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Auction Report: AC Spark Plugs Tin Die-Cut Sign Sparks Automobilia Sale

by WorthPoint Staff (10/12/11).

This AC Spark Plugs tin die-cut flange sign with iconic “Sparky” logo, rated 9+, helped “spark” biding at an estate sale held Sept. 24 by Matthews Auctions. The sign garnered $2,310.

JAFFREY, N.H. – An AC Spark Plugs tin die-cut flange sign, dated 1936 and featuring the iconic “Sparky” logo, sold for $2,310 at an on-site estate sale held Sept. 24 by Matthews Auctions. The sale was conducted at the former home of the late Bradley Jackson of Jaffrey, who collected items in many categories prior to his untimely death.

It was a new record auction price for the AC Spark Plugs sign, which measured 15 by 11 inches and featured the words “Cleaning Station Blue Top Dealer” on one side. Both sides were rated 9+ out of 10 for condition, which added to its desirability to collectors. In all, nearly 600 lots crossed the block in a sale that attracted around 350 people.

“Bradley Jackson was a dedicated collector of petroliana, automobilia, snowmobile collectibles, vintage Volkswagen Beetles and other vehicles and trailers,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions. “It doesn’t surprise me we had a strong crowd, and those folks came to spend money. Online bidding, through Proxibid, only accounted for 15 percent of the gross.”

Matthews said air meters, especially, were hugely popular with bidders and some fetched “almost ridiculous money.” One that hadn’t even been cataloged (it was found in the attic of the home right before auction day) brought $1,000. “That’s what’s so great about a discovery auction like this,” he said. “Great items like that turn up literally right before the sale.”

Matthews added, however, that crawlers and tractors sold for substantially less than what he had expected. “Some folks walked away with some tremendous bargains,” he remarked, adding, “overall, it was just a great sale. And thank goodness I had the help of Ron Pelletier of Brookline Auction (in Brookline, N.H.). Thanks to Ron, things went smoothly from start to end.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction (all prices quoted include a 10-percent buyer’s premium):

This Gilbarco model #914 double-computing gas pump with sight glass, restored, was the day’s top-lot, selling for $5,225.

• The top lot of the sale was a Gilbarco model #914 double-computing gas pump, with sight glass. It soared to $5,225. The pump was professionally restored in Sunoco colors, with decals and Blue Sunoco globe, a new hose and the original aluminum handle. Also, a Wayne model #60 computing gas pump with two Atlantic pump plates, in good condition, hit $1,595.

• Four Eco air meters did extremely well. They were an unknown model number in primer, with hose reel base, in very good condition ($1,650); a model #93 with large hose reel base, with rust to the sheet metal head ($1,430); a model #37, head only, with heavy old paint ($1,221); and a Tireflator (unknown model) on a stand with light tower with cover, restored ($2,200). Also, a nicely restored Erie air meter with wall mount bracket went to a determined bidder for $1,760.

• A Polaris Sno-Traveler single-sided tin “Authorized Sales” snowmobile sign with great snowmobile graphics, self-framed, 57 inches by 45 inches, rated 7, went for $1,320; a Sno-Sport by Rupp “See How Much Better a Snowmobile Can Be” plastic lighted sign with sled graphic, rated 9, rose to $770; and a Moto-Ski “Proven Best By Test” plastic panel insert, with great snowmobile graphics, rated 9, commanded $660, a remarkably high price for a plastic insert.

• A 1974 Airstream travel trailer in need of a good cleaning and in fair to good condition rolled off for $3,850; a Massy Harris pony tractor that had been professionally restored, with head lamps, belt pulley, rear wheel weights and average tires coasted to $1,650; and a Cletrac model R tractor, made by the Cleveland Tractor Company, with an electric starter, made $3,025.

• A Sinclair Gasoline double-sided porcelain sign, 48 inches in diameter, rated 9+ with great gloss and color, finished at $1,870; an International Motor Trucks “Sales and Service” double-sided porcelain sign with triple diamond logo, rated 8, with great gloss and color and a clean field, knocked down at $1,320; and an “Ask Here for Gargoyle Mobiloil Authorized Service” single-sided porcelain sign, 24 inches by 20 inches, rated 9.75, finished at $715.

• Rounding out the day’s top lots, a Cities Service “Service Provided Products” round thermometer, 12 inches in diameter and rated 9, was a bargain buy at $248.

For more information about this auction, call 877.968.8880, e-mail danm@matthewsauctions.com or visit the Matthews Auctions website.

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