United Motors Service neon sign hits $6,325 at Matthews Auctions, LLC A large, rare United Motors Service oval neon sign, only rated 7.9 out of 10 for condition but still coveted by collectors, sold for $6,325 at an auction held Oct. 14 by Matthews Auctions, LLC,
News-Antique.com - Oct 21,2011 - (PEOTONE, Ill.) – A large and hard to find United Motors Service oval neon sign, only rated 7.9 out of 10 for condition but still coveted by collectors for its rarity, sold for $6,325 at a Fall Petroliana & Advertising Auction held Oct. 14 by Matthews Auctions, LLC. The sale was held the day before the semiannual Chicagoland Petroliana & Advertising Show in Peotone, Ill.
The single-sided porcelain sign, measuring 42 inches by 72 inches, had its share of flaws. The blue was milky and it had chips around the mount holes and holes in the neon. But its scarcity, combined with the fact that the neon made it look like the wheels were spinning, was just too much for the bidders who competed for it. The sign was the top lot of the 475 items sold.
Around 150 people attended the auction in person, while another 250 bidders registered online through Proxibid.com (accounting for a 34 percent sell-through). Phone and absentee bids were also accepted. Matthews Auctions, LLC has been staging auctions prior to the spring and fall Peotone shows for years, and they have consistently been well-attended and spirited events.
“We had a good bidding crowd, and better merchandise was fetching 5 percent more than I was expecting,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC. “What made this auction such a success was the fact that we had an interesting mix of items. Usually we feature 85 percent gas station collectibles, but this sale had country store collectibles and other unique and rare items.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
A USL Batteries single-sided porcelain self-framed sign (“Economical, Dependable”), 17 inches by 60 inches, rated 9 and with excellent color and gloss but with some bubbles in the paint, brought $3,850; and a rare Marathon Gas single-sided porcelain die-cut embossed neon sign (“Best in the Long Run”), with the running man logo, went for a surprisingly low $3,740.
Two lots sold for identical prices of $3,025 each. The first was a Case Quality Machine single-sided tin reflective painted sign (“For Profitable Farming”), with Old Abe logo and rated 8.5 for condition. The other was a Favorite Stoves and Ranges double-sided porcelain sign (“Best in the World”), both sides rated 9.5, in excellent condition and with great gloss and color.
An original and fragile Lucky Strike Cigarettes wood and cardboard counter-top display with four old-style packs and six new-style green packs, rated 9, with minor wear around the edges, coasted to $2,860; and a Mobiloil Socony double-sided porcelain five-point shield, with the iconic Mobil Pegasus graphic and measuring 32 inches by 32 inches, rated 9, rose to $2,750.
An Atlantic Gasoline double-sided porcelain curb sign with Ethyl logo, in a stand and strap base, 30 inches in diameter and both sides rated 9 out of 10 for condition, changed hands for $2,200; and an AC Spark Plugs Cleaning Station tin flange sign with the familiar Sparky logo, 15 inches