when I got it. Another time  we were working on a tour when I stopped to check out another antique  store  for the tour. Scored a set of  nice cowl lights for a 1911 Cadillac for $80. that the owner had not even unpacked yet.  I still have them on the shelf but that was only in 04 I found them. I try and include antique stores if possible when laying out a tour seeing most stores general have something automotive related. I see many signs in the stores but not being a collector and there are many fakes out there so I just pass. 

2015-09-05 party 001.JPG

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

I also have only one sign that I payed I think was around $20 for. But I believe the prices have gone up since I bought it around 1980. We were on vintage car run with a stop at an antique store when I got it. Another time  we were working on a tour when I stopped to check out another antique  store  for the tour. Scored a set of  nice cowl lights for a 1911 Cadillac for $80. that the owner had not even unpacked yet.  I still have them on the shelf but that was only in 04 I found them. I try and include antique stores if possible when laying out a tour seeing most stores general have something automotive related. I see many signs in the stores but not being a collector and there are many fakes out there so I just pass. 

2015-09-05 party 001.JPG

Wow Joe - An amazing sign for $20 even in 2020 dollars :)  I also do the same anywhere we go, try to poke my head into the thrift or antique shops, never know what you will find and the owners are always interesting to talk to 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/31/2019 at 10:47 PM, WQ59B said:
On 12/31/2019 at 9:09 PM, Robert G. Smits said:

 

I've never seen one with an asking price over $500, nevermind a grand. It's just not an in-demand piece.

Three on eBay right now.  A rusted POS for $250,  a moderately rusted one for $750 and a nice original for $1450.  If you have not kept up with advertising prices you will be astonished.  I recently turned down $15K for a 42 inch NOS Cadillac Service DSP

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...