NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – A Goodrich Tires Mountie porcelain sign from the 1930s, a pair of circular Supertest Service Station double-sided porcelain hanging signs, and a 1930s Good Year Tires double-sided porcelain flange sign – all Canadian in origin – are just a few of the headliners in Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.’s online-only Petroliana & Advertising auction, featuring the Bill McNevan collection, slated for May 15 at 9 am Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
“Most collectors of petroliana will recognize the McNevan name,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “Bill’s collection ranges from scarce dealer signs to rare service station ephemera and tins. Collectors will agree that gas and oil related advertising has become increasingly difficult to find, particularly in the condition McNevan demanded. To step into Bill’s garage was to enter an automotive time warp. His trappings have attracted huge interest.”
McNevan’s outstanding collection includes investment-grade service station memorabilia from Supertest, Red Indian, British American, Imperial, Reliance, Texaco, Fina, Cities Service, and White Rose, among others. Automobilia will include signs from Ford, General Motors, Dominion Tires, Good Year, Goodrich, Hart Batteries, AC and Champion Spark Plugs, and more.
With a stout pre-sale estimate of $16,000-$20,000 (all prices quoted are in Canadian dollars), the Depression-era Goodrich Tires Mountie porcelain sign is the expected top lot of the auction. The 56 by 20in sign is arguably Canada’s most recognizable, iconic, and highly sought-after automotive advertising sign. It features a full-figure Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in uniform, shown in eight vibrant colors of porcelain, with only minor scattered porcelain loss.
The Supertest Service Station, which touted itself as “Canada’s All Canadian Company”, is represented by double-sided porcelain hanging signs, both having estimates of $6,000-$8,000. One, from the 1930s, is 48in in diameter and housed in its original frame. The other is from the 1940s and larger in size, at 60in in diameter, and is in its original aluminum frame as well. Both signs show minor loss and fade.
The Good Year Tires double-sided porcelain wall-mounting flange sign from the 1930s features Good Year’s so-called “tire around the world” graphic. The sign measures almost 28 by 20in and is expected to change hands for $6,000-$8,000. It exhibits the small flaws one might expect from a 90-year-old sign: minor patches of porcelain loss and a little oxidation.
In addition to petroliana, the auction also features automobilia, general advertising, and soda advertising. A Canadian Orange Crush steel and wood store soda cooler from the 1920s, featuring four embossed lithographed tin panels — two with chalkboards, — is expected to hit $4,000-$6,000, while a 1940s Gray Coach Lines double-sided porcelain sign ensemble, including a Tickets and Information banner with shield logo hung below with steel straps, should reach $2,000-$3,000.
Vintage gas pumps are a must-have man cave accessory. A Bennett 541 Supertest pump from the 1940s, professionally repainted to Supertest branding, carries an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. The 92in-tall steel gas pump features new decals, hose, and globe, and has the original ad glass and register dials.
A Canadian Red Indian single-sided porcelain service station sign from the 1940s, five feet in diameter and marked “The W. F. Vilas Co. Limited, Cowansville, P.Q.” on its lower edge, is expected to bring $4,000-$6,000. Also, a Canadian 1950s Regent two-sided porcelain service station sign, five feet in diameter, with five scattered small porcelain chips, should go for $2,500-$3,500.
A monumental and scarce Good Year Tires porcelain sign, made in the 1930s for the Canadian market, measuring 60 by 36in, and showing just a few minor blemishes, carries an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. Also, a 1930s porcelain Canadian Tire Products sign with the early “CTC” maple leaf logo, 24in in diameter, with light craze lines, should sell for $2,000-$3,000.
Two 1940s Canadian automotive dealer signs, one Ford and one GM, have identical estimates of $3,000-$4,000. The Ford double-sided smaltz painted Ford Genuine Parts sign is made from lithographed steel and features applied reflective sand script. It measures almost 21 by 27½ in. The General Motors Products two-sided porcelain dealer sign is displayed back-to-back in its original frame and is marked “Property of General Motors Products.” It’s 54 by 56 in.
Two AC Spark Plug store counter displays made for the American market in the 1920s, one for Ford and the other for Chevrolet, each has an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. Both have lithographed tin bodies and feature a rotating integral spark plug storage shelf, complete with plug fitting charts. The displays both measure 11 by 11½ in in diameter and show minor losses.
The current rate of exchange $1CA = US80 cents.
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