DENVER, Pa. – The demand for rare, high-quality automobilia and petroliana has never been greater, and Morphy Auctions‘ experts have never been more active in their quest to secure superior-quality consignments from long-held collections. The Pennsylvania company’s July 19-20 auction is packed with obscure advertising signs, gas pumps and globes; plus a specialty selection of more than 230 graphic motor oil cans touting such brands as Bisonoil, The Bomber, Skunk Oil, Iroquois and many more. In addition, the 1,000-lot sale features other types of signage, including neon, clocks, and soda pop advertising. Absentee and Internet live bidding is accessible through LiveAuctioneers.
Featured: Sinclair double-sided ‘airplane’ service station sign, new/old stock Musgo Gasoline ‘Michigan’s Mile Maker’ one-piece baked gas pump globe with Native American graphic
Flying high over the petroleum signs is a coveted Sinclair Aircraft double-sided porcelain service station sign (shown at top of page) with an early airplane graphic against a crimson ground. Measuring 48 inches in diameter, it is graded a strong 9.0 and 8.0, respectively, on each of its sides. A clean, fresh-to-market example, this eye-catching round sign with a textured “orange peel” finish is highly sought after by both petroliana and aviation memorabilia collectors. It leads the gas and oil section with a $50,000-$100,000 estimate.
Another strong entry is a Hood Tire Dealer single-sided lithographed tin sign with a full-height depiction of their mascot, the smartly uniformed “Hood Man.” Standing 35½ inches tall and exhibiting outstanding color and high gloss, this condition 8.5++ advertisement would add eye appeal to any collection. It is expected to reach $5,000-$10,000 at auction.
A framed poster advertisement emblazoned “Columbia Batteries For Every Use” shows the versatility of its products through images of various types of transportation: a car, boat and airplane. Printed on single-sided card stock and bearing a copyright date of 1913, this attractive sign is estimated at $4,000-$7,000.
Bidding paddles will be airborne when the gleaming array of more than 160 gas pump globes crosses the auction block. There are some real beauties from which to choose, starting with the star lot – an incredible new/old stock Musgo Gasoline “Michigan’s Mile Maker” one-piece baked gas pump globe. Emblazoned on both sides with a gorgeous graphic of a Native American chief, the globe is dated Sept. 17, 1929, and has a “Made in USA” ink stamp along the outer collar. The piece is new/old stock, hence its brilliant, unfaded condition.
“Truly, it is one of the finest of all Musgo advertising items we have ever sold,” said John Mihovetz, Head of Morphy’s Automobilia and Petroliana department. “We try to be intensely accurate in our grading and even err on the conservative side, but this globe more than earns its rating of 9.5+ on one side and 9.0+ on the other side. Bidders will not be disappointed.” The globe comes to auction with an estimate of $30,000-$50,000.
Originally produced for a San Antonio, Texas company called SIPO – Silent Power Gasoline – a rare 13.5-inch single-globe lens, circa 1930s, is richly illustrated with car, airplane and world-globe graphics. “If some collectors don’t immediately recognize it, that will be understandable,” Mihovetz said. “It’s one of few of its type known to exist.” In 9.0 condition, it is offered with a $15,000-$25,000 estimate.
From north of the U.S. border comes a very rare Bengal “Green” Gasoline (Burlington Refineries, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) 15-inch single-globe lens with a compelling image of a leaping tiger. The artistry is first rate, with realistic musculature and fastidiously detailed stripes on the powerful cat, who pounces forward with his mouth agape. The colorful, condition-9.0+ lens sits on its original low-profile metal body. It should easily claw its way to a winning bid of $10,000-$16,000.
Other highlights of the gas globe category include a circa-1930s Mohawk Gasoline (Bakersfield, Calif.) 15-inch single-globe lens with a striking Native American graphic and high-profile metal body, condition 8.9+ and estimated at $5,000-$8,000; and a rare, circa-1920s Mayflower Gasoline 15-inch single-globe lens with an outstanding ship graphic, presumably depicting the Pilgrim ship that landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Graded a solid 9.0+, this good-looking globe lens is estimated at $3,000–$6,000.
Motor oil cans have developed an avid following amongst collectors, who love the graphics, amusing names, and geographic regions from which the containers originated. An extremely rare buying opportunity presents itself in Lot 1381: a collection of 18 Gulf Supreme automotive oil cans together with a Gulf service station wheeled cart with Gulf tin topper sign, and accompanied by a Supreme Auto Oil porcelain flange sign. A collector would have to search for many years to achieve such a complete collection, but they could also spare themselves the effort and bid on the one offered at Morphy’s with a $15,000-$25,000 estimate.
Dozens of lots of soda pop signage, coolers, clocks and other related advertising and promotional items will be auctioned. One of the top highlights is an extremely rare Pepsi-Cola illuminating reverse-painted glass “bullet’ sign with a well-detailed bottle graphic. Dating to around the 1940s, this 14-inch-tall sign, graded 9.25 out of 10, displays beautiful coloration throughout and retains its original wood base and metal “can.” Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
Morphy’s July 19-20, 2023 Automobilia & Petroliana Auction will be held live at Morphy’s gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517, starting on both days at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. For questions about any item in the auction, to reserve a phone line or leave an absentee bid, call 877-968-8880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Morphy’s online at www.morphyauctions.com.
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