NEW YORK – Once upon a time, oil companies offered more than gasoline and friendly, attentive service at their gas stations. To keep their brands fresh in the minds of customers, novel promotional items were freely distributed in the mid-20th century, which have since become collectible. Many of these items are offered in a 218-lot auction of vintage advertising that will be conducted by Jasper52 on Saturday, March 16. Bid absentee or live online exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.
Fifty-seven lots consist of salt and pepper shakers in the form of gas pumps bearing paper labels advertising both major and obscure brands. An example of the latter is a scarce set of plastic shakers advertising Hancock Gasoline (above). The paper decals depict the brand’s modern stylized rooster logo (est. $500-$1,000).
Mary Hudson, a young woman whose husband was killed in a truck accident, opened the first Hudson Oil station in Kansas City in 1933. It was the first of more than 300 gas stations and convenience stores that became a $325 million business. A 7-inch tall Hudson Gasoline plastic pole thermometer (below) offered in the auction is in excellent condition and valued at $700-$1,000.
A 3-foot-tall thermometer advertising Dezol Oiloy Motor Oil has a good glass tube and exhibits good color and finish (est. $400-$600). Dezol brands were produced and marketed by Universal Motor Oils Co. of Wichita, Kansas, starting in 1929.
Popular with children in the 1950s were still banks in the form of miniature oil cans. Offered as a single lot are 10 of the 3-inch-tall cans, all different including Sunoco, Marathon and Imperial brands (est. $100-$200). The auction has more than 20 such lots of motor oil still banks.
Common sense says gasoline and cigarettes are a bad match, nevertheless, ad men in the mid-20th century thought otherwise. A large collection of cigarette lighters advertising many oil companies are offered in 19 lots. One such lot consists of 18 different lighters ($300-$500). All appear to be in good working order.
At least a dozen metal signs in the auction advertise soft drinks. A single-sided embossed sign for Nu-Grape Soda is clean and bright except for minor wear around the edges ($200-$400).
Also offered in the Jasper52 auction is a collection of gas station attendants caps, which are grouped into several lots.
The petroliana auction will be held Saturday, March 16, beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern time.