DENVER, Pa. – Sensational examples of antique advertising – from early enamel signs and gas pump globes to 19th-century soft drink rarities – are currently on view at Morphy Auctions’ Pennsylvania gallery. The colorful array of signage filling walls and showcases at the spacious venue offers visitors a preview of what’s coming in Morphy’s October Antique Advertising series featuring top-notch petroliana and the incomparable John and Charlotte Yarbrough Coca-Cola Collection. The Oct. 5-7 Automobilia & Petroliana sale offers 1,771 outstanding lots, while the October 17 Yarbrough Coca-Cola auction contains 465 prized lots from one of America’s most admired “soda pop” collections. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Automobilia & Petroliana – Oct. 5-7, 2019
As long as there is a fascination for motorcars, there will be collectors of automobilia and gas and oil-related advertising. Morphy’s is the ultimate pit stop for the finest, earliest examples from this genre.
On Day 1 of Morphy’s October 5-7 auction, the fun will begin with a great lineup of signs. An extremely rare version of a complete, 78-inch-wide Hudson Motor Cars tin and neon sign exhibits classic Art Deco styling and is estimated at $4,000-$8,000. A highly sought-after 1949 Oilzum Motor Oil tin sign in its original oil frame, is expected to fetch $3,500-$5,000; while a rare Red Indian Motor Oils porcelain sign with the image of a Native-American Indian chief carries a pre-sale estimate of $3,000-$5,000. A 60- by 36-inch porcelain sign that could attract surprising crossover interest from space toy collectors advertises an “Authorized Service Depot” for Robot Aligning and Axle Straightening, with a double-sided depiction of a robot at work. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000.
Worthy of special mention, a 60-inch-tall painted cast-iron figural eagle stands atop a world globe and advertises a dealership for Case Eagle Tractors. In excellent condition, it should easily fly to a winning bid of $8,000-$12,000. Another eye-catching lot is a 15-inch single-lens gas-pump globe for Tidewater Oil Service Tiwoser High Test Gasoline. One of the most eye-catching of all gas globes, it depicts a galleon at sea with a brilliant orange rising sun and sea birds in the background. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.
A knockout lineup awaits collectors on Day 2, as well. An exceptional 1954 Marathon Gasoline die-cut porcelain sign with a classical image of a marathon runner is graded 9.0 and 8.9+ on each of its pictorial sides, making it an example that would be “very hard to improve upon,” said Morphy Auctions owner Dan Morphy. Estimate: $12,000-$18,000. A promising contender for top-lot status, a fantastic 66- by 36-inch Bengal Gasoline “Pep Power” porcelain sign (shown top of page) is dominated by the image of a fierce, open-jawed tiger. Deemed one of the rarest of all signs in the gas and oil hobby, it is “by far the finest example of its type ever to be offered in a public sale,” Morphy said. Estimate: $20,000-$40,000.
The Bengal Gasoline tiger also makes an appearance in the dazzling selection of 94 gas pump globes entered in auction’s second session. The big cat reappears leaping across the front of a 15-inch single-lens globe advertising Bengal “Green Gasoline.” Atop its original metal body, the condition-9.0 globe is cataloged with a $12,000-$18,000 estimate.
Other highlights include: a very rare Beacon Gasoline (West Coast) 15-inch single-lens globe, $8,000-$12,000, a rare and complete 15-inch Independent Gasoline globe depicting The Spirit of ’76, $8,000-$12,000; and many other collector favorites including Musgo, Husky Gasoline, Mohawk Gasoline, and Kanotex Aviation Gasoline.
The highest-estimated lot on Day 2 is an outstanding Roman-column gasoline pump from Wayne, with an illuminating glass cylinder. The handsome yellow and blue pump was restored at Richfield Gasoline Livery and is estimated at $25,000-$35,000.
Bidders will have their third and final opportunity to acquire top-tier petroliana on October 7, with an offering that includes two coveted gas globes: a one-piece baked globe for Sinclair Aircraft Gasoline (9.0 and 8.75+ condition), $10,000-$15,000; and a complete 13.5in Marathon ‘Red Indian’ Gasoline milk glass globe, $6,000-$10,000.
The John and Charlotte Yarbrough Coca-Cola & Soda Pop Collection – Oct. 17, 2019
The October 17 single-consignor sale of the John and Charlotte Yarbrough collection shines a spotlight on 30 years of scholarship and thoughtful acquisition of premier Coca-Cola and other antique soda-related artifacts. “John and Charlotte started their collection in 1988 in Memphis, at the legendary ‘Pop’ Poppenheimer Coca-Cola auction,” said Dan Morphy. “From then on, their focus was always on rarity and condition. Morphy’s is honored to present the very best of their collection in a fully curated one-day sale.”
A vast array of signs and posters reflects the Coca-Cola’s long and successful timeline dating back to its origins in the last quarter of the 19th century. The images most often seen in the Yarbrough collection are those of lovely young women, from bathing beauties to elegant society ladies. One of the finest inclusions is a horizontal poster depicting a young woman under moonlight. One of fewer than five known to exist, the poster is in NM-NM+ condition and is expected to make $6,000-$12,000.
Model Hilda Clark was a favorite subject in early Coca-Cola advertising and was usually shown in an elegant gown, daintily holding a glass of Coca-Cola. Items in the Yarbrough collection that feature Clark include two calendars from the turn of the 20th century. The first of the two has a complete calendar pad that begins in September 1900. Colorful and in NM condition, it is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.
The second example displays an original March 1903 page, also featuring Hilda Clark in a fancy gown. In NM condition, its estimate is $5,000-$10,000.
Coca-Cola Chewing Gum items are extremely rare and highly sought after. One of the top-estimated lots of the sale is a 1903-1905 advertisement featuring a baby holding a small sign that says, “Coca-Cola Chewing Gum – The Gum That’s Pure.” Formerly in the longtime collection of Coca-Cola plant owner, the NM ad, measuring 15 by 7 inches (framed) has a $15,000-$30,000 estimate. A circa-1903 Coca-Cola Chewing Gum bookmark, NM+ condition should finish in the $3,000-$6,000 range.
There are 16 pocket mirrors in the sale, dating as early as 1905. Eleven carry ads for Coca-Cola. A very scarce 1922 oval Coca-Cola bathing beauty pocket mirror in NM condition is one of the best of all known examples. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
Morphy’s Oct. 5-7, 2019 Petroliana Auction and Oct. 17 auction of the Yarbrough Coca-Cola Collection will start at 9 a.m. Eastern Time each day. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. Questions: call 877-968-8880, email firstname.lastname@example.org.