Featured: Super-rare Harbor Petroleum and Rebel Oil signs; very first (1906) Virginia license plate #1, visible gas pumps, Pacific Bait & Tackle neon ‘leaping fish’ sign
DENVER, Penn. — For well over a century, the partnership of commercial art and groundbreaking technology has propelled American companies to global prominence by means of advertising signs. Whether depicting popular mascots like Mobil’s Pegasus and Sinclair’s Dino, or the neon-illuminated likenesses of automobiles and gasoline logos, signage is a classic form of Americana that shows off the best of our nation’s ingenuity.
Advertising collectors from coast to coast, and beyond, revel in the opportunity to bid in Morphy Auctions’ exciting Automobilia & Petroliana sales, the next of which is scheduled for May 13-14. While Morphy’s continues to comply fully with state and federal guidelines for businesses during the pandemic, the auction is primed and ready to run with the precision of a finely tuned Ferrari. A beautiful, fully illustrated catalog appears on Morphy’s website, and all forms of remote bidding are offered, including absentee, phone, and live online through Morphy Live. Private gallery previews are available by appointment only.
More than 800 premium-quality examples of gas, oil and automobile-related collectibles are lined up and waiting to step into the spotlight on auction day. The breakdown includes 530 signs, 35 gas pumps, 46 gas pump globes, 51 cans, 30 license plates, and dozens of additional items.
Among the top signs in the sale is an elusive circa-1940s porcelain sign that advertises Harbor Petroleum Products, of Long Beach, California. Boasting 8.9+ condition, the eye-catching sign exhibits outstanding color and high gloss with an image of a Boeing 314 Clipper airplane coasting over water. Estimate: $40,000-$60,000
Another acknowledged rarity is 72-inch (dia.) double-sided round porcelain service station sign issued by Rebel Gasoline & Motor Oil. In 8.75+ condition, it bears the image of a Confederate Flag with the brand name “REBEL OIL” emblazoned on both sides. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000
The neon section is led by two outstanding signs, including one that promotes Pacific Bait & Tackle. With Art Deco styling and letters that illuminate in four colors on each side, the focal point is a painted, neon-outlined fish leaping from a neon-detailed body of water. This visually appealing West Coast sign is expected to reach $15,000-$25,000 at auction. The second neon highlight is a Shell Gasoline porcelain sign that Morphy Auctions’ founder and president Dan Morphy describes as “one of the best examples of its type that we’ve ever offered.” Estimate: $9,000-$13,000
Displaying perfection from every angle, a restored 1930s Satam twin 2.5-gallon cylinder Mo4 visible gas pump is hand-painted in Texaco livery and stands 108 inches high. It is complete with its original handle, two original cylinders, and very nice original brass tags. “There are no apologies needed for the condition of this pump. The restoration work was completed to an extremely high standard,” said Dan Morphy. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000. Additionally, a finely restored Wayne 50 illuminating showcase gas pump has a Super Shell one-piece cast globe, Shell side decals, and central glass shelving. Estimate: $12,000-$20,000
Of the 30 license plates in the sale, the most valuable is a 1906 porcelain plate #1, the very first one issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Absolutely unique and authentic, it is one of only a few true #1 license plates in existence from any of the United States. Estimate: $20,000-$40,000
Morphy’s Wednesday/Thursday, May 13-14, 2020 Automobilia & Petroliana Auction will start at 10 a.m. ET. For additional information, call 877-968-8880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. View the catalog online at www.morphyauctions.com.
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