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A Question For Porcelain Sign Collectors


DB26
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I actually use Mothers MAg and Aluminum Polish on mine and it cleans up the majority of the stains with some elbow grease.  Even works on the enamel signs but you have to be careful as it works like a buffing compound so it does shine it up real nice but it slowly wears the paint down as you do it so you have to find the happy medium and not go too far so you lose enough paint that you make a noticeable spot in the sign.  Not a problem on the porcelain signs but something to keep in mind on the enameled pieces. I use to do it to lunch boxes which have very little enamel and lots of graphics so it's a slow process and you aren't going to instantly trash an enameled sign by trying it. 

 

A trick for cleaning enameled or porcelain signs if they have been in a dirty shop environment and and are greasy with light overspray maybe even on them, is you can use lighter fluid (like you get for the barbecue) it degreases incredibly well.  It's so mild it doesn't remove paint either and leaves no oily residue.  I actually degreased the inner fenders on my 36 Chrysler to the original blue finish and clear coated them.  Even alcohol was taking the paint off.  The lighter fluid cleaned it so well that when I cleared it I didn't get a single fish eye.  I use it for all my degreasing jobs now and just throw the rags (paper towels) in the barbecue and torch them off when I'm done. 

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
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Maybe not so much w porcelain but on any old signage be extra careful with cleaners if any of the sign is red, seems to be much less resiliant for some reason.  One heartbraker for me was trying to clean up an NOS Tydol tag topper with some wrapper stuck to it, warm water was all it took to soften the ancient  white paint.  I didnt strip it but I know the cleaning attempt did damage. 🙁 Never clean in a hurry!

 

We have had great luck with gel gloss on porcelain though.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

 Every year at HERSHEY, we make a point of visiting one particular vendor. He has a AAA sign from the next town over from where I live, that's what caught my attention. For about the last 12 to 15 years he has the sign hung in his area with a price of $5000. You would think that by now the light bulb wood go off and let him know $5000 is way too high for that sign. He simply does not want to sell it, or he's waiting for that big fish to come along, just a tease.

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I have had several friends that threw way stupid prices on things they didn't want to sell just so people would stop bothering them and then had to sell it when the right person came along. Then they were upset with themself. That is one of the reason I never put a price on something I don't want to sell.

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10 hours ago, 46 woodie said:

 Every year at HERSHEY, we make a point of visiting one particular vendor. He has a AAA sign from the next town over from where I live, that's what caught my attention. For about the last 12 to 15 years he has the sign hung in his area with a price of $5000. You would think that by now the light bulb wood go off and let him know $5000 is way too high for that sign. He simply does not want to sell it, or he's waiting for that big fish to come along, just a tease.

I'm sure it's just there to attract attention. 

terry

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  • 1 year later...

Hey guys ! I am new here. And I am sorry, but literally joined this place for this thread ! Its a great thread, even though it has nothing to do with the actual reasons of this website ! haha. Lots of good info and lots of excellent collections (you show offs !)

 

I am a newbie vintage soda/gas/oil clock/sign collector (and some beer too). Matter fact, I only got a very few lower quality things. But I am looking for more. Thats what brought me here. See I am having problems identifying repro's vs true authentic originals. Apparently there is places redoing these old ones to a tee. And now some slick eBayers are perfectly wording there sales in ways to not say or not not say lol

 

In particular, I have a old Dr Pepper thermometer I am trying to acquire. And I have come across a few different iterations of it. All possibly real from DP, so I am not saying they are fake. But I am suspecting something. Any light to shine on this would help.

 

Notice on these 3, they are all 100% the same size, BUT vary slightly as far as some go down to -40 degrees, -30, or -20, plus some other very small differences. That said all sellers claim 100% authentic, original, vintage, etc.. The super clean ones just claiming mint condition cause sat in his garage for decades.

 

So I ask, are these even real ? If so, is one of them a repro ? Why the differences ?

 

Thanks guys !

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On 1/1/2020 at 12:26 PM, dodgebrother said:

 

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".

 

 

Got photos of those posted somewhere?

 

Craig

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Bottom two certainly look questionable to me.  I'd want an in person look before spending any $, but then soft-drink/soda isn't my area of interest and I don't have a knowledge base there.  What do the back sides look like?  My concerns are they look too good, but could be NOS?   It's a hot area of collecting right now so there is good reason for the scammers and bandits to rip folks off.  How are they priced?  if too good to be true, it just might be.  Who is the dealer - reputable?  Personally these days I'd rather hold them in my hand.  Even that can be chancy unless you've had some experience holding the real thing.

