Ritchfield Aviation Gasoline lens brings $15,400 at Matthews Auctions A Richfield Aviation Gasoline 15-inch single lens in a high-profile metal globe body, just the fourth such lens known, sold for $15,400 at an auction held Nov. 26 by Matthews Auctions in Raymond, Ill.
News-Antique.com - Nov 29,2011 - (RAYMOND, Ill.) – A Richfield Aviation Gasoline 15-inch single lens in a high-profile metal globe body, just the fourth such lens known and rated 9 out of 10 for condition, sold for $15,400 at an auction held Nov. 26 by Matthews Auctions, LLC, based in Nokomis, Ill. The sale was held at the gallery of Gavin Pope Auction, with whom Matthews Auctions often partners.
The lens, boasting a crisp airplane logo, showed a little rust, but that didn’t deter bidders who recognized the piece’s rarity and collectability. “Anything related to aviation or marine is automatically hot, because there are far fewer airports and marinas than there are gas stations,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions. “Plus, that lens was so rare it was bound to do well.”
The auction featured nearly 500 lots of mostly petroliana, automobilia, country store and farm advertising. It would have had even more had a truck carrying 15 neon signs to the sale not broken down en route. “That probably represented $30,000-$40,000 in lost revenue,” Matthews said with a laugh, “but we’ll offer them in another auction and I’m sure they’ll do just fine.”
Mr. Matthews added that gas and oil collectibles “still reign supreme” at his sales, which typically feature petroliana and a smattering of other categories. “Aviation signs are hot right now, and aviation items in general are turning into a nice little hobby for a lot of people. One area that seems to be soft is soda collectibles, although we did sell a lighted Pepsi sign for $600.”
Just shy of 100 people attended the auction live, while another 250 registered to bid online, through Proxibid. Internet sales represented a 50 percent sell-through, while phone and absentee bidding combined for 5 percent of sales. But the phone bidders were aggressive. In fact, the Richfield Aviation lens came down to a test of wills between two determined phone bidders.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
The auction’s second top lot was a road sign, or historical marker (another rapidly rising star in the collecting world) for the Santa Fe Trail. The scarce, single-sided porcelain oval sign, measuring 16 inches by 24 inches and featuring a covered wagon scene for graphics, topped out at $3,520. It was rated 9.5 out of 10, in super condition, and was marked “Irving Shope 1948.”
Two other lots also topped the $2,000 mark. One was a Shell “Aviation Service” 5 inch by 16 inch porcelain pump plate sign, rated 8 due to a minor chip. It hammered for $2,530. The other was a Power-Lube Motor Oil “Smooth as the Tread of a Tiger” double-sided porcelain sign, measuring 20 inches by 30 inches, rated 8.5 on one side and 7.5 on the other. It hit $2,200.
A pair of Gulf Marine White “Special For Marine Use” 13.5-inch lenses on a glass globe body, with both lenses caulked in and rated 9, coasted to $1,980; a Shell double-sided porcelain clam-shaped