DENVER, Pa. – If condition is king, then expect a red carpet to be rolled out on April 3 as Morphy’s presents a regal auction line-up of gorgeous signs, gas globes and early pumps in a 746-lot Automobilia & Petroliana Auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The high-octane selection includes many entries from collections that were established back when petroleum-related items in pristine condition were much easier to find.
“There are many signs in this sale that would be hard to improve upon. They would be considered upgrades for even the finest of known private collections,” said John Mihovetz, Head of Morphy’s Automobilia & Petroliana division.
Rare, highly prized examples in unheard-of condition set to cross the auction block
A case in point is the outstanding double-sided Shell Motor Oil die-cut Motor Oil sign dated 1931. With strong crimson and orange coloration and only minor edge wear, the 23 by 23½-inch clamshell-shape sign is rated a solid 9.5 out of 10. Estimate: $3,500-$5,000
Hailing from Great Britain, a very rare double-sided die-cut porcelain sign for Morris Trucks is designed as a head-on view of a radiator emblazoned with the slogan “Buy British and be proud of it.” Displaying excellent color and gloss, it is one of the best examples of its type that Morphy’s team of experts has ever seen. Its sides are rated condition 8.9+ and 8.75+, respectively. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
Big, bold and all-American would be the way to describe one of the auction’s top highlights: a sensational Ford V8 porcelain dealership sign. It’s so large at 75½ inches by 40½ inches that it had to be designed as two parts that fit together perfectly and seamlessly – Henry Ford wouldn’t have had it any other way. The result is an iconic piece of advertising in beautiful 8.75+ condition, estimated at $15,000-$25,000.
Advertising signs featuring stylish ladies have always commanded a premium price, and there are two such signs worthy of special mention in the April 3 sale. The first is a highly sought-after Boyce Moto Meter Authorized Service Station tin flange sign (shown at top of page). It carries the image of a young woman in Art Deco attire, pointing gracefully at one of the company’s meters. With colorfully lithographed sides in condition 8.75+ and 8.5, respectively, it comes to auction with a $15,000-$25,000 estimate. The second, a double-sided die-cut tin flange sign, harkens to circa-1907 and bears the image of a well-dressed woman of the 20th century’s first decade. “Very few examples of this sign are known to exist,” said Mihovetz. “They hardly ever come up for sale.” Estimate: $15,000-$25,000
A fantastic collection of antique and vintage license plates takes collectors on a virtual motoring trip from coast to coast. Apportioned into 181 lots, the collection includes very early plates that are now as scarce as hen’s teeth.
For example, there’s a grouping of 40 Rhode Island passenger plates with the same three-digit number — 394 — starting with the first-issue 1904 production run and ending in 1966. Only two years are missing from the consecutive series: 1918 and 1946. The lot (six plates shown above) is estimated at $30,000-$40,000.
Another extreme rarity, a 1905 leather and aluminum Michigan license plate was in use before the state actually produced license plates. It was issued to the Packard Car Company and used from 1905 through June 1907. In 9.0 condition and the only known example of its type, it is expected to make $10,000-$15,000 at Morphy’s April 3 auction.
Petroliana collectors never tire of pretty Polly, the vibrantly hued parrot mascot for Polly Premium Motor Oil. Posed on her perch and boasting excellent color and gloss, she graces Morphy’s sale roster from the front of a coveted one-quart Polly can graded 8.9. It will take more than a cracker to take Polly home on auction day, as the can is estimated at $2,500-$4,500.
Morphy’s is well known in the collector community as the go-to source for rare gas pump globes. A fantastic array awaits bidders on auction day, including several that are especially rare, such as the 15-inch single-lens globe for the West Coast company Beacon Gasoline. Finished in bright primary colors with an appealing graphic of a beaming lighthouse, this extremely rare globe is expected to make $7,500-$15,000.
In all, there are 85 stunning gas globes from which to choose, each a work of art on glass. An excellent example of an etched one-piece Independent brand Royal Gasoline globe is graded 9.0 and estimated at $4,000-$6,000; while a perennial collector favorite, a 15-inch Jones Bros. Red Hat Gasoline & Air globe on its original metal body will cross the auction block with a $2,500-$4,500 estimate.
Now a quaint reminder of the early days of “filling stations,” an all-original Correct Measure 5-gallon visible gas pump has never been cleaned or opened. Remarkably, all of its mechanisms are in working order, and the cylinder is in nice condition with original Tydol coloration and a desirable patina that can only be achieved naturally over time. Its pre-sale estimate is $3,000-$5,000.
Morphy’s Wednesday, April 3 Automobilia & Petroliana Auction will start at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers. On April 2, the day prior to the auction, preview hours will be extended till 6 p.m. For additional information on any item in the sale, call 877-968-8880 or email email@example.com.