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McColl-Frontenac ‘Red Indian’ Logo Porcelain Sign Paces ‘Check The Oil’ Sale

by Special to WorthPoint (07/01/13).

The top lot of the auction was this McColl-Frontenac Products sign with “Red Indian” logo sold for $11,550 at a “Check the Oil” auction held June 22 by Matthews Auctions. The auction was conducted on the second day of the Check the Oil Gas & Oil Show, held annually in Dublin.

DUBLIN, Ohio – A round McColl-Frontenac Products double-sided porcelain petroliana sign with “Red Indian” logo, rated near mint at 9.5 out of 10 for condition, sold for $11,550 at a “Check the Oil” auction held June 22 by Matthews Auctions. The auction was conducted on the second day of the Check the Oil Gas & Oil Show, held annually in Dublin.

The sign—36 inches in diameter and having great gloss and color, with a clean field—was marked Vilas Enamel Products. It was the top achiever of the nearly 500 lots of petroliana (gas station collectibles) and automobilia (car memorabilia) that came up for bid. Headlining the sale was half of an outstanding Mobil collection. Matthews will sell the other half later this year.

“This was a good, strong auction that didn’t see any superstar items soar into the tens of thousands of dollars,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, “but many lots—in particular signs and oil cans—sold in the $2,000 to $5,000 range, and that’s very encouraging. The state of the petroliana and automobilia market is very healthy. And we see more and more new collectors.”

Internet bidding was facilitated by Proxibid, with over 250 registered online bidders. About 15 to 20 bidders participated by phone, while an equal number of absentee bids were fielded. The auction was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Dublin (as was the Check the Oil Gas & Oil Show), just outside Columbus. Matthews Auctions has held an auction at the show for years.

This Harbor Petroleum Products double-sided porcelain die-cut sign with sea plane graphics, rated 7 and 6.5, gaveled for $8,250.

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

• The runner-up top lot was a Harbor Petroleum Products double-sided porcelain die-cut sign with sea plane graphics, 39 inches by 35 inches. Rated a modest 7 on one side and 6.5 on the other, the sign fetched $8,250. “Condition is everything,” Matthews said. “Regulars to my auctions will remember the same sign, only rated 8.9 and 8.75, sold for $40,000 awhile back.”

• Two lots realized identical prices of $7,700. One was a Sinclair Aircraft double-sided porcelain sign with single-engine airplane graphics, rated 8, 48 inches in diameter, in fine shape except for a hole drilled into the sign’s center. The other was a pair of Reliable Premium Regular 13 ½-inch lenses set in the original Capco globe body, rated 9.5, with both lenses in great shape. 

This Reliable Premium Regular 13 ½-inch lenses in the original Capco globe body, rated 9.5 and delivered $7,700.

• The list of Mobil lots was long and impressive. The star of the group was an original Mobiloil “D” single-sided porcelain sign (“Recommended For All Motor Cycle Engines”), rated well at 9, with Gargoyle logo. It hammered for $4,125. “There are a lot of fakes of this sign, but they’re square and that’s how you can tell,” Matthews said. “This sign was real and rectangular.”

• An extremely rare Mobiloil single-sided porcelain shield-shaped sign—scarce because it featured both the Pegasus and Gargoyle logos—went to a determined bidder for $3,850. The sign was rated a near-mint 9.75 and was in super condition. Also, a Mobilheat (“Correct Fuel Oil For Home Heating”) double-sided porcelain shield-shaped sign with Pegasus logo garnered $3,575. 

This original Mobiloil “D” single-sided rectangular porcelain sign, with Gargoyle logo, rated 9, found a new home for $4,125.

• A Mobilgas Diesel single-sided porcelain shield-shaped sign, 12 inches by 12 inches, dated 1956 and marked “Made in the USA,” rated 9 and in very condition, found a new owner for $3,300; and a Mobil Aircraft single-sided shield-shaped sign with Pegasus graphic, also 12 inches by 12 inches, dated 1947 and in great overall condition, graded 9.5, breezed to $2,475.

• A hard to find Standard Oil of Indiana “Clean Rest Room Award” double-sided porcelain die-cut sign, large at 51 inches by 15 inches and with great gloss and color, rated 9 with just some small chips around the perimeter, knocked down at $3,850; and a Shell Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign in a strap base, 24 inches by 24 inches, rated 9 on both sides, rose to $4,400.

This rare Mobiloil single-sided porcelain shield-shaped sign with both Gargoyle and Pegasus logos went to a determined bidder for $3,850.

• A rarely seen Standard Oil of Indiana double-sided porcelain sign with flame logo, 35 inches by 37 inches, with the flame attachment at the top and in the original display bracket, rated a superlative 9+, commanded $3,850; and the same was realized for a Porsche Stuttgart single-sided porcelain die-cut sign with great color and gloss, 18 inches by 13 inches, rated 8.75.

• A Gilmore Lion Head Motor Oil (“Look – The Most Highly Filtered Motor Oil in America”) single-sided tin sign, rated 7 with some fading and rust spots but a rare piece to find in any condition, hit $3,575; and a pair of Staroline & White Star Ethyl 15-inch lenses with logo in a metal globe body, rated 9.5 and 8.5, with the display side in great condition, rose to $2,750. 

This hard-to-find Standard Oil of Indiana “Clean Rest Room Award,” large at 51 inches by 15 inches and rated 9 brought $3,850.

• A Valvoline Pennsylvania Motor Oil double-sided tin sign with logo, rated 9.75, 30 inches in diameter, hit $3,300; a Sphinx Benzin Vacuum Oil Company porcelain flange sign with curb gas pump and globe graphics, rated 9 and 8.9, 16 inches by 30 inches, made $2,750; and a Pan-Am Motor Oils single-sided porcelain sign, 15 inches in diameter, rated 9+, realized $1,760.

Matthews Auctions has two big events planned. The first is the Petroliana & Automobilia Auction of Encore Classic, on Saturday, July 27, in Wichita, Kan., at 10 a.m. The second is an auction timed to coincide with the 2013 Iowa Gas Show in Des Moines, Iowa (Aug. 1-2). Featured will be petroliana (to include the second half of the big Mobil collection), automobilia and more.

Matthews has written a book about petroliana, titled “The Fine Art of Collecting and Displaying Petroliana.” For more information on how to order a copy, or for more information about this or upcoming auctions, call 877.968.8880, e-mail to danm@matthewsauctions.com or visit the Matthews Auctions website.


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