 

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Thanks for chiming in @Terry Bond and helping me. Yea its so tough, in the past I have gotten some various things that looked so vintage perfectly authentic due to age/old looking so I gravitate towards them being true originals. Yet only to learn later, they were not. Just really good repro's professionally made, and made to look rustic/etc.. And vice versa too. Got something at a great deal, practically looking new, figured it was a repro, found out it is actually the real deal, just kept real nice (Olympia Beer Tray).

 

Unfortunately, I am inexperienced at the certain tell tale signs that experienced people look for. Its less about the old/new look and more about certain tiny things in the fonts, swoops, spacings, etc.. So thats why I ask.

 

I sure wish my expertise was old cars ! haha I just don't have that type of money yet. Or space. (I live in San Francisco). I do have a 1996 Chevy Impala though ! To me, thats vintage ! lol Also I like it. Has 70k on it.

 

6 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

 What do the back sides look like?

Check attached pics - The more beat up one is the only one with just a plain galvanized back. The other 2 seem to have the white paint/porcelain or whatever it is. Also I found another, old and beat up, and it has a rusted like white back as well, I will include that.

 

6 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

How are they priced?  if too good to be true, it just might be.  Who is the dealer - reputable?  Personally these days I'd rather hold them in my hand.  Even that can be chancy unless you've had some experience holding the real thing.

 

The beat up one is like $200 the others are $325/$300 range. All on eBay, very good reputations. But that doesn't always mean what it should. As many customers could be getting duped. lol IDK ?

 

I agree, need to hold in hand, but for me thats just impossible unfortunately. All these kinds of things are not located around me. I live in a liberal/communist city, where people have turned their backs on things like this long ago 😞 Gems like this are only found in them "good ol boy" areas I been noticing. In which I just don't have the time or gas to travel to, to justify it.

 

I feel like moving, but I was born and raised here and the geographics and weather are very nice. It was awesome in the 80's ! Absolute best ! Now, not so. It changed. I wanna move somewhere like Texas so I can have firearms, arm myself, ride 2 stroke dirt bikes and not be told everything I buy causes cancer. Hell and do them all at the same time ! BUT, upon visiting, IDK, I like the Bay Area weather and ability to do stuff and order food at 3am, etc.. I'm torn. Life just aint what it used to be. But I swear, they are chasing me outta here with these lame laws and financially destructive mindsets.

 

RANT OVER ! haha

 

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Edited by Infa Red
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Terry is certainly more experienced than I am but I would not buy any of these without personally inspecting them.  Two of the three look REPO to me for sure.  With your admitted lack of experience I would not buy anything from a eBay seller unless you or a friend  know them personally from previous experiences.  You live in a area with a ton of antique car activity.  Join a club like the AACA or VMCCA in your area and you will find members who actively collect advertising and are happy to help.    Google automotive or advertising flea Markets or shows in your area and start attending.  Don't feel bad if you occasionally end up with a fake.  We all have mistakes in our collections.  I have a couple hanging on my walls because they look great.  If anyone asks I reply, yes it's a repo but I like it.  Get on the mailing list for Morford and Past Time Pleasures.  These are on line auctions and provide a digital catalog 3 to 4 times a year that you will find educating.  No REPO's allowed.  Also join the "Old Gas forum"  You can actually submit a photo and members will comment much like this forum.  Great hobby and if you are serious your collection will appreciate much faster that the S&P 500. And lastly scroll down to the forum headed by Memoribilia ---- for a real education.   Sorry for my long winded reply

Edited by Robert G. Smits (see edit history)
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Thanks @Robert G. Smits for such good advice and all the referrals. I'm a join and link up with those for sure ! Good idea !

 

That said - you know, funny you say that about repros, but I was experiencing same thing some times. Now not with all, and IMO not with the porcelain/metal signs and stuff.. But some things, the repo's actually look good and will even last longer. For instance, in a gaming room and say Neon Signs. Old ones are awesome obviously - BUT there is nothing wrong with a new "Sega" and new "Playstation" or new "Arcade" neon sign. I mean, it does the same thing the originals did for the old 80's arcades.. So why not ? And being new, they are a lot more trouble free.

