Collectors may need a roadmap to navigate this sale’s extensive selection of breathtaking and highly desirable antique signs. Several special single sided porcelain examples merit a double-take. Lot #311, a red, white, and blue Wyeth sign featuring a boy sitting in a pile of tires is estimated at $15,000-30,000. This rarity, with great wheel-appeal, has excellent color and gloss and is marked “Burdick.” Lot #84, a diecut Good Luck Service sign with a horseshoe logo gets the green light for its $5,000-7,500 estimate. This auspicious example is marked “Texlite Dallas” and has an excellent overall presentation. Another strong representative in this group is lot #65, a Havoline “Drain and Refill with the Power Oil” sign, estimated at $2,000-4,000. It is marked “Property of Indian Refining Company, #4-1-2F” and has excellent gloss and color. And two examples from Mobile should get collectors’ engines revving. The first, lot #53, is a 1961 right facing Pegasus cookie cutter sign which takes flight at $4,000-7,000. The second, lot #58, is a Mobiloil sign featuring the company’s early 20th century gargoyle logo. This mythical masterpiece is marked “G.C. Advert St. Louis” and is estimated at $4,000-6,000.
Things are twice as nice with this auction’s array of double sided porcelain signs. Two selections featuring American Indian themes are headliners. Lot #51, a Musgo Gasoline Michigan’s Mile Maker sign illustrated with the company’s Chief logo, is estimated at $100,000-150,000. It has a fascinating backstory. According to Dan Matthews, Morphy’s expert and author of The Fine Art of Collecting and Displaying Petroliana, “…when Musgo went out of business, a plumber purchased the warehouse and used most of the Musgo signs for septic tank lids. Septic tank fumes are one of few things that eat porcelain off metal. As such, Musgo signs in excellent condition are extremely rare; the side facing the tank usually has the enamel completely worn off and the other side is usually between a 6 to 8 in condition. Around 1980, collectors started to research the location where the plumber had put in septic tanks and dug up several of the signs. This is one of those signs; we know of five to seven good Musgo signs and about the same number of dug up ones. This sign has one of the best sides of any of those that we have seen.” And it’s a profile in courage with lot #1, a rare Idaho Chief Gasoline sign featuring a red, blue, white, and white Indian in full headdress. This handsome example, with six bullet hits, has excellent gloss and color and is estimated at $10,000-20,000.
Other double sided porcelain sign highlights include a spectrum of themes and imagery. Two bold navy and white examples might be first place contenders in this outstanding grouping. These blue-ribbon selections include lot #71, a Hudson Essex “Super Six” sign, estimated at $2,000-4,000, and lot #81, a Packard Service radiator shaped sign, estimated at $6,000-9,000. Both have excellent gloss and color. This sale offers a nod to the Quaker State with lot #201, a fantastic and early orange, black, and white Penn Drake Motor Oil curb sign, estimated at $8,000-12,000, and lot #321, a marked green, black, and white Pennsylvania Vacuum Cup “6000 Mile Tires” sign, which hits the road at $3,000-5,000. Lot #312, a stunning diecut Greyhound Pacific Lines Depot sign featuring a sleek racing dog and an old fashioned looking bus, is estimated at $15,000-25,000. And it is nothing but smooth sailing with lot #345, a red, green, and black Texaco Marine Motor oil sign decorated with sailing vessels and seagulls. This highlight, estimated at $10,000-20,000, is ink stamped “1953” at the center of the left-hand edge, and is, according to our expert catalogers, “one of the best examples that we have sold.”
Now let’s focus on this auction’s remarkable selections of museum quality globes and lenses. Lot #52, a hand-painted Musgo OPB milk glass globe decorated with the company’s American Indian profile logo, is a real head turner. It is in excellent condition – with fantastic coloring and an amazing presentation – and is estimated at $15,000-30,000. Lot #124, a Mobiloil Gargoyle OPC oil cabinet globe, has a great weathered look to it and features a copper collar. It is estimated at $2,500-3,500. Lot #193, an unusual and eye-catching Texaco logo stained glass globe is another star in this category and is estimated at $4,000-6,000. Enthusiasts are certain to go wild over lot #27, an extremely rare green and red Buffalo Gasoline single globe lens, estimated at $2,000-4,000. And it’s all hands on deck with lot #37, a Tiwoser High Test Gasoline single globe lens decorated with an impressive schooner ship at sunset. This beautiful and hard to find globe lens is in excellent condition and comes in a new HP metal globe body.
This sale crosses the finish line with full throttle selections of other transportation related collectibles, including posters and prints, calendars, thermometers, oil cans, clocks, displays, and other rare signage – including lot #85, a late 1920’s Francisco Auto Heater tin sign. This attractive piece, promising “Summer Here all the Year,” features a cut-away view of a period car and its passengers in the snow. It will certainly be warmly received with its $1,500-3,000 estimate.
According to Dan Morphy, President of Morphy Auctions, “We are delighted to again offer our worldwide base of collectors a most impressive selection of rare and highly desirable signs, globes, and other transportation related collectibles. This one-day sale offers something for everyone at a full spectrum of price points. I am particularly intrigued with the Musgo Gasoline Michigan’s Mile Maker double sided porcelain sign and its amazing history. Given its backstory, it truly is “found” buried treasure! We welcome you to visit our gallery in Denver, PA to view these outstanding items firsthand, or of course check them out online anytime at www.morphyauctions.com.”
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