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A Question For Porcelain Sign Collectors

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Posted (edited)

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.

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Edited by dodgebrother (see edit history)
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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. 

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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.

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Posted (edited)

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................

 

 

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Edited by dodgebrother (see edit history)
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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. 

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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?

 

 

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Scott,

That is a nice sign.

This one on the back of my wall is similar to yours and is a real one and pretty well mint.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
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?

 

 

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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)
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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. 

 

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Very nice shop and signage and advertising stuff.

It should look great when you finish.

But it looks good now too.

And you can always put an addition on to add few extra bays.........

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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. 

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Posted (edited)

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

 

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Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)

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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. 

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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. 

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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 

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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

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I'm not specifically a porcelain sign collector but consider myself a "sign gatherer."  My collection is very eclectic with a variety of tin, card, porcelain, even some early hand painted stuff on wood.  I've gathered them over the years, most from the original source-hanging on old garage walls, plugging holes in ceilings, floors, fences, etc.  I love telling stories about how and where they came from, especially those I found while living in Scotland.  The Brits produced some wonderful early advertising.  I'm short of dealer specific signs but have them for oil and gasoline, tires, and many other auto products, all decorating my garage and especially my recreated circa 1915 auto parts store.  

Not to be outdone, my wife has collected many interesting early tea advertising signs too.  Lots of fun, but I too miss the good old days when you could still find them nailed to the walls of an old garage. 

 

I do follow signs at auction, on evil-bay and for sale at the swap meets, and try to keep up with prices.  I'd personally have passed on the sign in question as it's just to rough for me, and I'm not into restoring them.  Based on what I've seen though, there is a market for them and the price seems somewhat "normal" these days.

 

The first sign I ever acquired was in Scotland while on an old car tour with the local vintage car club we belonged to.  We were driving our 1935 Morris when I stopped in front of a long-closed old garage to take a photo of our car parked in front of the wonderful Wakefield Castrol sign pictured here.  The guy who owned the place was inside, repairing a bicycle and came out to look at the car.  Of course as soon as I opened my mouth and asked if we could take the photo he realized I wasn't a local.  After taking the photo, he proceeded to pull the sign off the wall and gave it to us as a souvenir of our visit.  We tried to say no thanks, then tried to pay for it - but he expressed his gratitude for what the American's did during WWII  and insisted we take it.  I couldn't refuse it and we proceeded to tie it on the roof of our car.  When we pulled into the garage at home, our landlord and family,  who we rented our cottage from,  came running up to see why we were late coming home - they were also antique car club members and had been on the tour with their Austin 7s.  When they saw the sign, they said everybody in the club had tried to buy it at one time and all offers had been rejected!  An amazing experience and one of my favorite stories. 

 

They are all my favorites but one of the more interesting is the "No Autos Filled" sign pictured.  Very early as it makes reference to "gas lights." 

 

My simple recommendation -  enjoy collecting,  however you can.

Terry

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for what  porcelain signs go for today, Ild much rather have the cash. Everything has its price point.

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, Paul Dobbin said:

Auburnseeker,

Try https://www.americantinceilings.com/?msclkid=3b44d2a961f913c1875e8ca722549824&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=(Corey) Branden   Stay away from the painted ones, get new tin for a cheap price.

 

From what I was looking at in a prefinished "plastic" copper colored tile the price difference is about 3300 to 7228 for the real tin plus tax and shipping on the tin.  With the real tin I have to add nailers to the whole ceiling over the 1 inch foam and might have some clearance issues with my garage doors. Even after changing the rails the one with the opener actually hits the foam so I was going to run a smooth piece of thin copper flashing down the ceiling where it runs and just fit the tiles accordingly.   The Plastic ones can be glued up to the foam.  Haven't pulled the trigger on either yet as there are many other things that I should buy other than a tin ceiling. 

 

Day Dreaming is alot cheaper and less work than actually getting the job done. 

 

 

That's a beauty of a Packard sign by the way. 

 

I would bet out of all of us with signs,  some of the best ones,  ended up being the cheapest or even free.  I think the most I ever spent on a single sign was $600 and that was my 40 foot Neon Coach House sign because I bought it from a scrap yard and agreed to give them back all the steel the letters were mounted to. They delivered it and I even threw on a bunch of scrap steel and Iron I had laying around when they came back to pick up the frame. Ironically I had seen that sign as a kid every time my family came down to Gens falls as it was prominently placed on the roof of a restaurant  that you could see from the interstate and it was always lit up at night.  hard to not notice a 40 foot neon sign with nothing but woods around it. 

I've bought a few since for just a tad less, but as mentioned many came from people I know so I have the history behind them. 

You can just see a little of it in this photo at my old shop which I sold.  I have it in storage in the attic of my little garage.  When I get the new one finished along enough,  I'll mount it inside the new one.  Though it would fit nicely on the outside end of the new one.  If I put it on the far end of the new one,  people would once again see it from the interstate,  but I'm sure zoning would have a real issue with me lighting it up. 

 

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Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Robert G. Smits said:

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. 

Of course, one can ask whatever one wants. ;)
I'm sure prices overall have gone up, but asking prices have far outstripped selling prices.

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Posted (edited)

Wow a lot of money back in 1918.

1018? Just havin fun. ^^^^^^

Edited by c49er (see edit history)

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I should post pictures of my eclectic sign collection but most of your collections put mine to shame. I split mine into two locations one has farm/forestry/parks/etc the other is auto/petro. I prefer originals but will not break the bank. The other problem is once friends and family know you collect signs they give you signs and some of them are repros, I hang the repros if I like them and store the once I don't (after a few years I add them to my Hershey pile). I still have some room for additional signs, but not a lot, so I'm selective on what I buy both in content and price. I figure if I stop now it is still a nice collection that I like to look at.

 

I sold some nice signs back in the late 70s that I got cheap and didn't fit my interests, when I see how the price have went up I wonder if I should have hung on to them but I made a good a nice profit on them considering all but one I only had a couple of years. The last of that batch was a large Sunco diamond shaped sign that after hauling to Hershey a few times I found a spot on my wall where it hung for 30+ years. When we moved my new shop wall space would have been crowded with such a large sign, but was going to move it. I had a fellow deliver stone for the driveway at the old place to make it more marketable and the fellow walked into my shop where I was packing things to give me the bill and asked what I was going to do with the big sign. Said I guess move it, he asked how much I would take. I had not kept up on prices but threw price at him I would be happy with knowing I didn't really want to move it and he reached in his pocket and pulled out a roll bills and started pulling hundreds off the roll. I figured I probably asked to little but I was happy not to move it.

 

I bought these signs out of the basement of a closed Chevy dealership and had almost nothing in them. When I went to look at the stuff the fellow wanted to sell he had several crates of dealer manuals with paint and upholstery samples and other manuals and all kinds of iron parts not in boxes but new. When he saw I was mostly interested in the paper he admitted to having hauled several pickup loads to the dump, I almost cried. When I got all parts and such off the benches and shelves the signs were being used as part of the shelving, I wondered how many of those went to the dump. I worked out a deal to haul a load to Hershey and split the profits 50:50, he agreed, I came back with 90% of the parts but he was happy with the cash I gave him. Ask him if he wanted to sell me the leftover parts for my half of the profits and he jumped on it. Still have some of the paper, sold out of that stash at Hershey for many years. So you can see the signs didn't owe me anything.

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