 

But beer gas oil and soda stuff imo all look better at least from 80's or before. Newer ads just look lame IMO. Like the art was lost. Anyway, just wanted to point out, I am indeed ok with some repro stuff too. It depends - am I going for a collectable to brag about how much it is worth in 20 years ? Or do I just want a neat cool sign hangin there doing its job ?

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Real signs are usually large and the metal is a heavier gauge. Graphics are sharper and colors can be more vivid.  Here is an original Frostie Root Beer thermometer I received from my late uncle’s collection.  Have it hanging in our sunroom.

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OMG @TerryB what a beautiful sign !! I love it. Absolutely love it.

 

You a show off bro !  🤣😜 haha Now I'm jealous. If you ever wanna sell it, please contact me first !

 

FYI, I also do not want to collect things just to collect. Mine is more passion based. It will have good home. I only want these things to actually USE and have in my game room and garage. 

 

For instance - Even if I know its more awesome and more valuable, I do not care, I ONLY want that stuff that rings that nostalgia bell for me personally. IE: If I do not drink or use it, or have drank or have used it in my life, then I do not want it. Coupled with, it has to be the version of the logo that hits that nostalgia point for me. Some ones that are too old, thats cool and all, I respect them, but if its not the Logo design I grew up with, then I do not want it.

 

Frosties was cool cause their logo was the exact same for super long. So even though I am a 70's/80's nostalgia guy, some brands from the 50's/60's still carry over to my nostalgia and FROSTIE is one for sure ! And I am a super Root Beer Float guy. I make a Root Beer Float at least once a day. Minimal.

 

Thanks for sharing TerryB !

Edited by Infa Red (see edit history)
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36 minutes ago, Infa Red said:

 

For instance - Even if I know its more awesome and more valuable, I do not care, I ONLY want that stuff that rings that nostalgia bell for me

Great philosophy.  I have  been collecting for 45 years and never purchased a item because it was a good deal.  If something doesn't speak to me I don't buy it.  If the value goes to zero you want to be able to look at it every day and still be glad you purchased it.  Some evenings I sit out in my display room with a single malt and listen to music.  It doesn't get much better.

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7 hours ago, Robert G. Smits said:

Some evenings I sit out in my display room with a single malt and listen to music.  It doesn't get much better.

Now this my friend,ˆˆˆˆˆthis right hereˆˆˆˆˆ, thats what life's about. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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100% right-collect because you really love what you collect!!!

Terry

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Condition, Condition, Condition and then rarity.  Using a porcelain sign for target practice detracts from the value somewhat.  Still an interesting Wall Hanger and signs in this condition are being actively purchased every day and for more than your offer.

Edited by Robert G. Smits (see edit history)
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Learning what is or isn’t real takes what experienced collectors that have fifty year in the business having “the eye.” There is no substitute for time, research, walking miles at flea markets, visiting collections, and talking to the old timers. Simply put, there is no substitute for ten thousand hours of in person learning. In my business I have “the eye” and trust my instincts. They haven’t failed me yet. Youth and inexperience take time to overcome, and the lessons of buying junk, fakes, and other condition issues is what we call life experience. I buy cars over the phone and from a single cell phone photo. Knowing how to read the other person on the end of the phone is also very important. If you don’t take risks, you always lose. Being the master of “The calculated risk”  is the ultimate skill. By the time you get there, your hair is falling out, and your waistline is expanding. 
 

Currently I have two fantastic cars that I own and have parked in friends garages that I have never laid eyes on. I won’t get ahold of them for months due to other projects and commitments. Yet I am still sourcing information, parts, supplies, and background on them so when they arrive I can jump right in and get to work. The real question is......how many irons in the fire do you have? I am always working a lead or deal EVERY day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s not luck to land the big score .......it’s lots of god dammed work.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I found this GULF sign and bought it from a friend who found it by rinning over it on a dirt road on Florida.  Bent, chipped, rusted

and looking awfu.  This picture is after washing it.

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   what I discoveered was that the orange, the white edge and the blue stripe were porcelian.  The lettering was mostly painted on.  Especially the 

   white and light blue accents on the letters.   I did a lot of straignyening and repainting.  However the orange did not match very well.

   When I hung it high on the gable end of our barn, it looked pretty good.

     

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6 hours ago, edinmass said:

It’s not luck to land the big score .......it’s lots of god dammed work.

Well Said!  You can apply that to everything worthwhile in life from the stock market to Marriage.  

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